BBQ turkey on a BBQ grill


This recipe for grilling a whole turkey – a method that yields a smoky flavor and crisp skin while freeing up oven space for side dishes. It is best done on a large gas grill fitted with a thermometer. It’s more labor-intensive to keep a charcoal grill at a constant high temperature. Grilling works the best with a bird that has been soaked in a brine solution. – Serves 12


  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 (12-lb.) turkey


  • The BBQ Chef American Classic, Mediterranean Fresh or Tandoori Char-it Dry Rub
  • 2 oranges, zested and cut into wedges
  • 8 tbsp. butter or vegetable oil

Drip Pan:

  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups of Water or Apple Juice
  • Disposable roasting pan


  • The BBQ Chef Smoke boxes with Apple & Mesquite woodchips


  • Brine the turkey: Combine salt, lemon, orange, onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and black pepper in a 12-qt. pot. Add 1 1⁄2 gallons cold water and stir. Squeeze lemons and oranges into the brine and add the squeezed halves. Submerge turkey in brine. (Weight the turkey down with dinner plates if necessary.) Cover pot with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove turkey from brine, pat dry with paper towels, and let come to room temperature.
  • Rub the outside of the turkey with butter or oil, which will help the dry rub stick to the skin and keep the outside from getting to dark. Apply the dry rub mix to the outside making sure to cover everything.
  • Before turning on grill, lift grate and place drip pan below adding the orange wedges, onions, carrots, and 3 cups water or apple juice into disposable roasting pan. Replace grate.
  • This is also the time to put in the smoke boxes on top of the grate, beside the turkey. The woodchips produce an aromatic smoke that will infuse the turkey, adding a delicate flavor. Follow the instructions on the package.
  • Preheat burners on high for 10 to 15 minutes with lid closed. Once heated, turn temperature down to approximately 350° F.
  • Place turkey, breast up, on cooking grate over drip pan. Close lid and cook with minimal peeking. This will also allows the smoke from the smoke boxes to penetrate the turkey.
  • Continue cooking the turkey to internal temperature of 180° F in thigh and 165° F in breast. 10 to 16 lb. turkeys will take 2 to 3 hours to grill.
  • Add water or juice to the drip pan as necessary.
  • When done, remove and let stand for 15-20 minutes before carving.