This recipe uses the grill like a charcoal-flavored oven, to grill-roast the turkey nice and slowly to retain maximum juiciness.
A simple flavored butter plus the char-roasted flavor of the grill is all you need to create this delicious holiday-worthy meal. The Worcestershire butter helps lacquer the turkey skin to mahogany brown perfection, and imparts a perfectly savory buttery flavor.
How to choose the turkey breast meat for grilling:
Choosing the right meat is pretty crucial, because it affects your final cook time. There are a number of ways “turkey breast” are sold in grocery stores. These include: boneless half breast, whole bone-in breast with some wing and back sections, and boneless whole breast. It’s good to be aware that some meat sold as “boneless breast roast” can actually be made up of several large pieces of turkey breast meat, that are held together with netting. This is definitely not what you want for this recipe, so try to avoid that. I’ve had the most luck buying the bone-in breast with the extra sections, then carefully cutting off the double breast using a boning knife. Note that compared to the cook times in this recipe, bone-in will take longer to cook, and a half breast will have a shorter cook time. In both cases, the turkey should be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165f.
How do you know when to brine your turkey?
This is another REALLY important pro tip! Most turkey breasts are already enhanced with a water, salt and spice solution (essentially a pre-brine) to keep them juicy during cooking. If your turkey is enhanced it will say so on the packaging. In may also say something like “self basting” or “added water”. Just read the declaration at the front carefully, and the ingredients too, and you’ll quickly figure out if your turkey has been enhanced or not. If this is the case, you must skip the brine step. If you brine twice, you will end up with product that has an unpleasant mushy texture and is far too salty.
How important is using a charcoal grill?
Look, I know you might want a recipe that will tell you “hey, if you don’t have a grill, here’s how to make it in your instant pot” or, “it’s totally fine to make this in a propane grill too! Here’s how!”. But the truth is, sometimes the method is key to the final result. And that is certainly true with this recipe. I don’t believe it can be substituted. The point of roasting this on your grill is to get the unmistakable flavor that only comes from charcoal. I use Kingsford original briquets for all my grilling, because I know exactly how hot they will get and how long they will burn for. Consistency is key!
Set your grill up for turkey roasting success:
You’re going to want to set your grill up for two zone cooking. That means, you’re going to put your coals all to one side, creating a hot and a cool zone. You’re going to put a water pan on the indirect side, and this is what the turkey breast will sit above. This is the key to cooking your turkey to a safe internal temperature, AND letting the skin render to golden perfection without overcooking. The water pan also helps keep the cooking chamber nice and moist.
Take the guesswork out of doneness with a quality meat thermometer.
Turkey has a specific safe temperature it needs to be cooked to, which is 165f. Cooking past this temp is what can leave you with dry and pasty-textured meat. Why risk doing that?! The best tool you can own as a meat cook is a quality instant read meat thermometer. I use and recommend the Thermapen. That way, you can monitor the temperature as the turkey gets close to being done, and remove it at exactly the right time.Print