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Grilling a Turkey?

Posted by Chris On November - 18 - 2010

One week to go. 

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately for most NFL tailgaters Thanksgiving will be spent indoors huddled around a table too small instead of sitting comfortably in a spacious parking lot.  For those fans lucky enough to have a Thanksgiving day football game to tailgate at, well, you truly have something to be extra thankful for this year!

The good news is that all is not lost for us tailgaters wanting to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast in the parking lot.  We always have the Sunday before or after the holiday.  For this fan it is the Sunday before and since the Eagles are the Sunday night game I will have plenty of time to cook-up the feast, eat the feast, nod off a bit in my Eagles chair, go back for seconds, and then enjoy the game!

And if you are going to do a Thanksgiving feast in the parking lot right you HAVE TO cook the turkey on the grill (it’s a tailgating violation to bring cooked turkey to the lot).  Dad and I started this tradition a fews back, using the below simple recipe that we discoverd through a quick internet search.


  • 12 pounds whole turkey
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika


  1. Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect medium heat, and lightly oil grate. Rinse turkey, and pat dry.
  2. Place turkey breast side down on the prepared grill. Sear turkey on both sides until skin is golden to dark brown.
  3. In a large roasting pan, mix together the water, bouillon powder, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, parsley, and paprika.
  4. Place turkey breast side down in the roasting pan. Scoop the pan mixture over the turkey. Cover tightly with foil and place on grill.
  5. Grill 3 to 4 hours, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Remove turkey from grill and let stand 15 minutes before carving.

The key thing with cooking a turkey on a grill is the cooking time.  Remember how long it took mom to cook the turkey on Thanksgiving as a kid? 

To carry out this cooking adventure you are going to need a 4pm or later kick-off and a lot of beers in the cooler.  If you are stuck with a 1pm kick-off, well wait until the following weekend and throw another turkey on the grill in your backyard (hopefully it’s not packed for the winter!)

Or if you are blessed with the perfect wife, maybe you can cook the actual Thanksgiving day turkey on the grill!  Actually such an idea may turn out to be a brilliant holiday idea. 

The oven can then be used for the side dishes and fixings.  Guys have a reason to escape the family madness inside the house.  And most importnatly,  since you cooked dinner you have every right to pass out on the couch after dinner and watch football (as you move in and out of your food coma!).

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One Response to “Grilling a Turkey?”

  1. Dave says:

    Chris, excellent post. Also, I might direct people to the post I did last year on “how to smoke a Turkey’. http://www.tailgatingideas.com/how-to-smoke-a-turkey/

    Step by step instructions on how to brine and smoke a turkey on Thanksgiving. I even broke out the portable satellite dish and set up my tailgating TV outside so I could catch the football games while the smoker does its thing. Turned out to be a great day and looking forward to doing it again this year.





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