Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 15, 2008 10:40 AM

BBQ a turkey

for thanksgiving.Need ideas.Have never done this before.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Are you BBQing on a rotisserie , smoker, or a simple covered BBQ kettle?

    3 Replies
    1. re: todao

      Hi,just a simple covered kettle.I was told to put a pan under the turkey for the drippings and spread the coals around.Add coals as it cooks about 15 min per pound.What do think?Any other ideas?Thanks

      1. re: potofood

        I do it every year (gas grill though - but I add wood chunks). You should keep some water in the pan or the drippings could still catch fire, cause a flare up. Also, you can flip the turkey once or twice for more even cooking. I've done BBQ sauce, but lately I prefer herbs/butter rubbed under skin. With added wood chunks, it's like Kenny Rogers rising from the dead!

        1. re: potofood

          I have bbq'd (smoked) a turkey breast on a Weber Kettle. You CANNOT use a direct cooking method with the turkey right over the coals, you MUST use an indirect cooking method which is the basic barbequing method: you will need a combination of charcoal and wood chunks (I like Hickory); wood chunks should be pre-soaked in water for about an hour; when ready light coals and put on one side of the kettle (1/2) and put handull of wood chunks on top of coals; put lid on, close vents almost all the way and try to maintain temp between 225-275 for the entire cooking process; place a small aluminum foil container of water on the opposite, unoccupied side; place turkey above the water on the unoccupied side; replace cover, carefully keeping an eye on the temperature every 1/2 hour making sure it stays between 225-275 degrees (I like to use a candy or roasting thermometer stuck down thru the open vent in order to watch temp); as necessary, you may need to add more coals and/or wood to maintain temperature so that fire does not go out; keep an instant read thermometer handy to test turkey for its internal temperature as it looks like it's getting closer to being done; finished when deepest spot on thigh is 165 degrees or deepest part of breast is 180 degrees.

        1. re: BeefeaterRocks

          About the pan under the turkey to catch the drippings. I would suggest that instead of water, you add a few cans of inexpensive pork and beans. The cheap ones have more liquid than the more expensive brands and will turn out better. Add some ketchsup. mustard, vinegar and a sweetener. I use inexpensive pancake syrup. This should taste good, but resist the temptation to season it further. As the turkey, brisket, ham, ribs cook. they will drip into the beans flavoring the beans along with the smoke. When the meat is finished, pull the beans off and mix what is floating on top into what is underneath.; I think you will like it.

          1. re: powillie

            Actually got me thinking about trying a type of Zuni Cafe version -- that would mean bread (or, for Thanksgiving, shall we say "stuffing") in the drip pan. It would pick up some nice smoke flavor. Though I question whether it might get greasy.

            1. re: sbp

              When I make dressing with an oven roasted bird, I will use the pan drippings to moisten seasoned bread mixed with some onion and celery and then bake it to dry it some. If I would do it on my Weber, the pan would have plain bread mixed with onion and celery I would then check it every time that I checked the fire. When it reached the desired moistness, I would place it in the house oven to finish. I can't quite imagine smoky dressing, you may be onto something new.

        2. I've had great success with turkeys and root vegetables in my Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker. The slow cooking makes for a tender bird, & brining assures the moistness.
          I'm not usually a fan of mesquite, but its sharp flavor works nicely with the mellow turkey-ness.

          1. There is nothing as good as a moist turkey cooked on the grill. My mother-in-law has been making them for years. These are her tips:

            1. The coals: Use a charcoal domed grill. The charcoal should be top quality, do not buy the cheap stuff as it doesn't burn as well. It must be indirect heat, coals moved to the sides. Replenish coals as needed. Fire must not be too hot. (She does not use wood in the mix.) A 12-15 pound turkey will take two-three hours to cook.

            2. For the turkey: Place the turkey in a heavy duty pan with about two cups of water in the bottom. (You don't need broth and you don't have to get fancy). Just salt and pepper the bird inside and out lightly at this point. Cover the turkey with foil. You will need to take the foil off and put it on again throughout the cooking process.

            After 90 minutes of cooking, check the bird. If the water is low add more. Some turkeys are juicer than others. The turkey should not be browning or burning. Fire should not be blazing.

            A half hour before it is done, brush the turkey with some barbecue sauce with melted butter mixed in.

            After you've done it once, it gets easier the next time! Your eyes are important throughout the process.