This is my instructable for Barbecue Turkey. Outdoor cooking large poultry has some special challenges that can ruin a bird very quickly, or can make you sick. This how I solve those problems, and end up with a delicious turkey feast!

Step 1: Some Background

To get the most out of a properly cooked turkey it need some prep before going to the barbecue, or oven for that matter. The "recipe" I have come up with is not original. I learned of it from Alton Brown's show "Good Eats" on roasting a Thanksgiving Day turkey. I adapted it to suit my needs. The secret to a properly cooked turkey is in temperature control. The Bird needs to be cooked at a high temp. at first, then reduced to finish. This results in a juicy, flavorful bird, and not a "sawdust" bag..

My recipe:

For the veggie stock:

3 lbs of veggies

For the brine:
1 gal veggie stock
1C salt, kosher, pickling, or sea salt
1/2 C light brown sugar
1 TBS pepercorns
1/2 TBS allspice berries
1/2 tsp dill
1 gal ice water (with ice!)

The aromatics: (for inside the bird)
1 apple (I like green apples)
1/2 onion (I used a purple, but your favorite will work great!)
2 sprigs fresh sage
Butter, melted
Salt an Pepper to taste

The only special equipment I use is a 5Gal cooler, a heavy metal v-rack (you can get them at barbecue specialty suppliers, or sometimes the "chain stores" have them)
I prefer "lump" or real wood charcoal. (mesquite is nice)
I also use a "remote reading" thermometer, but you can use a direct if you prefer.

This recipe does not lend itself to a "stuffed" bird, so I strongly recommend against it, besides there are plenty of great oven recipes out there!
Made this for thanksgiving this year, worked pretty well! Thanks for the instruckable. Bird cooked quite quickly compared to the oven. According to the meat therm it only took about 1.5 hours for a 20lbs bird to get to temp, versus 3.5 on packaging. Still not sure if the therm was wrong or not. Did others find this?
Yes, its a bit faster, that's part of why the bird doesn't dry out as much
I would like to do this but we only have a gas BBQ. I am thinking of adding a pan of soaked mesquite chips to the grill to get the smoky flavor. Do you think that will work?
Yes, if it has 2 burners. I would leave the one under the bird off and place the pan with the chips over the lit burner, and rotate the bird regular. You'll have to experiment (perfect excuse to have more turkey!!) Good luck!
There are three burners running in rows horizontally across the BBQ. I'm thinking of leaving the middle row off, putting the chips on one side and the turkey on the other with a drip pan beneath it. Do you think that will work? I do have a thermometer on the BBQ to regulate the heat. FYI - I will need a 30+ lb turkey. Do you think 2 - 15lbs would work better?
You'll have to experiment, I've never done a bird bigger than 15lbs. I don't see why your plan wouldn't work.
LOL! Sob! Experiment with a 30 lb turkey 3 weeks before Thanksgiving! But I guess I will have to because I am quite nervous about it not coming out right or getting the time totally right. I am tempted to just do it in the oven as always. But I would really like to have the smoky flavor and the oven for other things. Now where can I find a 30 lb turkey today? And what I am I going to do with all that meat! I guess I can freeze it and give it out for leftovers to everyone after Thanksgiving.
do 2 15Lb turkeys.
wow smoked turkey
I think I can smell that turkey from here..... BRAVO!~ I love the cold brine step- Could I do the same thing with ice in a large stock pot in the fridge? Our family will give this a try for sure!~ *****
Yes, you can. Be sure to cover it as the "flavors" can get into other foods in the fridge.
Very good instruction! I love brining turkey. Last Thanksgiving, I cut out the backbone, grilled the butterflied turkey and had dinner on the table in a little over an hour. I love the photos!
Looks nice. My only suggestion is you change the wording to including sticking the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the bird, right next to the bone. IF the turkey is underdone at all, you risk food poisoning (but most of you know that already). Campylobacter jejuni and guillain barre is not a great combo for a summer time feast.
Great Instructable, you have my vote
Nicely done! I totally agree that turkey is cooked best at high temps. Some people might argue that it's not low and slow and therefore not real bbq. To be a BBQ Master you have to know when to adapt your cooking skills to what is going on the grill.

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