Grilled apple-brined turkey for Thanksgiving

Our Top 10 Recipes for Thanksgiving Grilling

Morgan Bergren, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet | 11/19/2016 | Grilling, Food and Drink, Tips

At Kalamazoo, we always prefer to grill as much of our Thanksgiving meal as possible. Grilled turkey is juicier, more flavorful, and easier to clean up. Plus, it keeps the oven free for other dishes – although we rarely need the oven, because we grill our sides, stuffing, and desserts, too.

Make this Thanksgiving the most delicious yet with one (or more!) of our top ten favorite Thanksgiving grilling recipes. Want to modify a favorite recipe for the grill? Check out our guide to smoking techniques, a video on spatchcocking turkey for faster cooking, and a guide to trussing a rotisserie turkey.

Grilled Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

Apple-Brined Turkey

This is one of our favorite ways to grill Thanksgiving turkey. After one night in the apple cider brine, the turkey roasts on the grill for 2 ½ to 3 hours while bathing in apple wood smoke. The brine and smoke give the turkey (plus the gravy made from the drippings) a subtle apple flavor that’s perfect for fall. This is a classic grilled turkey recipe that everyone will love.

Rick Bayless’s Brined Turkey with Red Chile Adobo Sauce and Jicama-Cranberry Relish

This brined turkey recipe is easy, versatile, and delicious. For more classic Thanksgiving flavors, you can follow the brining and grill-roasting instructions and then make your own gravy from the drippings. Or replace the standard gravy with Rick Bayless’s red chile adobo sauce and jicama-cranberry relish for a Mexican twist.

Grill-roasted Butterflied Turkey

Need the turkey cooked in a hurry? Butterflying (or spatchcocking) can cut cooking times to just 75-90 minutes for a 12-lb bird. As a bonus, the faster roasting time and higher cooking temperature can help the meat stay tender while the skin gets super crispy.

Grilled Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Mirepoix Gravy for Smoke-Grilled Turkey

This gravy recipe is an incredibly flavorful take on the old classic, and uses grilled turkey drippings to add an extra depth of flavor. Rich, smoky, and satisfying, this simple gravy recipe will be a new favorite at your Thanksgiving table.

Sausage and Cranberry Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Our stuffed sweet potatoes are jam-packed with Thanksgiving flavors and make a great alternative to bread-based stuffing for those that avoid gluten or wheat. If you’re following one of our grilled turkey recipes, you can slip these sweet potatoes right next to the turkey in the same indirect zone of the grill. It doesn’t get easier.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Hearty, comforting, and perfect for Thanksgiving! Put these Brussels sprouts on the grill after you remove the turkey. The fire from the grill will caramelize them beautifully, bringing out some wonderful flavors. They’ll be ready by the time the turkey has rested and been carved. 

Chestnut, Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing

Our twist on classic Thanksgiving stuffing is spicy, bright, and nutty – the perfect accompaniment to grill-roasted turkey. We always cook the whole dish on the grill, but you can also finish cooking this in the oven. As long as you roast the chestnuts on the grill first, you’ll still pick up those incredible grilled flavors.

Grilled Thanksgiving Desserts

Grill-roasted Caramel Apple Pie

This is, hands down, our favorite apple pie recipe. The sweet caramel sauce balances the tartness of the apples, while the spiced pecans on top add a satisfying crunch. We recommend making it the morning of Thanksgiving, or even the night before, to give it plenty of time to rest and cool.

Smoke-roasted Ginger Apples

For a lighter take on Thanksgiving dessert, consider grilling a simple stuffed apple. These are easy to prep ahead of time, and you can grill them for an hour during the main meal. 


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Innovation is at the heart of every Kalamazoo product. Each part of the collection – from grills and pizza ovens to refrigeration and cabinetry – represents a significant departure from the established norm. Our passion for outdoor cooking and our fiercely independent design philosophy drive us to establish new industry benchmarks. Consequently, our list of exclusives and innovations speaks for itself.

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