How to Roast a Turkey on a Traeger

Most people choose to cook their turkeys in ovens. By doing this, they are roasting them, which is a method of cooking that utilizes dry heat over a period of time to cook the turkey. Grilling is another method of roasting, as is smoking. If you are cooking on a Traeger grill, you can smoke and grill your turkey, roasting it in your own backyard.

Things You'll Need

  • Trash bag
  • Paper towels
  • Large bowl or roasting pan
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp. black pepper
  • Thermometer
  • Serving platter

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Choose a 15-pound turkey. Defrost a frozen turkey in the refrigerator by placing the bird in a plastic trash bag and leaving it in the refrigerator to thaw for three days.

Remove the giblets after unwrapping the thawed turkey. Wash the turkey under cold running water, and allow the water that collects in the chest cavity to drain. Dry the turkey with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Cut away the excess skin around the neck of the bird, and discard it.

Mix brine in a large bowl or roasting pan. Combine 1 1/2 cups salt, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tsp. garlic salt, 2 tbsp. ground black pepper and enough water to completely submerge the turkey. Mix completely. Add the turkey, and pour in more water if necessary. Place it in the refrigerator, and leave it to brine at least eight hours.

Turn the grill to “High,” and allow it to preheat for 20 minutes before turning it to “Smoke.”

Place the turkey in the center of the grill, breast-side up. Close the door, and allow the turkey to smoke for three to six hours, depending on how much smoke flavor you desire. Monitor the smoking process by checking to make sure the grill is still smoking.

Turn the grill back to “High” to finish roasting the bird. Continue to cook for another one to two hours or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F for the breast and 180 degrees F for the thighs. To test the temperature, insert a meat thermometer into the meat, but do not allow it to touch the bone.

Move the turkey to a serving platter, and allow it sit for 15 minutes before carving so the juices can set in the bird. If you carve sooner, you run the risk of a dry bird.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you choose to cook a larger turkey, you will need to adjust your timings. For thawing, it takes 24 hours per every 5 pounds of turkey. Cooking a larger bird will take approximately an additional 15 minutes per pound.
  • If you are in a pinch and do not have three days to defrost your turkey, fill a sink with cold water, and submerge the turkey in it. Change the water every hour. This method takes about 30 minutes per pound to thaw.
  • You can choose not to presmoke your turkey and just roast it. To do so, cook the turkey on high for 15 minutes per pound.
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