Meat Master Bruce Aidells shows us his fool-proof technique for grilling a Thanksgiving turkey on a gas grill
So, you want to grill the turkey this year? Well, we've read your horror stories: incinerated birds! Half-raw turkeys! House fires! Relax. We're going to show you how to grill an awe-inspiring turkey without harming people or objects in the process.
Buy a 12-to-16-pound bird and start thawing it in the fridge 4 days ahead. On grilling day, about 4 hours before dinner, get
your turkey out and let it sit an hour.
If you want smoky flavor, use wood chunks or chips. My favorites for turkey are fruit woods like apple, cherry, or peach. Soak about 12 chunks in water for at least an hour, or 2 cups of chips for 20 minutes.
Now mash up your herb butter. This is going to give a lot of flavor to the turkey and also get the skin really crisp and brown.
Herb Mustard Butter
Set an aluminum drip pan at least as big as your turkey on one of the burners UNDER the cooking grate to catch drips before they cause an inferno! Turn all burners to high, close the lid, and heat to 300° to 325º. Now turn off the burner under the pan. Maintain the heat from here by adjusting the other burner(s).
Put half the wood chunks on the cooking grate over a lit burner. If you're using chips, put half in a smoker box or disposable
aluminum pan. Oil a shallow grilling rack--Weber's small roast holder is perfect--and put the turkey on it, breast side up.
Set the rack over the drip pan. Cover grill.
Track the Temperature
The most important thing is to know when your turkey is done, so a good thermometer is critical.
The best for beginners: a cord-style one specifically for grilling. Before cooking, insert the wand into the thickest part of the breast to the bone, and leave it in; a digital readout shows temperature and beeps when it's done.
Or, use an instant-read thermometer. The fastest and most accurate is the Super-Fast Thermapen. It gives you a reading within 3 seconds. Start checking after 1 1/2 hours.
Your turkey has hit 165º! Measure into the thigh joint, too, where it meets the body; it should be 170º there.
Lift the turkey onto a platter and let it rest 20 to 30 minutes before you carve. That's your window to get everything else--the
gravy, the reheating of sides--done before you sit down to your feast.