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Grilled turkey on a platter.

Grilled Turkey

  • Author: Erin Jensen
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12-15 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American


Grilled Turkey – a simple, step-by-step tutorial that will guide you through the process of cooking a (delicious) Grilled Turkey.


  • 1 turkey (we used a 15 pound turkey)
  • 1/2 cup butter or ghee, softened
  • salt and pepper
  • stuffing (optional): 1 small orange (quartered), 1 small onion (quartered), 1-2 heads of garlic (cut off top)


  1. Preheat Grill: Preheat your grill to 450 degrees F.
  2. Thaw: Ensure turkey is completely thawed and at room temperature.
  3. Aluminum Tray: Place turkey in a large aluminum tray (I actually used two for extra support).
  4. Dry: Pat down with a clean paper towel and get the turkey as dry as possible.
  5. Butter: Take butter and rub all over, getting into every nook and cranny.
  6. Season: Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.
  7. Stuff: Stuff with whatever you desire, here we used onion, oranges and garlic.
  8. Grill: Place on top of grill grates, centered as much as possible.
  9. Close Grill: Close grill and let cook for a total of 11-13 minutes per pound or until the turkey reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees F. at the thickest part of the bird and juices run clear.
  10. Temp: Drop grill temp to 325 degree F. Grill temp will drop substantially after opening the grill to put the bird inside.
  11. Basting: Only openly grill once or twice to baste during cooking time. You can baste using additional melted butter or by taking the juices that have gathered in the bottom of your pan.
  12. Final Temp + Rest: Use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature.  Once turkey reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees F. at the thickest part of the thigh and juices run clear, remove from grill.  Baste first with the juices in the bottom of the pan and then let rest 30 minutes while covered with foil.
  13. Carve: Carve and serve immediately.


  • Size of Turkey: Wondering how big of a turkey to cook? Just remember that you should budget for approximately 1.25 lbs per person
  • Thawing a Turkey: Questions on thawing – here is a great post answering all your thawing questions!
  • Brining: You can definitely brine your turkey beforehand! Here is a great Brining Turkey 101 post and here is a Citrus Turkey Brine recipe!
  • Preheating Grill: We are preheating the grill extra high (higher than we are grilling it at) to account for the fact that there will be a significant drop in temp as a result of opening the grill to put the turkey inside. Once the turkey is inside the temp needs to be at 325 – it should be close to that temp anyway after opening the grill.
  • Aluminum Tray: We used two heavy duty aluminum trays to hold the turkey in for grilling – highly recommend doubling for support! This will also catch your drippings so you can make gravy!
  • Dry: Make sure you turkey is as dry as possible before the butter.  This helps it brown up nicely on the grill!
  • Butter: You can use butter or ghee (softened) – apply generously as this will help brown the turkey and also add the the juices that will gather in the bottom of the pan, which can then be used to make gravy later!
  • Seasoning: Use as much salt and pepper as necessary to lightly coat the turkey -the amount will depend on how big your bird is, but don’t be afraid to apply liberally.
  • Stuffing: We stuffed the bird with with orange, onion and garlic, but feel free to use whatever you wish! If you stuff with actual stuffing, you will want to increase the cook time appropriately.
  • Opening Grill/Basting: Treat the grill like an oven – don’t open often or your temp will drop and it will effect the cooking time. I would recommend opening it only 1-2 times to baste, especially towards the end to of the cooking time (you will need to check internal temp towards the end anyway). Baste with additional melted butter or just with the juices in the bottom of the pan.
  • Internal Meat Thermometer: Make sure you have a reliable internal meat thermometer to check the internal temp – I like this one.  Your turkey should reach 165 degrees at the thickest part of the bird and the juices should run clear.
  • Carving: Here is a great video on how to carve a turkey!
  • Gravy: don’t forget to use the drippings to make some delicious Turkey Gravy!

Keywords: grilled turkey, how to grill a turkey