Certified Thanksgiving Tips & Techniques Blog

Thanksgiving tips from Char-Griller Ambassador James Llorens of Certified Creole BBQ.

Getting ready for Thanksgiving can be a lot of work and time consuming. Here are some of the best things to make on the grill/smoker, tips and some techniques to help you get ready for the Holiday.

Best things to make on the grill for Thanksgiving:

  • Spatchcock Turkey.
  • Whole Turkey.
  • Turkey Tips.
  • Beer Can Roasted Turkey Breast
  • Smoked n’ Sauced Turkey Wings & Legs
  • Mac n’ Cheese
  • Cornbread Stuffing
  • Appetizers
  • Rolls/Biscuits
  • Use your gas grill to warm up and keep food warm.

Thawing Whole Turkey Techniques

  • Fridge: If your turkey is frozen, allow it to thaw out in the fridge 3-4 days prior to cooking: 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds.
  • Cold Water: 30 minutes per pound in ice cold water, add ice every 30- 45 minutes. Use a Home Depot/Lowes Bucket or large cooler.
  • Microwave: I don’t recommend thawing a large turkey in the microwave.

The day of your cook remove turkey from bucket/cooler & allow to rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours.

Turkey Prep

  • Prepare your Turkey the day before by trimming it and placing it in a brine or inject your turkey with a marinade. Place it in a turkey bag and put in a Home Depot/Lowes Bucket or a large cooler.
  • Brine or Inject, pick one: you can place your turkey in a brine or inject it but just select one of these methods. Brining and injecting a turkey can make it too salty and over flavor it.
  • Marinade Injector: make sure to use a sturdy marinade injector and not the plastic one that may come marinade. Char-Griller Grills has great one that I’ve used for years. The plastic ones that come with the marinade, leak and easily break.
  • Spatchcock your Turkey vs keeping it whole: Spatchcocking your turkey is a popular method and can save you a lot of cooking time versus keeping it whole. Spatchcocking is removing the backbone and splitting it open. This method not only saves time but also allows the smoke to get into the turkey much easier then when it’s whole. Having a good knife and scissors helps the process.

Grill/Smoker Tips

  • Be sure to prepare and clean your grill/smoker the day before cooking. This will save you so much time and helps making a turkey on the grill/smoker much easier.
  • Make sure your grill grates are clean/seasoned for clean stick free grill grates. Use spray oil: canola, vegetable or olive oil to season the grill grates. Remove any ashes from ash pan.
  • Gather all your grilling tools: grate lifter, grill glove, spatula and lighter.
  • Use your favorite smoking wood: I like all smoking woods but really like using Don’t be afraid to change it up!
  • Fill your chimney and or grill/smoker with charcoal/wood for easy ignite the day before your turkey Make sure your Fire starters are ready as well.
  • Make sure you have enough charcoal/wood for the cook. The day prior to your cook. Place your wood logs, chunks or chips under the grill so easy access. Also have your charcoal bag next to your grill/smoker.
  • Have your Drip pan ready and filled with water
  • Using a Gas grill to heat up and to keep food warm saves room in the oven. I ignite 1-2 burners and offset the food and will also place on the warming rack. When warming food, I avoid placing the food directly over the burners.

Smoking/Cooking Tips

  • Patience - You can't rush perfection
  • Preheat your Char-Griller Grills Smoker to 240°-270° for 45-60 minutes prior to placing the turkey in the grill/smoker. You want your grill/smoker to be thoroughly warmed
  • Probe: Folding probe/remote thermometer. Don’t rely on the little red plug thermometer that comes with the turkey. Get a Char-Griller Grills folding probe and remote thermometer, this will help take guess work out as to when your turkey is done and to see what temperature it is at throughout the cook.
  • Smoke Turkey to internal Temperature 165°, you can also go to 175°.
  • When smoking turkey, rotating it throughout the cook is important to ensure even smoking/cooking.
  • You place a small piece of foil on the wings or any part that may be cooking fast to help prevent the skin from burning.
  • Don’t over smoke your turkey with smoking wood: I like using Mesquite and Fogo Lump Charcoal to smoke turkey. Mesquite is a heavy smoke and only use a little bit, I use more lump charcoal so the turkey does not get over powered with smoke from the wood.
  • Check on the turkey about every hour & baste turkey with butter and or spritz with apple juice.
  • Maintain your fire, vents and dampers every hour when checking in on the turkey to ensure proper and even smoking/cooking.
  • After the turkey is done, allow it to rest for 25 minutes for slicing.