About five years ago my family started grill-roasting our turkey and we’ve never looked back. Not only does it make the most beautifully bronzed bird, but also it’s easy and it frees up your oven.
The Case for Cooking Your Turkey Outside
We all know the careful choreography cooking a big holiday meal can require. Between the appetizers, the sides, the main course, and the desserts, coordinating what needs to go into the oven when can feel like a special ops mission—it’s a GO on the turkey; I repeat, get that bird in the oven, STAT.
Once you cross the hulking beast off of your “needs to go in the oven” list, everything gets easier to coordinate.
Sign up for the Well-Equipped Cook newsletter
Shop smarter with our ATK Reviews team's expert guides and recommendations.
And look, I’m not saying I’m trying to avoid my family by spending most of the day outside away from the crowd. But I’m not not saying it—ya know what I mean? My husband and I usually volunteer to do the turkey and then get to spend most of the day sipping a nice beverage in the sunshine while we “check on the bird.”
Grill-roasting requires a grill and not much else. But you could also smoke or deep-fry your bird outside as well. Lisa McManus and I are both team “cook your turkey outside,” so much so that we just dedicated an entire episode of Gearheads to it.
Deep-frying a large bird like a turkey sounds scary but it’s remarkably easy. Here’s a little secret: I had never done it before we filmed the video. With a good turkey fryer and the guide written by my colleague Miye, it was a breeze. And so fast. I’m talking 45 minutes fast. You could deep-fry two turkeys in the time it’d take you to roast one in the oven.
However you chose to cook your turkey this year, remember: leave enough time to defrost it (it always takes way longer than I think). And ignore the pop-up timer that comes with most turkeys; it’s not accurate. Use a digital thermometer like our winner by Thermapen instead so you don’t end up with a dry bird.