Classic Thanksgiving Turkey on the Traeger

Classic Thanksgiving Turkey on the Traeger

We love having big meals with all the trimmings during the holidays. Sometimes, I like to stick to classics, like this Thanksgiving Turkey recipe. Cooking it on the grill with just a few delicious spices will give it a tasty flavor and make sure it's moist and juicy to boot.

Making My Classic Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

You don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving Day to cook up a mouthwatering turkey dinner. This dish is simple to make and is a big hit at any family or friend gathering you want to have. Follow along with me as I show you exactly what to do to cook up the best bird you’ve ever tasted. 

The Ingredients

  • 15 lb Butterball Turkey. I picked mine up at Walmart and froze it until I was ready to cook it. 
  • Heath Riles BBQ Chicken Injection & Brine. Mixed with water, this injection will keep my turkey moist while it cooks and add some flavor. 
  • Duck Fat Spray. This spray is one of my favorite binders to help spices stick to the bird.  
  • Water. My injection recipe uses water. 
  • Heath Riles BBQ Garlic Jalapeño Rub. Chock-full of herbs and spices, this rub adds delicious flavor and a touch of heat to anything and everything. 

The Equipment Setup

I cooked this bird on my Traeger Timberline 1300 preheated to 300 degrees F with some Royal Oak Charcoal Pellets to add a delicious smoky taste to the bird. 

The Process for Making My Classic Thanksgiving Turkey

If you’d rather watch me make this recipe, go over to my Youtube channel and fire up the step-by-step video

  • Thaw the bird. Turkeys are big, so I thawed this one in the fridge for 5 days. 
  • Get the turkey readyI took the thawed turkey out of the fridge, placed it on a pan, dried it off, and removed the giblets and the neck out of it. 
  • Mix up the injection. Using water and my Chicken Injection, I combined it into a shaker bottle and shook it up until it was completely mixed. 
  • Inject the turkey. Moving in a grid pattern, I started injecting the mixture into the bird. It didn’t take all the mixture and that’s ok. I patted the excess liquid off the turkey and tucked its wings underneath it so they won’t burn. 
  • Add the spices. I turned the bird over and sprayed it with Duck Fat Spray. It’s a good binder and adds some tastiness to the bird’s crust. Then, I opened up my Garlic Jalapeño Rub and added a medium base layer. Remember, the heavier the coat you use, the spicier it will be. I turned the bird back over and seasoned the other side. 
  • Put the turkey on the grillI placed the bird directly on the grate right in the middle of the grill. I shut the lid and let it cook for 1.5 hours. 
  • Check in on the bird. When I looked in on how the turkey was doing, it had a nice golden-brown color that told me it was doing exactly how I wanted it to. I sprayed it with some more Duck Fat Spray to add some additional moisture and taste to it. I also added my ChefAlarm programmed to 160 degrees F and left the bird to cook for another hour. 
  • Sound the alarm. Hearing the alarm go off, I went to the grill and looked in on the bird. It was hitting about 164 degrees F and was a beautiful sight. It had a crispy, golden crust and smelled out of this world. After spot checking the internal temperature on different parts of the meat, I called the turkey done. 
  • Remove it from the grill. I slid a large grilling spatula under the turkey to remove it from the heat and put it on the pan. 
  • Let it rest. My turkey sat on a pan and rested for about 30 minutes before I sliced into it. This gave it a chance to cool down and for the moisture to soak into the meat real good. 

The Results

I couldn’t wait to get in there and try a bit of this classic recipe. It did NOT disappoint. This turkey was flavorful, moist, and exactly like I hoped it would turn out. I can’t recommend this simple recipe enough if you want to serve your family and friends a delicious, tender turkey dinner over the holidays. Or anytime!

Serving Suggestions for My Classic Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

I typically plan on 6-8 ounces per person. This recipe works well with dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and anything else you like for special dinners. 

Storing It

If you end up with leftovers, and you might because turkeys are big, you can use them for up to 3 days. Simply slice the turkey up, store it in a ziplock back or airtight bowl, and stash them in the fridge. They’re great heated up, on sandwiches, or in soup and chili. 

Equipment and Tools

Traeger Timberline 1300 GrillRoyal Oak Charcoal PelletsHeath Riles BBQ Mixing Shaker BottlePlastic Injection NeedleLarge Aluminum Sheet PanThermoworks Chef AlarmThermoWorks Thermapen ONEThermoworks Silicone ToolsBenchmade Meatcrafter Knife 

Back to blog