How Long Does It Take To Grill A Turkey On A Charcoal Grill?

Thanksgiving is the time when families gather to enjoy a delicious meal and spend quality time with their loved ones. If you are considering grilling a turkey this year, you might be wondering how long it takes to cook it on a charcoal grill. Grilling a turkey can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and knowledge, you can prepare a delicious bird that is sure to impress.

Grilling a turkey on a charcoal grill is a great option for those who love the smoky flavor that charcoal provides. It also allows you to free up space in your oven and enjoy the great outdoors while cooking your Thanksgiving feast. However, grilling a turkey requires some preparation, and knowing how long to cook it is essential to ensure that it turns out just right. In this article, we will explore the factors that can affect grilling time and provide a step-by-step guide to help you cook your turkey to perfection.

Quick Answer
The cooking time for grilling a turkey on a charcoal grill depends on the size and weight of the bird. On average, it takes approximately 12-15 minutes per pound to cook a turkey on a charcoal grill. Therefore, a 12-pound turkey will take around 2-2.5 hours to cook on a charcoal grill. It is important to use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey is fully cooked and safe to eat.

Preparing the Turkey for Charcoal Grilling

Preparing a turkey for charcoal grilling is an important step in ensuring that it is cooked to perfection. Before you start grilling, it is important to thaw the turkey completely and remove any giblets or other packaging materials from the cavity. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.

Once the turkey is cleaned and dried, it is time to season it. There are many different seasoning options, but a basic blend of salt, pepper, and garlic is a good place to start. Rub the seasoning mixture over the turkey, making sure to get it under the skin and in the cavity. If you have the time, let the turkey sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld. When you are ready to grill, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before placing it on the charcoal grill.

Choosing the Right Charcoal Grill for Turkey Grilling

When it comes to grilling a turkey on a charcoal grill, choosing the right grill can make all the difference. There are a few key factors to consider when selecting a grill specifically for turkey grilling.

Firstly, the size of the grill is important. You need to make sure that the grill is large enough to accommodate the size of your turkey, as well as any other sides you may be grilling at the same time. Secondly, the quality of the grill is important to ensure that it can withstand the hot temperatures needed to cook a turkey thoroughly. Lastly, consider features such as a lid to help regulate temperature and heat distribution across the grill surface. With these factors in mind, you can select the perfect charcoal grill for your turkey grilling needs.

Lighting the Charcoal Grill and Preheating

Before you begin grilling your turkey, you need to light the charcoal grill and preheat it properly. The first step is to remove the cooking grates from the grill and set them aside. Next, remove the ash from the bottom of the grill and place a layer of charcoal briquettes on the bottom of the grill. Use a chimney starter to light the briquettes. Once they have heated up, pour them onto the bed of charcoal in the grill and spread them out evenly.

After this, replace the cooking grates and close the lid of the grill. You can adjust the vents to control the airflow and regulate the temperature inside the grill. Preheat the grill for about 20 minutes to ensure that the temperature is evenly distributed throughout the grill. This will also help to burn off any remaining debris from the cooking grates. Once the grill is preheated, you can begin grilling your turkey. Preheating your charcoal grill is an essential step in ensuring that your turkey cooks evenly and comes out perfectly grilled.

Placing the Turkey on the Grill and Adjusting Heat

Once the grill is hot, it’s time to place the turkey on the grill. It’s important to remember that the turkey should be placed breast side up on the grill. This will help keep the moisture inside and prevent the turkey from drying out. You’ll want to place the turkey directly above the drip pan and the coals should be pushed to the sides of the grill.

Once the turkey is on the grill, it’s time to adjust the heat. This can be done by adjusting the vents on the grill. If the grill is too hot, you can close the vents slightly to lower the heat. If the grill is too cool, you can open the vents to increase the heat. It’s important to keep an eye on the temperature throughout the cooking process to ensure that it stays within the desired range. The lid should be kept closed as much as possible to maintain a consistent temperature.

Monitoring and Flipping the Turkey

Monitoring and flipping the turkey is an important step in grilling a turkey on a charcoal grill. It ensures that the turkey is evenly cooked and the skin is crispy. When grilling a turkey, you should monitor it regularly to ensure that it is not cooking too quickly or too slowly. A good rule of thumb is to check the temperature of the turkey every 30 minutes. This will help you adjust the heat as necessary and ensure that the turkey cooks evenly.

Flipping the turkey is also important to ensure even cooking. You should flip the turkey once per hour, starting with the breast side down and then flipping it over to the breast side up. This will help the turkey cook evenly and ensure that the skin is crispy all over. Be sure to use tongs or a spatula to carefully flip the turkey to avoid any accidents. By monitoring and flipping the turkey, you can ensure that it is perfectly cooked and ready to serve to your family and friends.

Checking for Doneness and Carving

Once your turkey reaches the recommended internal temperature, it’s time to check for doneness. Remove the turkey from the grill and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to distribute evenly throughout the meat, ensuring a juicy and flavorful bird.

To check for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey, making sure not to touch the bone. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C). If the temperature is lower, return the turkey to the grill and continue cooking. Once your turkey is fully cooked, it’s time to carve. Start by removing the legs and wings, then slice the breast meat against the grain. Serve your delicious grilled turkey with your favorite sides and enjoy!

Tips for Perfectly Grilled Turkey on Charcoal Grill

When grilling a turkey on a charcoal grill, there are a few tips to keep in mind for achieving perfect results. First and foremost, it’s essential to have a properly heated grill, so take the time to allow the charcoal to heat up completely and create a consistent fire. You can test the heat by holding your hand over the grill for a few seconds; if you can only stand the heat for a few seconds, it’s ready to use.

Another crucial tip is to keep the turkey moist throughout the grilling process. You can do this by basting the bird every 30 minutes with a marinade or sauce of your choice. It’s also essential to keep the grill lid closed while cooking to maintain a consistent temperature and prevent dryness in the turkey. Finally, use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey is thoroughly cooked, with an internal temperature of 165°F in the thickest part of the meat. With these tips in mind, you can serve up a perfectly grilled turkey on your charcoal grill that will wow your guests and provide plenty of juicy, flavorful meat.

The Bottom Line

Grilling a turkey can be an enjoyable and flavorful way to prepare your holiday meal. However, it requires a bit of time and attention to ensure that the turkey is cooked through and evenly. If you’re planning to grill a turkey on a charcoal grill, it’s important to prepare and plan ahead to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

From selecting the right size turkey to using the right amount of charcoal, grilling a turkey requires patience and attention to detail. By following the tips above, you can ensure that your turkey is cooked to perfection and ready to be enjoyed by your family and friends. With some practice, grilling a turkey on a charcoal grill can become a new holiday tradition that everyone will love.

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