Charcoal Grilled Thanksgiving Whole Turkey Recipe


What you will need:

  • One 10-12lb turkey, fully thawed and innards removed
  • Apple wood or Hickory wood chips
  • One square aluminum pan filled ½ inch deep with water
  • Six 6-inch rosemary sprigs
  • Two whole oranges, halved
  • Two whole lemons, halved
  • Olive Oil – enough to generously cover the bird (Could substitute melted butter or peanut oil)
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground thyme

Grill Preparations:

  1. Soak a cup of wood chips in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Light 44 charcoal briquettes. Let them turn gray in color and separate them so there are 22 on each side of the grill.
  3. Fill the aluminum pan ½ inch deep with water and place in the center of the separated charcoals.

Turkey Preparations:

  1. Use a basting brush to evenly coat the turkey with olive oil.
  2. Take one halved orange and squeeze juice over the turkey.
  3. Take one halved lemon and squeeze juice over the turkey.
  4. Use the remaining halved orange and lemon to gently squeeze juice inside the cavity of the turkey. Leave the squeezed halves inside the cavity of the bird.
  5. Use celery salt, ground pepper, garlic powder and ground thyme to make a rub for the turkey. However, do not rub it in, gently sprinkle over the top of the bird and into the wing area.
  6. Set the turkey aside.
  7. Now spread a handful of soaked wood chips evenly around the coals, and place three rosemary sprigs on each side of the coals. *Make sure to spray the grilling surface with a cooking spray so the turkey won’t stick. *
  8. Set turkey on the grill and cover.

Turkey will fully cook in approximately two and a half hours. For each hour it cooks, you will need to add eight new hot coals per side and another handful of soaked wood chips. You will need to use a meat thermometer to make sure the turkey cooks to the recommended temperature of at least 180 degrees. (Be sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and be careful not to hit the bone.)

You can use the drippings to make delicious gravy!

Be sure to checkout our Ultimate Guide to the Best Turkey Fryers and other reviews!

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