Free up oven space for sides by roasting your turkey over charcoal at Thanksgiving. Never again will you put the grill away after Labor Day!
Using the grill frees up room in the oven, and there is possibly no more valuable real estate in your house come Thanksgiving Day. When you roast the bird in a charcoal-fired kettle grill, you no longer have to play that precarious game of casserole-dish Tetris, trying to cram in various side dishes around, above, and below the big roasting pan. Besides, it’s a relief to step from a hot people-packed kitchen into the cool, quiet outdoors. Grilling the turkey isn't a gamble -- this tried-and-true recipe turns out the juiciest, tastiest bird you’ll ever cook.
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What You'll Need
- 1 turkey (12 to 15 pounds), patted dry
- Mixture of aromatics, such as sage sprigs, onion wedges, and halved garlic heads, for filling the cavity
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Kettle grill with a lid that’s at least 22 inches in diameter
- Chimney starter
- Trussing supplies
- Bag of best-quality charcoal briquettes
- Disposable heatproof aluminum roasting pan
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Start the Fire
Put 50 briquettes in a chimney starter on the small lower grill grate. Light, and let burn until they are ash gray. Make sure the grill vents are open.
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Make the Seasoning
Stir together the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
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Apply the Seasoning
Brush or rub the mixture all over the turkey.
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Position the Pan; Pour the Hot Coals
Remove the chimney starter, center an aluminum roasting pan on the bottom grate, and evenly pour the hot coals on both long sides of the pan. (Be careful not to get ashes in pan.)
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Place the Turkey on the Top Grill Grate
Place the turkey on the grill directly over the pan. Cover the grill, leaving the lid vents open.
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Maintain the Temperature
Every 45 minutes, add eight unlit briquettes to each long side of the pan. Some grill grates have space that allows for this, above; if yours doesn't, have a helper lift the grate with the turkey on it.
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The total cooking time depends on the size of the turkey, but it's generally two to three hours for a 12- to 15-pound bird. When a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees, remove the turkey from the grill. (Use pan drippings for gravy.)