Grilled Turkey with Cranberry BBQ Sauce

Create some much-needed space in your oven for Thanksgiving by grilling the turkey instead!

Total Time:
28 hr 5 min
15 min
25 hr
2 hr 50 min

8 servings

  • Turkey:
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole turkey (12 to 14 pounds)
  • Cranberry BBQ Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for brushing the turkey
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 pound frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo
  • For the turkey: One to two days before cooking, combine the sugar, 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper in a small bowl. Rub this mixture all over the turkey, including under the breast and thigh skin and inside the cavity. Refrigerate uncovered or lightly covered with plastic wrap.

  • For the cranberry bbq sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is very soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and paprika and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Stir in the cranberries, apple juice, ketchup, light brown sugar, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, chipotle pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Simmer until the cranberries start to burst, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and blend until very smooth. Reserve half for serving with the turkey. (You can make this sauce the day before and keep it refrigerated.)

  • Half an hour before cooking, remove the turkey from the refrigerator. Preheat a grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (about 350 degrees F). For gas grills (with 3 or more burners), turn all the burners to medium-high heat; after about 15 minutes turn off one of the middle burners and turn the remaining burners down to medium. For charcoal grills, bank one chimney starter-full of lit and ashed-over charcoal briquettes to one side of the grill. Set up a drip pan on the other side to avoid flare-ups. (Be sure to consult the grill manufacturer's guide for best results.)

  • Pat the turkey very dry with paper towels. Brush the turkey all over with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

  • Place the turkey breast-side up on the indirect side of the grill with the legs facing the hotter side. Cover the grill and roast until almost done (an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh should register around 150 degrees F), 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours. Brush the turkey all over with the cranberry sauce. Cover the grill and continue cooking the turkey until a thermometer registers at least 165 degrees F in the thigh and 155 degrees F in the breast, 15 to 25 minutes more.

  • Let the turkey rest 30 minutes before carving. Serve with the reserved cranberry sauce on the side.

  • Copyright 2016 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.

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