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The Best-Ever Easy BBQ Turkey Recipe

Updated on October 3, 2015

An Easy BBQ Turkey Recipe

Recently, we had Christmas dinner in July and, of course, that dinner had to include a turkey. A roast turkey in our part of the world is best suited to being cooked on a BBQ where it will NOT heat up your home and that is how we cooked our turkey.

You might be surprised to know that barbecuing a turkey is extremely easy and requires almost no special equipment except, of course, the grill, a simple foil drip pan and a meat thermometer. We use a gas grill with two burners so that one side (the side with the turkey on it) can be turned off.

Of course, you should not limit grilling turkeys to the summer. We have also cooked our turkey on the BBQ for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners and been just as thrilled with the result, which is always a delicious and moist roast turkey.

On this page you will find our extremely easy BBQ turkey recipe and technique. Why not put a turkey on YOUR barbecue?

Five Reasons Why You Should Barbecue Your Turkey

BBQ Turkey
BBQ Turkey

  1. BBQing a turkey will NOT heat up your kitchen.

  2. Barbecuing a turkey is easy.

  3. Grilling your turkey results in an absolutely amazing, incredibly moist roast turkey.

  4. Leftovers are on our list of all-time favorite meals.

  5. Barbecuing a turkey results in little kitchen clean up.

Grilled Turkey
Grilled Turkey


  • 1 Turkey


  1. Remove neck, giblets and any excess fat.
  2. Rinse the turkey.
  3. Place a foil pan under the grills on one side of your gas BBQ to catch the drippings.
  4. Preheat your barbecue. (We preheat our BBQ for ten minutes at full heat and then reduce the heat to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending upon the weather, you may have to monitor the temperature of your grill occasionally.)
  5. Place the turkey on the grill over the drip pan and turn off the heat under it, leaving the heat ON on the other side of your grill.
  6. Put a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh of the turkey.
  7. Cook until your thermometer says that the turkey is done, 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. The following times are approximate and will depend upon various conditions like how well thawed a frozen turkey is and how hot you run your BBQ.
  9. A three to four pound turkey will take about 1.5 hours.
  10. A six to eight pound turkey will take 2.5 to 3 hours to grill.
5 stars from 1 rating of The Best-Ever BBQ Turkey Recipe

Have you ever cooked a turkey on the BBQ?

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Butterball 6-Inch Thermometer

We recently grew tired of our electronic or digital meat thermometer. It was frustrating and unreliable and I cannot believe that we put up with it for so long. In its place, We purchased in a simple old-fashioned meat thermometer, the kind my mother always used, with one difference. Our new one is dishwasher proof. No longer do we hear 'mom' kindly reminding us that we cannot put the thermometer in the dishwater...and so far, we love it.

How Big A Turkey Can I BBQ?

I have seen it written that you should not grill an overly large turkey (say 15 pounds or more) because it takes too long for the mass of the turkey to warm up, putting it in danger of developing harmful bacteria.

Canadian Living magazine states in their recipe that turkeys of 14 pounds and less are more suitable to roasting on the barbecue than larger ones although they do not elaborate as to why.

"Enjoy your grilled bird! You'll see your guests gobbling up your delectable morsels. You can be proud and spread your plumage, but don't ham it up." ~ John Seery

Have you ever grilled your turkey? - If not, do you think you might try it sometime?

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    • yonique88 profile image

      yonique88 5 years ago

      This look and sounds delicious. This is a great lens.

    • profile image

      jseven lm 5 years ago

      Sounds yummy, I love barbecue anything!

    • profile image

      neoglitch17 5 years ago

      One day I shall get a BBQ, and that day I will do one of these!But hey, when the title mentioned BBQ I thought about BBQ sauce! But it is not mentioned here. That would be an interesting recipe, though... Grilled Turkey with BBQ sauce!Guys... is anybody else here addicted to BBQ sauce? I know I do!! xD

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Happy Thanksgiving Brenda!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 6 years ago

      no, but it sounds easy and delicious1

    • profile image

      Tarra99 6 years ago

      I love the idea of Christmas dinner in July! YUM!!!

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 6 years ago from Virginia

      This is an incredible find here in squidoo country. Always glad to see another way to do up the Thanksgiving bird. Nicely done!

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 6 years ago

      No, my grill isn't big enough. Maybe some day...

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Oh, Brenda, I was just thinking that we could do just a turkey breast. Smaller, and the part we love to slice for sandwiches. Yep, that's going to be my plan!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I most definitely want to try grilling a turkey. We have a small-ish bbq grill, so I'll measure first, and we'll definitely fill the propane tank, but if there's room in the grill, there will be a BBQ'd turkey on our table very soon!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Hmmm the thought of barbecued turkey never crossed my mind. I had no idea it was so easy!I'm definitely going to try this.

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 6 years ago

      We never grilled one, but we have smoked one in a smoker/BBQ grill. WONDERFUL!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

      I have never grilled a turkey, although it sounds really wonderful!

    • profile image

      Joan4 6 years ago

      I don't grill, but that turkey sure looks good!