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Oct 31, 2012 08:46 AM

How to grill very large turkey?

So I've found a cooks illustrated recipe for a spice rubbed grill roasted turkey. My husband is very excited about the possibility of grilling it, but our turkey will be much larger than the one in the recipe. Any advice for grilling a 20-25 lb bird? Can it be done safely?

Thanks for any help! Also, is it worth grilling turkey in general?


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  1. Spatchcock it. Remove the backbone and flatten it and it will grill up just fine.

    4 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      Second this. Also consider using Jacques & Julia's Deconstructed Turkey technique. Basically, you remove the leg/thighs, debone the thighs, fill with stuffing, then either twine it up or wrap in foil. I do this every year. Once you've assembled everything, it cooks quite fast (you're not constantly poking the thigh to see if it runs clear) and carving is a breeze.

      1. re: monkeyrotica

        Looks great, but I feel like I should practice on a bird in advance. I always get a little nervous about trying out an entirely new dish/technique for a big holiday meal! But I love the idea.

        1. re: sljones

          So practice on a fryer/roaster chicken. Same technique as for the turkey, but it just cooks faster. Deboning isn't that difficult but it's a really handy skill.

      2. re: biondanonima

        Any suggestions on cooking timing/techniques for this, re: the grill? Still indirect heat, etc? Thanks, this may indeed be the way to go.

      3. We have 3 friends that grill turkey,the without exception cooking method for all three.All are on a WEBER,using the method,instructions that WEBER supplies for a whole bird.The result is an excellent bird.

        1. For super juicy meat, pull when the internal temperature of the breast reaches 150 degrees F and the leg meat reaches 160 degrees F.

          1. This may not be exactly what you're looking for but we "grill" a large turkey in the Weber but use it like an oven. The turkey goes on a rack in a regular roasting pan (dedicated for the grill) just as one would do in an indoor oven. We use wood chip charcoal (barbeque wood chips) so the turkey gets a lovely color and a crisp and smoky skin, plus the meat is juicy and tender with the same flavor.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              Gio, would a disposable pan and our reg v rack work for this? Also, how often are you replacing charcoal? And what is the lgst size bird you've grilled whole?

              1. re: sljones

                I hope Gio gets back to you also.
                I know that one of the couples uses a foil pan,turkey size,,,DOUBLED for strength and easier handling.
                Fire,charcoal....we are guests,a five couple party the weekend after Thanksgiving.The guys do this work and they drink or sneak part of a smoke etc.Husband is gone for the day so here is some ?vague info.I know that Vic does add charcoal at some point so the fire will go the distance.When or how often?? It's doubtful how often the guys go out to "tend the bird" is the correct answer.WE,five girls suspect most of it is male bonding over fire and fire water while we sit on our nice warm asses INSIDE.

            2. To smoke a turkey on my Weber I put a disposable aluminum pan on the fire grate to catch the drippings and build the fire on the other side. Keep water in the pan. A 12 pounder is about the largest I would attempt on a 22" grill.