Dry brining a grilled turkey produces amazing flavour, crispy skin and juicy meat. While making a flavourful turkey broth ensures a delicious gravy and is perfect for basting the bird on the grill.
Dry-Brine the Turkey (24 hours in advance)
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 14-16 lbs fresh turkey (raised without the use of antibiotics or steroids) – (not kosher or pre-salted)
- Mix the salt, pepper, and herbs together in a small bowl.
- Remove the turkey from the packaging, remove and reserve neck & giblets (for stock). Place the turkey on a wire rack over a sheet pan. Remove or discard any plastic or metal cages or pop-up thermometers.
- Pat the outside of the turkey dry with paper towels.
- Using your hands, loosen the skin over the breast & thighs and gently separate it from the meat (Careful not to break the skin).
- Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the salt mixture into the cavity of the turkey, spread 1 teaspoon of the salt mixture onto the meat of the thighs (under the skin) and spread 3 teaspoons of the salt mixture onto the meat of the breasts (under the skin).
- Sprinkle the remaining salt mixture over all the skin of the entire turkey (including the wings).
- Bend the wings back and tuck under the breast.
- Place the turkey breast-side up, on the wire rack in the sheet pan, and refrigerate uncovered for 24 hours.
Prepare Turkey to Grill
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into 8ths
- 1 large orange, cut into 8ths
- 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cups turkey stock, for spraying/basting (recipe below)
- Spray bottle for basting the turkey with broth
Before turning on grill, lift grate and place drip pan directly on bars. Replace grate.
Prepare grill for indirect heat cooking. Preheat on high for 10 to 15 minutes with lid closed.
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator. Mix butter & olive oil and rub all over the turkey. Stuff the turkey with the onion, orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and thyme. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.
Place the turkey, on the grill grate over the drip pan (indirect heat) and roast (maintaining the heat between 325°F to 350°F) for 1 hour, then spray with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 hours total cooking time. Spray the turkey once every hour with 1/2 cup of the turkey stock.
Remove from the grill and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
**Carefully remove the drip pan from the grill, strain the drippings, skim off fat, then add to your gravy.
Make Turkey Broth (make ahead)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- turkey neck & giblets (plus 2 backs, skin removed – optional)
- 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 large celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 small bay leaf
- 4 cups chicken stock (or low sodium chicken broth)
- 4 cups water
For the turkey broth: Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. If using backs, add the backs to the pan and brown for 2 minutes, add the turkey neck, heart, gizzard to the pan and sauté until just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf to the pan and sauté until soft, about 4-6 minutes. Pour the stock and water into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to about 6 cups, approximately 1 hour.
Strain the stock into a clean pot or large measuring cup. Reserve 4 cups to make gravy and place 2 cups into a spray bottle to baste the turkey.
Here’s another grilled turkey recipe you can also try – Christmas Turkey Roasted in a Pellet Smoker or Grill