Once you roast a turkey out of doors—even in the dead of winter—you will become a convert. The meat has a slightly smoky flavor that is hard to resist. We recommend fresh turkey, and preferably one that has been raised naturally. We suggest relatively small turkeys for outdoor grilling—those weighing 16 pounds or more do best in the oven. But 12- or 14-pound birds are spectacular cooked outside, and having the turkey on the grill frees up the oven for other dishes, including the dressing that many feel is essential when serving turkey. It's important to keep the fire relatively cool, which is why we suggest putting an oven thermometer in the grill if yours is not equipped with one. If using a charcoal grill, you will have to add fresh coals to the fire every 45 minutes or so to maintain the heat. Keeping the vents only partially opened helps keep the fire low, too. We found that, as in the oven, the turkey requires very little tending. The drip pan filled with water provides a nice, moist environment that makes it unnecessary to baste the turkey. If you prefer, add chicken broth and wine to the water for a little more flavor. But truth be told, we find this makes very little difference as the overall taste of the bird is that of smokiness.
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 or 3 carrots, coarsley chopped
1 large onions, coarsley chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsley chopped
3 tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
, freshly ground, to taste
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill, arranging coals for indirect cooking. Lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set a drip pan filled halfway with water under the area of the rack where the turkey will sit. Position an oven thermometer inside the grill, cover, and let temperature reach 350°F. The coals should be moderately hot, but will cool down when the turkey cooks.
Rub the turkey inside and out with oil. Season the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with carrots, onion, garlic, parsley, and thyme.
Set the turkey on the rack over the drip pan. Cover and grill for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or for approximately 12 to 15 minutes per pound. Maintain the internal temperature of the grill at 300° to 325°F. Add fresh coals to the fire after about 45 minutes as necessary to maintain a moderate, constant heat. If using a gas grill, adjust the burners to keep the temperature even. The turkey is done when the meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 180°F and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a fork or sharp knife.
Transfer the turkey to a platter or cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Discard the vegetables in the turkey's cavity.