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Thanksgiving on the Grill

Consumers Bring Holiday Feasts Outside

Year-round outdoor cooking remains a popular trend among households from coast to coast, with many consumers opting to cook their holiday turkey on a grill, smoker or fryer, freeing the oven and stove top for other fare. According to a 2013 Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association’s (HPBA) survey, when it comes to cooking their Thanksgiving meals outdoors, consumers would be most likely to cook their turkey outside (53%), followed by vegetables (21%), appetizers (12%), classic sides (11%) and desserts (3%).*

The National Turkey Federation (NTF) estimates 46 million turkeys will be cooked this holiday. Turkeys can be fried in less than an hour, smoked over low heat for several hours or even cooked on a grill.

The following cooking tips and know-how from HPBA and NTF are sure to satiate the whole family’s appetite for trying their Thanksgiving bird on the grill, smoker or fryer:

Safety First

  • Check to make sure the grill, smoker or fryer is in working order.
  • Be sure to read the owner’s manual for safety precautions.
  • Stock up on enough charcoal, propane, oil or wood chips needed to cook the meal.
  • Be sure to use the grill, smoker or fryer outside only – never indoors – while set-up on a flat, stable surface, preferably on a protective grill pad, and away from any combustible materials.

Need safety tips for frying a turkey? Click here.

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Turkey Time

  • Purchase a whole turkey according to the weight recommendations in your grill's, smoker's or fryer's owner's manual.
  • Thaw the turkey completely and pat it dry. Cook the bird un-stuffed.
  • Brine the turkey for increased flavor and moisture.
  • Outdoor cooking times depend on many factors: the size and shape of the turkey, the distance from the heat and the outside air temperature. Allow more time on cold or windy days and at high altitudes. Allow less time in very hot weather.
  • Have a food thermometer handy to measure the internal temperature of the bird; the temperature should be 165° F to 170° F in the breast and 175° F to 180° F in the thigh.

Reinvent the Classic Side Dishes!

While the bird is the centerpiece of the meal, Thanksgiving’s savory side dishes and trimmings can all be cooked outdoors. Everything from vegetables, to grilled breads and desserts can be prepared out of the oven. Try these recipes for crispy smashed potatoes, grilled apples slices or grilled vegetable orzo.

Find more ideas at HPBA’s Thanksgiving Recipe Box

Check out cooking tips for grilling, smoking & frying the turkey here.

To read the full release, click here!

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