We know this summer may look a little different, but when it comes to the season, nothing quite ushers in the warm weather like backyard grilling. No matter your level of experience, we’re helping you get cooking over the coals through Graduate to the Grill, a two-part series featuring expert pitmaster and the Barbecue Hall of Fame’s Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe.

turkey on the grill

In Graduate to the Grill: Part I, we featured the basics of grilling, including selecting the perfect grill for you and what tools you need to have on hand.  Now, it’s time to put those tools to the test in the final exam.  

But before you cue up “Pomp and Circumstance” and flip your tassel, let’s hear from Dr. BBQ on why turkey fits perfectly on the grill.

Why Grill Turkey?

Turkey’s versatility makes it a prime protein option for any cooking method, but Dr. BBQ claims the benefits of grilling your turkey all come down to flavor and taste. Grilling opens up a variety of flavor options from brining to marinades to rubs. Turkey naturally drinks in the spices and ingredients used to season it, so we encourage creativity when it comes to testing flavor profiles. And if you don’t know where to start, Dr. BBQ says you can’t really go wrong – either way you get to eat your mistakes!

Next, you need to choose your cut of meat. Turkey, like other protein, comes in a variety of different cuts that may be preferential depending on what you’re preparing. If you prefer shorter cooking times, try your hand at a breast, tenderloin or thigh, but don’t let longer cooking times intimidate you! Dr. BBQ favors cooking a whole bird because the result gives you the most options (especially when it comes to leftovers). Plus, it’s still a shorter cook time than other popular barbecue meats!

Take it from the pros, there is no perfect process when it comes to the grill, so Dr. BBQ says to “just go for it” and find what works best for you. Even the most seasoned grillmasters make mistakes, so it’s important to be patient and enjoy the delicious experience!

Now, you’re ready to graduate to the grill and make your own delicious grilled turkey. For more grilled turkey recipes, check out ServeTurkey.org.

Here are a few of Dr. BBQ’s turkey recipes to get you started: