Dry-brining and slow roasting over wood chips produces a juicy, deeply flavored bird. Remember to start up to 48 hours before you plan to cook the turkey, seasoning well with kosher salt that flavors all the way down to the bone and produces extraordinarily juicy meat, and to completely thaw the turkey before brining.
For more holiday inspiration, check out our Fried Turkey with Southern Rub, Dry-Brined Roast Turkey, and Basic Roast Turkey.
See our Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving for everything else you need to know.
- Yield: 10 to 12 servings
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 6 hrs, plus 24-48 hrs salting time
- Active: 30 mins
- About 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 (14-pound) turkey, preferably organic and pasture-raised, defrosted if frozen
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
- Between 24 and 48 hours before cooking, rub the kosher salt all over the turkey, under and over the skin and in the cavities. Place it in a roasting pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
- The day you plan to serve the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator about 1 hour before grilling. Using paper towels, dry the turkey inside and out. Rub the softened butter all over the skin.
- Meanwhile, soak 2 cups wood chips in cold water for 30 minutes prior to grilling. Drain and wrap in foil; punch a few holes in the foil.
- Prepare a covered charcoal grill with a medium-heat charcoal fire. (For best results, prepare the coals using a chimney starter. You’ll also probably want to start a second chimney once you dump the first in order to replenish the coals.). On the lower rack of the grill, place a small aluminum foil drip pan in the center and arrange the coals on either side. Add enough water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the pan.
- Put the upper rack of the grill in place and center the turkey, breast side up, on the rack over the drip pan. Cover the grill and partially close the air vents. Cook the turkey until the internal thigh temperature registers 160°F, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Every 30 minutes, check the grill temperature (it should be between 275° and 325°F); you can regulate it by adding more coals, adding more liquid to the drip pan, or opening or closing the vents. Cover the turkey with aluminum foil if it begins to over-brown.
- When the turkey is done, transfer it to a large cutting board or platter and let it rest about 15 minutes before carving.