The best foods are simple foods. This recipe for grilled turkey with rosemary butter, inspired by Dinners for a Year and Beyond, shows you how to cook a turkey perfectly with just four simple ingredients.
Using only oranges, rosemary, salt and pepper to season a turkey might seem too simple to be any good — but with just a couple flavors, each stands out and becomes a defining element of the dish. If you don’t have oranges, you can substitute lemons. Thyme sprigs work well, too, if rosemary is too overpowering for you.
ALSO TRY: Cajun spiced deep-fried turkey
Grilling your turkey as opposed to roasting it in the oven is flat-out brilliant. The smoky flavor from the grill adds another dimension to this juicy meat. In addition, it keeps your kitchen oven from heating up the entire house, making this dish something you can do year-round.
Aside from the standard comfort dinner of turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes, there are so many ways to use a whole turkey. Dice some breast meat and make turkey salad, shred some of the darker meat to make turkey pot pies, and use the carcass to create a turkey stock for soups. The possibilities are endless. Simple, delicious and useful? It doesn’t get much better than that!
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Remove giblets and gravy packet from turkey
Whole birds require a little prep work, but it’s so worth it!
Place raw giblets in the bottom of a metal sheet pan
This will be the start of your gravy for later.
Put turkey on a roasting rack with rosemary and giblets underneath
The herbs help flavor the entire dish. Rosemary is a wonderful compliment to turkey or chicken.
Pin wings to the turkey with a toothpick.
Pinning the wings back prevents them from overcooking in the oven.
Tie the turkey legs together with string
This helps the turkey to keep its shape while cooking, making for a nice-looking bird.
Spread butter inside the turkey cavity
Be liberal with the butter as it prevents the turkey from drying out on the grill.
Stuff the turkey with orange and clementine slices
Citrus adds so much flavor to roasted turkey or chicken; and it makes for a pretty garnish once finished.
Spread butter on the backside of the turkey
Brushing the backside of the turkey with butter helps the skin to crisp up golden brown.
The turkey is infused with woody rosemary and light orange as it cooks.
The flavors from rosemary and orange slices penetrate the entire turkey, adding another dimension of flavor.
Time to grill this bird
Place roasting pan on your preheated grill.
Occasionally baste the turkey with melted butter
Keep the butter flowing for super moist meat and crispy skin.
Pour chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan to keep the bird moist as it cooks
Broth creates the gravy and add steaming moisture to the cooking process, preventing the turkey from drying out.
Cook the turkey until it is completely crispy and brown
Let the flavor and color develop fully for a bird that is sure to impress on the dinner table.
Doesn’t this look delicious?
There is nothing better than juicy tender turkey with a crispy golden skin.
Thanksgiving turkey cooked on a grill
It’s hard to believe this bird was cooked entirely on the grill!
Tender breast meat, crispy skin: Thanksgiving turkey is done.
Guests will be asking how you did it.
This grilled turkey completes the Thanksgiving meal.
Perfect turkey, every time.
Grilled turkey with rosemary butter
Yield 8–10 servings
- 10 –12 pound whole turkey, defrosted and giblets removed
- 2 sticks butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely minced
- 3–4 large sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 small oranges or clementines, cut in halves
- Turn on grill using indirect heating method. (See Indirect heating method for grilling for more info.)
- Preheat burners for 10–15 minutes, or until temperature reaches 325F.
- In small bowl, mix melted butter with rosemary.
- Place rack in large aluminum pan.
- Remove giblets and neck from turkey and place in bottom of aluminum pan. Discard liver.
- Place turkey breast-side down on rack. Pat skin dry with paper towels.
- Stuff turkey’s cavity with orange or clementine halves and extra rosemary sprigs.
- Brush turkey with half of melted rosemary butter.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper generously inside and outside of cavity and on top and sides.
- Place turkey in center of grill., making sure that turkey is not sitting directly over burner.
- Close lid and grill for 2 hours, then turn turkey over, breast-side up, and baste with remaining rosemary butter.
- Continue to cook until temperature of turkey thigh reaches 180F (the breast should be 165F). Check temperature with thermometer and do not remove before it reaches this temperature.
- Check heat on grill frequently and keep it at steady 325F.
- Remove turkey to cutting board, and allow to rest uncovered for 15–20 minutes before carving.
- Carve and serve.
Approximate time to grill a 10- to 12-pound turkey is 3 to 4 hours. The type of grill and fluctuation of temperature will affect total length of cooking time.
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