Grilled Salt-and-Pepper Turkey with Giblet Gravy

Photo: Anna Williams
Prep Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 30 mins

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  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 whole turkey (16 to 18 pounds), room temperature, patted dry, giblets and neck reserved for gravy

  • 2 lemons, halved

  • 3 oranges, halved

  • 1 bunch thyme

  • 2 heads garlic, halved crosswise

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

  • Small citruses, pecans, and lemon or bay leaves, for serving


  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 2-inch piece

  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Turkey:

    Stir together 1/4 cup salt and 2 teaspoons pepper. Season inside turkey cavities with half of mixture, then stuff with lemons, 2 1/2 oranges, all but 6 thyme sprigs, and 1 1/2 heads garlic. Tie legs with twine. Rub butter evenly over skin of turkey, then season with remaining half of salt mixture. Let stand at room temperature while preparing grill.

  2. Open grill vents. Place a chimney starter on small lower grill grate, fill starter with char- coal (75 to 80 pieces), and ignite; let burn until ash gray. Pour charcoal evenly around perimeter of lower grate. Place a 9-by-13-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan on center of grate inside charcoal. Place remaining orange half, 6 thyme sprigs, garlic half, and wine in pan. Place upper grate in grill. Cover grill with vents partially open and preheat to 350 degrees, about 10 minutes.

  3. Place turkey on center of grate, directly over pan. Cover and cook, adding 16 to 20 pieces of charcoal around pan every 45 minutes to maintain temperature, until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh (not touching bone) registers 165 degrees, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours, depending on size of bird.

  4. Gravy:

    Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine turkey giblets and neck, carrot, celery, onion, broth, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 30 minutes. Strain, reserving giblets and neck. (You should have 3 cups turkey stock; if not, add more chicken broth.) When cool enough to handle, shred meat from neck and coarsely chop giblets; reserve, discarding bones.

  5. Transfer grilled turkey to a platter; let stand at least 20 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, carefully lift disposable pan from grill. Strain drippings through a sieve into a fat separator or measuring cup; let stand until fat rises to surface. Discard fat.

  6. Combine pan drippings and 2 1/2 cups turkey stock in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high. Whisk together remaining 1/2 cup turkey stock and flour in a small bowl. Slowly whisk flour mixture into saucepan. Simmer, whisking frequently, until gravy has reduced and thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in reserved neck meat and giblets; simmer 1 minute more. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

  7. Serve turkey, garnished with citruses, pecans, and lemon leaves, and with gravy alongside.

Cook's Notes

For the best flavor when grilling, buy natural hardwood lump charcoal, which is made directly from hickory, mesquite, and oak and produces less ash than other types. Common square briquettes are compressed blocks made from sawdust and other wood by-productsalong with binders, accelerants, and artificial additives.

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