Happy holidays and welcome to Flawed yet Functional! I am a Type 1 Diabetic using the Autoimmune Protocol to manage my blood sugar levels. The AIP diet is diary, egg, and gluten-free (along with some other “frees”, but those are some of the majors). Butter is usually a mainstay when cooking a turkey, but I’m here to share our awesome grilled turkey that is simple and completely dairy-free! This charcoal grilled turkey is perfect for your next holiday meal!
The holidays are upon us which means decadent, rich family meals are in store. Although food does not need to be the focus at a holiday get-together, it IS possible to make delicious food that is enjoyed by all guests and still follows the AIP guidelines. If you do not have any dietary restrictions, this post will show you how to grill your turkey which is helpful to free up the oven for a holiday gathering.
First, let’s take a look at the tools you’ll need.
Tools for Success
Obviously to grill a turkey, you need a grill! We have a Big Green Egg, but you can cook a turkey on any charcoal grill providing it is large enough. The instructions here will focus on the Big Green Egg or other ceramic style grill set-up. To set up indirect heat cooking on a kettle-type grill, check out this video.
One accessory we’ve purchased for our grill is a ceramic plate setter. This is a triangular shaped ceramic piece that lays below the grill grate with a “plate” in the middle of the grill and three large air holes around the sides.
The plate setters allows for a cook with indirect heat. It can be used for smoking (just add wood on top of the charcoal below) or just indirect grilling, which is what we did for our turkey.
A good leave-in thermometer is invaluable when it comes to grilling and smoking. If you use a thermometer, grilling can be “fix it and forget it.” Almost…obviously you still have to keep an eye on the temperature of the grill itself, but it is so much easier!
We use and love the Smoke leave-in thermometer from ThermoWorks. It uses two probes so you can monitor the grill temperature and the meat temperature simultaneously.
This is not a paid advertisement. I just thought you should know a great thermometer if you need one!
V-Rack or Roasting Rack with Roasting Pan
Lastly, you need a rack to hold the turkey in a roasting pan. Even though you are grilling the turkey, you still want to catch those delicious juices for gravy! Simply place the turkey on the v-rack, set the rack in the roasting pan, and then set the roasting pan directly on the grill grate.
Don’t worry about putting pans in a grill! They will be just fine! It’s the same thing as the oven, a little sootier, but basically the same thing!
The cooking process really isn’t much different than cooking in the oven.
While performing the final steps to get the turkey on the grill, place a zip top bag filled with ice on the breast. This will cool down the breasts more than the legs/thighs/wings so that it takes longer to cook. No more dried out white meat!
We like to smear the skin with a mixture of dried herbs and lard, but in trying to keep this recipe as simple as possible, we skipped that step to show you a fairly plain bird can still be delicious!
Slice one lemon and one apple then place in roasting pan below the turkey. Insert one large sprig of both rosemary and thyme into the cavity of the turkey. Lastly, pour one cup of dry white wine into the roasting pan.
Insert the meat probe into the innermost part of the breast, and the turkey is ready for the grill!
Set the Grill
- Start the charcoal in the grill, enough for several hours of cooking.
- Arrange coals evenly across the bottom of the grill.
- Cover with plate setter.
- Put on grill grate.
- Regulate grill temperature to 325°.
Grill the Turkey
- Put turkey in roasting pan directly on the grill grate.
- Set up grill probe to allow for accurate grill temperature readings.
- Close lid and allow to cook until turkey reaches 165°.
- Monitor the grill temperature to ensure it stays at 325°. Open or close the daisy-wheel at the top of the grill or air vent at the bottom to maintain the temperature.
Allow to Rest
The turkey is so picture perfect coming off the grill, but don’t cut into it just yet! Give the turkey 30 minutes or more to rest and allow the juices to redistribute through the meat. Don’t worry, it won’t get cold in that amount of time! While you wait, make the gravy using the drippings collected during the cook.
Enjoy the Turkey!
Dietary restrictions or not, turkey can be enjoyed by all! Well cooked meat doesn’t need a lot of extra ingredients, as this recipe proves! Leaving out the butter to make a dairy-free turkey will not disappoint anyone at your table. Try making charcoal grilled turkey at your next gathering. Not only will everyone love it, your oven will be available to cook or keep warm all the other dishes!
Charcoal Grilled Turkey
Free up your oven by using the grill to cook your next turkey! This AIP and Paleo recipe is gluten, dairy, and egg free allowing you and all your guests to enjoy turkey this holiday season.
- 16 pound fresh turkey
- 1 recipe Alton Brown’s brine
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 lemon sliced
- 1 apple quartered
- 1 cup dry white wine
Remove the neck and organs from the turkey. Put in refrigerator for gravy. Make one batch of Alton Brown’s turkey brine and soak turkey for 8 to 16 hours.
Light charcoal grill and bring to 325°. Create indirect heat by using a plate setter underneath the grill grate or some other method.
Remove turkey from brine, pat dry, and place on v-rack. Allow to rest, uncovered, in the fridge for 2-6 hours.
Remove turkey from fridge and place a bag of ice on the breast to keep it cool while preparing the pan and turkey for the grill.
Insert fresh rosemary and thyme into the cavity of the turkey. Place apples, lemon, and white wine in the roasting pan under the turkey.
Place meat thermometer in innermost part of the breast. Put the turkey on the grill. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165°. You may need to rotate the turkey halfway through for even browning.
Allow turkey to rest for 30 minutes prior to carving. Keep pan drippings to make gravy.