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Thanksgiving on the Grill: Consumers Bring Holiday Feasts Outside

Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association & National Turkey Federation Offer Safety and Cooking Tips for Grilling, Smoking and Frying this Holiday Season

Arlington, VA (November 4, 2013) –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 (HPBA) poll, 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%).*

“While the turkey is the heart of the meal, savory side dishes, including vegetables, fruits and desserts also taste great when cooked outdoors,” said Sue Crosby, communications director at HPBA. “Cooking the Thanksgiving meal outdoors frees up space in the oven, allows for easier clean up, and creates a mouthwatering meal packed with flavor.”

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

Whether planning to cook the turkey, sides or full feast outside, HPBA encourages consumers to review all safety information prior to cooking.

Consumers should start by reading the owner’s manual and making sure the equipment is in working order,” says Crosby. “Also, consumers should make sure to use outside cooking equipment outdoors only, placed on a flat, stable surface, preferably on a protective grill pad, and away from any combustible materials.”

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:

From the Grill (Indirect Grilling)

  • Purchase a turkey that is broad and flat to fit underneath the grill top.
  • Allow for 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 two to three hours of indirect cooking for an 8-12 pound turkey and three to four hours for a 12-16 pound turkey.

Smoked Turkey

  • 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

  • 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 great grilling tips, resources and recipes, please visit and

Join the conversation at “HPBA Barbecue” HPBA’s Facebook and Twitter and and NTF’s Facebook and Twitter communities:, or


About Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)

The 2,800-member Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), based in Arlington, Va., is the North American industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives, service firms and allied associates for all types of hearth, barbecue and patio appliances, fuels and accessories.  The association provides professional member services and industry support in education, statistics, government relations, marketing, advertising, and consumer education.

About the National Turkey Federation
The National Turkey Federation (NTF) is the national advocate for all segments of the $14 billion turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities that increase demand for its members' products by protecting and enhancing their ability to profitably provide wholesome, high-quality, nutritious products.

*About the National Barbecue Month Consumer Poll
Cited statistics are taken from a survey of 1,000+ people, conducted by the polling company™, inc., from March 11-13, 2013. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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