How To Cook A Turkey On A Pellet Grill
Cooking a turkey is always a bit intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. But using a pellet grill can make the process much easier. Pellet grills combine the convenience of a gas grill with the smoky flavor of charcoal. With the right techniques and a little practice, you can cook a delicious turkey on your pellet grill.
Step 1: Brining
Brining is the first step to cooking a juicy turkey. You can use any brine recipe you like, but a basic ratio is 1 cup of salt per gallon of water. You can also add sugar, herbs, or other flavors to your brine.
To brine your turkey, start by thawing it if it’s frozen. Remove the giblets and rinse the turkey inside and out. Then place the turkey in a large brining bag or container and pour the brine over it. Make sure the turkey is fully submerged in the brine.
Place the bag or container in the refrigerator and let it brine for at least 8 hours, up to overnight. This will help the turkey retain moisture during cooking.
Step 2: Prepping the Grill
While your turkey is brining, you can prep your pellet grill. Start by filling the hopper with your choice of wood pellets. Some good options for turkey include hickory, apple, or mesquite.
Set the temperature to 275°F and let the grill preheat for about 15 minutes. This will give the pellets time to ignite and start producing smoke.
Step 3: Seasoning the Turkey
Once the grill is preheated, it’s time to season your turkey. You can use any seasonings you like, but a simple rub of salt, pepper, and garlic powder works well. Make sure to season the inside and outside of the turkey, including under the skin.
If you want to add extra flavor, you can also stuff the turkey with aromatics like onions, garlic, or herbs.
Step 4: Cooking the Turkey
Place the turkey on the grill, breast side up. (If your grill has a probe thermometer, you can insert it into the thickest part of the breast at this point.) Close the lid and let the turkey cook for about 2 hours.
After 2 hours, use a basting brush to coat the turkey with melted butter or oil. This will help the skin crisp up and add flavor. Close the lid and continue cooking for another hour.
At this point, you can check the internal temperature of the turkey. It should be at least 165°F in the thickest part of the breast and the innermost part of the thigh. If it’s not quite there yet, continue cooking and checking the temperature every 10-15 minutes.
Step 5: Resting and Carving
Once the turkey is done, take it off the grill and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute and make for a juicier turkey.
To carve the turkey, start by removing the legs and thighs. Then, slice the breast meat crosswise into thin slices. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!
Can I cook a frozen turkey on a pellet grill?
No, you should always thaw your turkey completely before cooking it on a pellet grill. This will ensure that it cooks evenly and thoroughly.
What kind of wood pellets should I use?
It depends on your personal preferences, but some good options for turkey include hickory, apple, or mesquite. You can also try mixing different types of pellets to create your own custom flavor.
Do I need to baste the turkey?
No, you don’t have to baste the turkey if you don’t want to. But it can help the skin crisp up and add flavor to the meat.
How much turkey should I buy?
Plan on buying about 1 pound of turkey per person. This will give you plenty of leftovers for sandwiches and other recipes.