Grilled Turkey with Fresh Herbs

The secret to this grilled turkey recipe is brining it overnight to add moisture and flavor and using indirect heat to cook the turkey evenly.
Grilled Turkey with Fresh Herbs Recipe

A delicious way to cook a turkey is on the grill with fresh herbs. The secret to grilled turkey is brining it overnight, adding moisture and flavor, and using indirect heat to cook the turkey evenly. Brining the turkey overnight helps keep the turkey nice and moist, which is really important for grilled or smoked turkeys.

The generic grocery store turkeys we eat these days don’t have a lot of flavor to them, which is why this grilled turkey recipe uses fresh herbs and garlic to create a rub that brings the herbs’ bright, fresh flavors to the turkey.

The key to adding flavor to a turkey is to get the rub under the skin and inside the cavities, otherwise, the flavors can’t get into the meat. Stuffing the turkey with a diced apple adds a nice sweetness to the turkey, helping to keep it juicy.

Stuff both ends of the turkey with the diced apple
Stuffing the turkey with diced apples adds moisture and a little sweetness

When grilling a turkey, make sure to use indirect heat and rotate the turkey regularly to ensure it cooks evenly.

Also, since grill thermometers are notoriously unreliable, we recommend placing an oven thermometer next to the turkey to get a better idea of the actual cooking temperature. We recommend grilling turkeys between 325℉ to 350℉. According to the USDA, turkeys need to be cooked to at least 165℉.

Cooking turkey on the grill is a great way to add flavor and free up oven space
Cooking turkey on the grill is a great way to add flavor and free up oven space

When you take the turkey off the grill, make sure to cover it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving to let it relax and let the turkey reabsorb its juices. If a turkey is carved right after it’s finished cooking, all of the juices will run out onto the cutting board.

This is a great choice if you’re looking for a Thanksgiving turkey recipe. Grilling the turkey helps free up valuable space in the oven for Stuffing and Mac and Cheese and, most importantly, cooks up a turkey with bright herb flavors and a hint of fire from the grill.  Turning what can be a bland dish into something special.

If you’re worried about not having any drippings for gravy, make our Turkey Giblet Gravy.  It’s simple to make and a delicious way to use more of the turkey.

Grilled Turkey with Fresh Herbs Recipe

Grilled Turkey with Fresh Herbs

4.6 from 5 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10 servings


  • 1 10 to 12 lb turkey
  • 1 apple
  • 2 tbsp butter

Herb rub

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp rosemary


  • 6 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sage


  • Brine the turkey overnight in a large pot filled with approximately 6 quarts of water, salt, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, sage and a couple of bay leaves. The pot should be covered and stored in the fridge while the turkey is brining. It’s ok to use dried herbs for the brine. For the herb rub, use fresh herbs whenever possible.
  • Make the herb rub by mincing the garlic, sage, thyme, and rosemary and mixing them with the salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Core and dice the apple.
  • Take the turkey out of the brine, rinse it off, and pat it dry with paper towels. Start by rubbing a couple of tablespoons of butter on the turkey, making sure to get it under the skin and in the cavities. Take the herb rub and using your fingers get it under the skin along the breast and where you can around the legs and inside the bird’s cavities.
  • Stuff both ends of the turkey with the diced apple.
  • Preheat the grill, so the area where the turkey will be cooked is 325℉. Set the turkey on the grill, making sure it’s not over direct heat, and that grill cover is closed. Rotate the turkey every hour to make sure it cooks evenly.
  • The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 165℉. We recommend using a good thermometer and checking the turkey in several places. The turkey will continue to cook while it is resting, so it’s a good idea not to overcook it on the grill.
  • When the turkey has finished cooking, take it off the grill, cover it with foil, and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.


This recipe works for gas or charcoal grills and can be scaled for larger turkeys. To learn more about how your grill cooks food read How to Use the White Bread Test to Grill Better Food.
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