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Thanksgiving Consumer Preparation Tips

Thanksgiving on the Grill: Consumers Bring Holiday Feasts Outside Holiday Outdoor Cooking Tips from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association

Year-round outdoor cooking remains popular consumers among home cooks, forgoing the oven or stove-top and opting for turkey and trimmings cooked on the grill, smoker or fryer. According to a 2013 Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association’s (HPBA) survey, when it comes to cooking their Thanksgiving meals, consumers are most likely to cook their turkey outside (53%), followed by vegetables (21%), appetizers (12%), classic sides (11%) and desserts (3%).*  Whether it’s for the convenience, minimal cleanup or crisp fresh air, consumers are willing to prepare the entire Thanksgiving meal – from the turkey to desserts – outdoors.

HPBA provides the following tips and know-how for delicious, mouth-watering roasted, smoked or fried turkey this holiday season:

Roasted Taste – from the Grill (Using the Indirect Grilling Procedure)

  • Purchase a turkey that is broad and flat to fit underneath the covered grill top.
  • Make sure there is at least one-inch of space between the turkey and the grill lid.
  • Apply a thin coating of non-stick vegetable cooking oil to the unheated rack and brush the outer surface of the turkey with cooking oil.
  • Do not tie the legs together when grilling a whole bird. The turkey will cook more evenly if hot air circulates to all areas of the bird.
  • Allow for two to three hours of indirect cooking time for an eight to 12 pound turkey and three to four hours for a 12-16 pound turkey.

Smoked Turkey – for a Different, Flavorful Experience

  • Be sure the smoker reaches an internal temperature of 250° F to 300° F before inserting the turkey.
  • Place the turkey in the smoker with the breast facing up.
  • Allow for at least one inch of space between the turkey and the smoker lid.
  • If using charcoal or wood, add fuel often to maintain the 250° F to 300° F temperature necessary to produce the hot smoke that cooks the turkey.
  • Smoke the turkey 20 to 30 minutes per pound.

Fried Turkey – a Crisp Alternative

  • Thaw the turkey completely and pat it dry. Cook the bird un-stuffed.
  • In addition to frying a whole turkey, turkey breasts, legs and thighs are also ideal for frying.
  • If using an oil fryer, always use a high smoke point frying oil, such as peanut oil. Never allow the cooking oil to exceed 375° F.
  • Always lower the turkey slowly into the hot oil.
  • Allow three to four minutes of fry-time per pound for whole turkeys in an oil fryer and eight to ten minutes per pound in an infrared oil-less fryer.
  • Allow oil to cool completely before removing from pot.

For more information, holiday tips and recipes, visit HPBA at, and

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