Have you ever considered grilling a turkey in a Weber kettle grill? With the right set-up turkey breasts and whole turkeys can be grilled in a Weber kettle with great success! By using indirect heat and repositioning the turkey once or twice as it cooks, it will come out nicely browned and cooked to perfection.
The 18.5 inch kettle can grill one turkey breast or a whole turkey up to 10.5 pounds. The 22.5 inch Weber will accommodate two breasts or a whole turkey up to 21 pounds. The big 26.75 inch kettle can handle a whole turkey up to 24 pounds or three breasts.
The number of breasts that will fit in the grill is dependent on their size. For best results, leave some space between the breasts.
A whole roasted turkey gracing the table certainly looks impressive. For lots of us, Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without it.
A big gobbler or hen does have a lot going for it. There's plenty of it to eat and lots of variety. There are only two drumsticks, and claiming one may require some skillful negotiation.
The wishbone provides for an entertaining "epic battle" at some point during the feast. And for the really ambitious (or frugal), there's the bony, picked-clean carcass that can be simmered in a pot for making delicious soup stock.
Turkey breasts have their advantages too. Because of their size they're easier to work with and take less time to cook than a whole bird. If you prefer white meat over dark, a grilled breast would be perfect since it's all white meat.
And if having ten pounds of cooked turkey flesh in your possession sounds like a frightening proposition, you better stick to grilling a turkey breast.
When grilling turkey, the charcoal is banked into two mounds, with one pile on each side of the grill. A drip pan is positioned in the center between the charcoal mounds.
Charcoal baskets can be used to contain the briquettes instead of piling them against the grill walls. The benefit of using baskets is that the coals get better airflow and burn hotter. Place the drip pan between the two charcoal baskets. I use a cookie sheet, but could just as easily use a disposable aluminum pan of some sort.
If you don't have baskets, place a pair of bricks about 4 inches from opposite sides of the kettle, directly on the charcoal grate. These will hold the coals in place and provide an elevated surface on which the drip pan will rest.
Place a single layer of unlit briquettes in the bottom of each basket. Put a couple small chunks of smoker wood on top if you want a little smoke flavor to go with your turkey. When hot coals are dumped over the wood and unlit briquettes, the wood will start smoking and the bottom layer of charcoal will ignite, providing even heat.
A charcoal chimney is a great tool for lighting up the coals. I place mine on the grill grate when lighting it. It gets better airflow through the bottom that way. And I don't have to bend over to pick it up! To save time, the charcoal could be started just before you start setting up the grill.
Now that the charcoal in the chimney is ready, fill the two baskets with coals, placing an even amount in each. Pour the coals right on top of the smoker wood.
No baskets? Just pour the charcoal between the bricks and kettle sides. Use the same method of adding smoke wood here...on top of a single layer of briquettes, before adding hot coals.
Place the grate in the grill and put your brined and seasoned turkey breast in the center, positioned with the sides toward the heat. The turkey can be brined, marinated, injected with flavor, or seasoned with a good turkey dry rub.
Use a good smoker thermometer to monitor the interior temperature of the turkey breast. Be sure the probe doesn't touch bone, and is centered in one side of the breast meat. Route the probe wire as far from the charcoal as possible.
Place the lid on your Weber kettle grill, with the lid vent centered (on one end) between the piles of charcoal. My Weber has the one touch airflow adjustment. I left it open about 1/4 of the way at first. After 10 minutes, I checked the temperature through the top vent and it was over 400 degrees, so I closed the bottom vent so it was open just a crack. The top vent was left half open the entire time. Be gentle with the probe wire when setting the lid down.
Grill the whole turkey breast in your Weber kettle until its internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes. The internal temperature will continue to rise to the safe temperature of about 165 degrees. The juice will absorb into the meat fibers so it doesn't run away from you when slicing.
Grilling turkey breasts in a Weber kettle is the way to go if you are craving turkey. And if you prefer whole turkeys, the Weber can perform that job equally as well.