If yours is like most Georgia homes, a typical holiday gathering means a house full of family and a small kitchen putting out a lot of food. To gain a little elbowroom, take your turkey outside — to your natural gas grill.

Take your turkey outside — to your natural gas grill.

Grilling your holiday bird outside is an easy and fun solution that will allow you to serve up a succulent, great-tasting turkey. It also frees up oven and cooktop space for preparing all the side dishes, breads and pies featured on your holiday menu.

So, let’s get grillin’ with gas!

Prepare Your Turkey

Preparing your turkey for the grill is no different than readying it for the oven. Begin with a completely thawed or fresh bird.

Remove the neck and giblets. Remove and discard excess fat. Rinse the bird inside and out and pat dry.

Season the body cavity with salt and pepper or other seasonings of your choice. Tie the bird’s legs together and twist wing tips under its back. Brush the turkey with salted butter and finish with a rub of salt and pepper or seasonings of your choice.

Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. For deeper flavor, refrigerate the bird overnight.

Better With Butter

Before you slide your bird into the refrigerator, consider this: The only way to ensure a completely juicy turkey is to use a butter injection. You’ll need a flavor injector, which can be purchased at most grocery stores.

The injector is a syringe that has a heavy gauge needle attached to a plunger type tube. There are several holes in the last few inches of the tip of the needle. The holes allow melted butter to be released into the meat of the turkey in all directions.

To make the butter mixture you’ll inject, melt one whole stick of salted butter and mix in one teaspoon of fresh, finely ground black pepper and (optional) one teaspoon of garlic powder.

Draw the butter mixture up into the injector. Inject it into the thickest part of the turkey breast and slowly withdraw the needle while carefully applying pressure to the plunger. Do this at least four or five times in each breast to ensure complete coverage. Reserve enough of the mixture to repeat the process in the thickest area of each leg and thigh.

Fire Up The Grill

A three-burner gas grill works is best for grilling a turkey because the left and right burners can be used to provide indirect heat, while the middle burner remains turned off. Preheat the left- and right-side burners to a temperature of 350–400 degrees F.

Place turkey breast side up in an aluminum drip pan. If the turkey legs are hanging out of the aluminum pan, cover them with a small piece of foil to protect them from the heat.

Position the aluminum pan over the middle, inactive burner. Keep lid closed while grilling.

Allow about 11 to 13 minutes per pound for the turkey to cook.

Cooking Tips

  • The turkey could cook a little quicker than you expect so be sure to use a meat thermometer to check progress at the halfway point and again at three quarters of the way.
  • Check the temperature of the turkey on the innermost part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast.
  • Make sure the turkey is fully cooked to 165 degrees before removing it from the grill.
  • Place the grilled turkey on a platter and loosely tent a piece of aluminum foil over top. Allow it to rest for 20 to 30 percent of the total cooking time before carving.

Once your guests have a bite of your grilled, butter-injected turkey, they’ll be asking for more. It’s likely to become a new holiday tradition in your Georgia home.