We always grill & smoke a large (20-23 lb) turkey for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. We use a Weber GAS grill and have had good luck except for once in a while, we have underdone dark meat, usually where the leg meets the thigh or the thigh meets the body.
I have read about a method that starts the bird upside down then flips it over about 1/3 of the way through the cooking time. I'm willing to try this but I can't figure out how to wrestle the hot turkey from breast side up to breast side down. We use a large cradle type rack that fits into our large Calphalon roasting pan. One would think it's easy but it isn't.
Could one of you talented chefs give us some tips on how to get our turkey done without drying out the white meat and having the dark meat done to the bone. This is the first time in almost 40 years I have been nervous about this dinner. We are have people to dinner that I have never cooked for and need it to please everyone, especially myself since my husband says I'm my toughest critic.

  • Posted by: Westy
  • November 7, 2010


Rachel R. November 8, 2010
Oops, you are using gas. I have also heard of people plopping some water up on the grill and it helping to keep some moist air flowing. Just a thought.
Rachel R. November 8, 2010
There is really no reason to flip the turkey. It cooks evenly and we end up with juicy meat every time. Why make more work for yourself?

I suggest adding a pan of water to the grill if you don't already http://coconutlime.blogspot.com/2010/10/spicy-smoked-turkey.html
Sadassa_Ulna November 7, 2010
[Continued:] That way the legndark meat can get to the proper temp without the breast overcooking.
Sadassa_Ulna November 7, 2010
Harold McGee was interviewed on fresh air (NPR radio) and he spoke about a method I might try. Please listen to the show for the details if this interests you but essentially you take the bird out the fridge and let it warm up a little, but you put ice packs on the breast so that there is a temperature differential at the get go. . . Or at least that is how I understood it. . .
Soozll November 7, 2010
We did this last year and I loved how moist it came out. My husband I I worked together to flip it. First..we made sure the skin wasn't stuck to the V-rack that we used. Next, I covered my oven mits with parchment to use to flip it..I just stapled it right into the mit! We got on each end of the bird and fliped it over. It wasn't too hard! It doesn't make for a pretty Rockwell looking turkey for a photo op, but we carve in the kitchen, so who cares?
Mr_Vittles November 7, 2010
Westy, I have also heard and tried the flip halfway through cooking method and let me tell you, it does not makes lick of a difference. If anything has worked, resting the bird upside down, which causes gravity to pull the juices into the white meat somewhat works. I have a friend who told me about the upside down trick awhile ago and for three years I did it. It turned into a whole production trying to get the beast flipped, and it always tasted exactly the same. We too smoke a 20-25 lbs. turkey and if you just cook it low and slow (five hours) it will come out fine.

If you still want to do this here is how I managed it: it takes two people and those people have to be willing to get burned or at the very least greasy. We took two sets of tongs and put one end through the neck hole and the other through the "other" hole. We then squeezed as tight as possible and using our others hands as support, flipped the beast on its back (imagine a rotisserie). We usually burned our fingers and ripped the skin, so be prepared. Its really not worth it.
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