how to bbq thanksgiving turkey

BBQ Turkey – a New Thanksgiving Tradition

Picture this – Everyone is sat down at the Thanksgiving table. The plates that you only use two or three times a year are in perfect position. The kids are set up in the next room over. The bread and butter are already being shared around. Everyone knows what is coming… the same oven roasted turkey they’ve had every year since they were able to hold a fork.

Skip the usual Thanksgiving routine this year and spice up your holiday with barbecue turkey! From sweet, smokey goodness to the best leftover food you can imagine, your BBQ turkey is sure to get the family talking this year. And the best part? Q39 is here to help you with all your BBQ needs this Thanksgiving.

Why BBQ for Thanksgiving?

BBQ is a unique preparation alternative to the classic oven roasted turkey. Take your Thanksgiving to the next level by adding in all the unique barbecue flavors you love! From sweet and spicy sauces to smokey, melt in your mouth goodness, your BBQ turkey will be the star of the holidays. Plus, by grilling your turkey, you can save valuable oven space for all the other essential holiday dishes.

How to BBQ a Turkey

  1. Be sure to thaw your turkey in advance. Place the turkey in a roasting pan in the refrigerator to safely thaw slowly. Allow 24 hours for every five pounds that your turkey weighs.

Q39 Pro Tip: Chef Philip recommends brining your turkey 24 hours before cooking to maximize flavor and maintain juiciness.
Chef Philip’s Turkey Brine Recipe:

  • 1 quart canola oil (or any vegetable oil or salad oil)
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup Q39 Chicken Rub
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Mix together and pour over the turkey in a large pan. Leave overnight. Drain the liquid from the turkey and pat dry with a paper towel before adding your dry rub.

  1. Preheat your grill to 325-350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q39 Pro Tip: Chef Philip recommends you leave your turkey out at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

  1. Season your turkey with your favorite Q39 rub – we recommend our Q39 Chicken Rub for your Thanksgiving turkey.
  2. Place the turkey on the grill, breast side up. Allow your turkey to cook for 2-3 hours until you reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q39 Pro Tip: If using a wood grill, Chef Philip recommends firing Pecan or Cherry wood.

  1. Baste your turkey with your favorite barbecue sauce every 20 minutes during this cooking process. This will ensure the turkey will come out soft, juicy and full of incredible flavor. We recommend using our Q39 Zesty Sauce.
  2. Allowing the turkey to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving. Resting your meat allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, maximizing its flavor and retaining the juice. If you carve your turkey immediately after cooking it, all the juices will run out and your turkey will be dry.
  3. And finally, enjoy the faces of your guests as they try your BBQ Thanksgiving turkey!

Additional Helpful BBQ Turkey Tips

  • If you’re using a charcoal or wood-fire grill, be sure to add more coal and wood as needed to maintain a constant temperature throughout the grilling process.
  • Use a sharp knife when carving your turkey. Dull knives can be dangerous for the chef and can tear the meat rather than slicing it.
  • To ensure that your turkey is cooked through, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The USDA recommends cooking turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thanksgiving BBQ Leftovers

The plates are empty, half the family is asleep on the living room floor, football is on the TV and it’s time to gather the leftovers (if there are any). BBQ is some of the best food to eat the next day. From turkey sliders to smoked turkey ramen, there are so many ways for your family to enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers.

If you are looking for a re-do of the day before, check out our complete guide on BBQ leftovers.

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and gratitude. Show your guests that there is always something new to try with your show-stopping BBQ turkey. Support local this holiday season by guying from local Kansas City vendors, or stop in at one of our two locations to pick up some of our award-winning sauces and rubs for your Thanksgiving turkey.

From all of us at Q39, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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