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How To Cook Your Thanksgiving Turkey on a Kamado Style Grill

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without a juicy, golden-skinned turkey taking center stage on the table. However, turkey can be a little bit tricky to cook. And if your recipe goes wrong, that golden turkey can turn out bland and dry. This year, make sure the highlight of the meal is tender and moist by cooking it on your kamado-style grill instead! 

Why a Kamado grill? 

Kamado grills have their roots in the clay cooking pots of ancient Asia, only these days they’re made of ceramic. Used with large lump charcoal, the design mimics cooking in a wood oven. With a Kamado Joe®, the ceramic construction is way better at heat control than a steel grill. You can cook something low and slow for hours with only a small amount of charcoal. Or, you can crank up the heat to sear a steak or bake a pizza with a perfect, authentic pizzeria-style crust. To put it simply, a Kamado Joe is both a high-performing grill and cook-anything oven, right on your back deck.

When it comes to cooking a turkey, all these design elements work to help you create a mouthwatering meal. It’s easy to keep the temperature low so you can slow-roast the main course. And the heat circulates under the dome lid, surrounding the turkey, so it cooks evenly and comes out with a ton of flavor. 

Once you cook turkey in a Kamado Joe, you’ll find regular old oven-roasted turkey boring by comparison. 

How do you cook turkey on a Kamado Joe?

Turkey is tricky to cook for two main reasons.

  1. It’s larger than the meats we usually cook. It takes a kitchen oven a long time to bring the center of the bird up to temp. So, by the time the inside is done, the exterior pieces are probably dry. That’s why you may have somehow ended up with both overcooked slices and undercooked slices in the past. 
  2. It takes dark meat longer to cook than white meat. So by the time the dark meat reaches 165°F, the white meat (which is closer to the heat with most cooking methods), is overcooked.  

But there are two simple cooking techniques that you can use to address these problems. First, you could spatchcock the turkey. That just means cutting out the backbone and laying the turkey flat so it can cook more evenly. This takes care of the issue caused by how large the bird is and allows the heat to penetrate throughout the turkey to the dark meat faster.

Simply brine or rub it with spices like normal and cook on your Kamado Joe for about 7-10 minutes per pound. To save the drippings for gravy, you can roast it on a rack over a foil-wrapped sheet pan.

The second method we recommend is to use the JoeTisserie accessory. Your beautiful turkey will be constantly rotating, which will evenly expose all sides of the turkey to the heat. Plus, the rotating will help keep the white meat juicy. Cook for about 10-13 minutes per pound. 

To see recipe videos for both of these methods, plus find other ideas for the big dinner, read this.

Do you need a Kamado Joe so you can cook some next-level turkey of your own? Come see us in Schofield, Rhinelander, Appleton, or Stevens Point! We have incredible options to make your Thanksgiving dinner the talk of the town.

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