Turkey isn’t just for the winter holidays. Grilled turkey breasts and legs are a healthy and delicious option in the summertime, too. Done right, they’re delectably juicy and flavorful. The flame from the fire provides a crispy, delicious skin while keeping the meat within moist.
Here are four easy steps for roasting tender, tasty turkey breast and legs on the grill.
1. Prep the Turkey
Season the pieces to your liking, using a light coat of olive oil, salt and pepper, and your favorite BBQ rub, such as Smokey Mo’s Spice Rub. The oil will keep the turkey from sticking to the grates or drip pan.
2. Prep the Grill
You can grill the turkey meat on a charcoal or gas grill. Indirect heat is the key to moist, evenly cooked meat. Regardless of the grill you use, keep the turkey away from the edges of the cooking surface so that heat can flow around it. You want even heating so one side doesn’t cook faster than the other.
Use a drip pan. Drippings that fall outside the pan can cause flare-ups and may singe your turkey. Add water to the pan periodically to maintain a moist environment in the grill and to keep the drippings from burning away. Save the drippings to make gravy.
If you’re using a charcoal grill, take the grate off and put the drip pan inside. Surround the sides of the pan with two dozen or so briquettes before heating them up until they’re covered with gray ash.
If you’re using a gas grill, let the grill heat up until it reaches a temperature of 250 degrees F.
For a charcoal grill, place the meat so that it’s just above the drip pan. Each grill is unique, and how open you leave the vents largely depends on the grill, weather, and other conditions. The most important thing is to set the vents so that the grill maintains a temperature of 250 degrees. Periodically toss in about half a dozen briquettes. Cook 11–13 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature reaches 175°F for the legs and 165°F for the breasts and the juices run clear.
For a gas grill, place the meat in a roast holder inside a foil drip pan. Put the pan in the center of the cooking grate and place the lid on the grill. For three-burner grills, set the front and back burners to medium and turn off the center burner. For two-burner grills, turn the front and back burners to medium. Keep the grill covered.
Place the turkey on the top rack directly above the drip pan. Grill the turkey on medium heat 11–13 minutes per pound, turning halfway through the time and basting with butter. The turkey is done when the meat thermometer reaches 175°F for the legs and 165°F for the breasts and the juices run clear.
4. Carve and Serve
Transfer the turkey pieces to a platter and let them stand for 20 to 30 minutes (the internal temperature will rise a few degrees during this time). Carve. Serve with sides that pair well with the turkey’s robust flavor.
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