Reading Chris Anderson's post about Deep Fried Turkey got me thinking...

I've been barbecuing turkey for about 5 or 6 years now, and in the spirit of sharing, here's my recipe:


  • Bird, 1, large. We generally have a lot of people over (~15), so this means somewhere around a 22 pound bird. I prefer a fresh turkey over a frozen one, but it's up to you.
  • Grill, Weber, charcoal, 22" size. Some people use gas barbecues, but I'm very much a traditionalist. It helps if it has the fold up edges so you can get under the grill easily.
  • Briquets. I'm a Kingsford man. Some swear by chunk charcoal, but I prefer briquets.
  • Roasting tray, 8" x 10"
  • Thermometer. You can use a normal dial-indicator kind, but I prefer a remote digital one. If you use a dial one, cover the dial with aluminum foil.
  • Wood chips. Turkey has a fairly mild flavor, so you want a subtle wood. I usually use a fruitwood, like apple or cherry. This year, I used alder (because I forgot my apple wood and had some alder logs), which my wife liked better but I didn't like quite so much. You want to avoid strong woods, such as mesquite, or hickory (my least favorite wood).
  • Two "turkey lifter" thingies. Look a little like goalposts.


  1. Prepare the bird. At the minimum, you'll want to remove the "yuckola blobs" from the inside. Some people like to brine their turkey before hand. I think it helps a little in moistness, but the barbecue will give you a fairly wet heat anyway, so it's not that much of an issue. Rub on butter and add salt/pepper as desired.
  2. Start around 30 briquets.
  3. Put the briquets on the edges of the grill, with the roasting pan between them.
  4. Put the bird on the grill.
  5. Put the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.
  6. Lift up the edge parts of the grill, and put some chips on the briquets.
  7. Close the lid

 Now, every 30-60 minutes, open the lid, add briquets to keep the amount constant, and add wood chips if desired. Less is more on the wood chips - I usually don't add any after the first hour.

Continue until it reaches the desired temperature. I've typically gone to 165 degrees, but I notice that Alton Brown says 161 degrees.

Remove from the grill, and use the drippings to make gravy. Carve the turkey, and enjoy.