Smoking a turkey on an outdoor grill might be the least fussy method for cooking the holiday bird: Once the wood chips are smoking, throw on the turkey, shut the grill lid and rotate the bird hourly until its done. Using a brined bird is well worth the effort in this case, since brining keeps the turkey moist during the long cooking time.
Makes: 10 servings
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
- 3 cups wood chips, preferably a fruitwood, like cherry
- 1 12 - 14 pound turkey--giblets and neck removed; bird rinsed, patted dry and at room temperature
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Aromatics like onion halves, lemon halves or sprigs of herbs such as parsley, rosemary or thyme (optional)
- Soak the wood chips in a bowl of hot water to cover; let stand for at least 1 hour and up to 5 hours. Drain, then transfer to a wood smoking box. (Alternatively, wrap a 5-by-7-inch disposable aluminum pan with foil and poke about 10 holes in the top.)
- Remove the grate from a gas grill and place the wood-chip packet directly over the burners on one side of the grill. Position a shallow baking sheet for a drip pan on the other side of the grill; replace the grate.
- Preheat the grill over medium heat until smoke begins to escape, about 10 minutes. Rub the turkey with olive oil and season with salt and pepper (omit the salt if the turkey is brined), including the cavity. Stuff the cavity with the aromatics, if using; tie the legs together with kitchen string. Brush the grate positioned over the drip pan with oil. Arrange the turkey, breast side up, on the grill rack and pour 2 cups water into the drip pan; cover the grill with the lid. Lower the heat to low so that the temperature reads about 350 degrees .
- Cook the turkey, undisturbed, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 155 degrees to 165 degrees , 2 to 2 1/2 hours, adding more water to the pan if needed. Tent loosely with foil for 15 minutes before carving.
- Before beginning, make sure the smoker box and turkey fit into your grill with the lid down.