How to BBQ Turkey on a Rotisserie

With this BBQ Turkey recipe there's no need to wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas to enjoy your favorite bird.

But it's certainly a great time to impress your family and friends with your grilling expertise!

Depending on the size of your BBQ and the rotisserie you may be restricted to smaller birds, 8 - 12 lbs.

how to bbq rotisserie a turkey

The secret to keeping a turkey (or chicken) so juicy and moist is definitely the overnight spiced salt brine it's soaked in before cooking.

Check out the quick instructions below to learn how to brine a turkey.

The turkey is "stuffed" with lemon, garlic and sage just before it's skewered on the BBQ rotisserie spit for an inside-out flavor infusion.  

› BBQ Turkey Rotisserie

Serves: 6 - 8 (depending on on the size)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 2.5 hours depending on the size

Indirect Heat:
500F for 30 minutes
350F for remainder of cooking time

For best results soak in the turkey brine overnight.

What you'll need:

  • 1 thawed 8 - 12 pound turkey (check on what size your BBQ can accomodate)
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • 6 cloves peeled garlic, left whole
  • 6 leaves fresh sage

For the Turkey Brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock (see tip below)
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries (try a health food store)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

Tip: I use 1 container (150g size) Knorr Vegetable stock mix to make the 1 gallon of vegetable stock (16 cups water plus 150g vegetable stock mix in the gallon)

making turkey brine

Step 1:
In a large stock pot combine the first 6 ingredients of the turkey brine recipe above and bring to a boil over medium high heat to dissolve the solids.

Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until cold.

When ready to use the brine (usually the day before the BBQ) place the turkey, breast side down, in the brine and cover with 1 gallon (16 cups) of heavily iced water.

Make sure the bird is completely immersed in the brine (weigh it down if necessary).

Refrigerate 8 - 16 hours turning the bird over once in the brine during that time.

stuffing turkey with lemons

Step 2:
On the day of cooking remove the turkey from the brine and wash the bird inside and out.

Discard the brine.

Place the lemon pieces inside the cavity of the turkey.

stuffing turkey with garlic

Stuff the garlic cloves inside the cavity with the lemons.

stuffing turkey with sage

Finally, stuff the bird with the fresh sage leaves.

how to put a turkey on a rotisserie

Step 3:
Insert the BBQ rotisserie skewer (also called a spit) through the turkey cavity, insert the stabilizer prongs into the turkey at both ends and fasten to the spit.

Here is more information on how to use a BBQ rotisserie.

Truss the bird by pinning the wings and legs tight to the body so they don't flop about while turning on the rotisserie.

Rub the entire surface of the skin with canola oil.

how to rotisserie cook a turkey

Step 4:
Set up the grill for indirect cooking and place a disposable aluminum pan (or pans) filled with water under the spot where the turkey will be spinning.

Preheat the grill to 500F.

When the grill reaches this temperature install the spit and turkey on the rotisserie motor and begin rotating the bird.

Close the lid. After 30 minutes check on the bird and reduce heat to 350F.

Continue cooking until the internal temperature of the bird in the meatiest piece of the thigh is 170F.

If you have a rear burner try it out during the last hour of cooking to brown the skin even more - but keep an eye on it so the bird doesn't burn.

When the turkey is cooked remove it from the grill and let it rest covered in foil for 10 minutes before carving.


how to rotisserie two turkeys at once

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