Rotisserie turkey is the perfect way to cook that holiday meal. Self basted, moist, and tender this is the one of the best ways to cook a turkey, but before starting you have to determine whether the rotisserie kit for the grill can hold the turkey. Most rotisserie kits are designed to hold up to 15 pounds so a larger turkey will bend the rod so that it won't turn. Check with the grill's manufacturer before considering this method.
The next step is to calculate the cooking time. The target temperature for the grill is between 325 to 350 degrees F so the cooking time is 15 to 20 minutes per pound, so do the math first. This will determine the amount of fuel needed and for how long the grill will need to burn. Just as a general guideline and calculated on the safe side, a 12 pound turkey will take 4 hours and a 15 pound turkey will take 5 hours. I do not recommend cooking a turkey larger and 18 to pound on a rotisserie. The weight and size becomes prohibitive as the turkey gets larger. Also, most gas grills can not accommodate too large of a bird
To begin, set up the rotisserie kit on the grill. This is typically an easy operation that requires 10 minutes and a screw driver. Of course, different grills and rotisserie kits have different arrangements, so read the instructions.
Depending on the layout of your grill either remove the center cooking grate (you can remove them all) and place an aluminum pan directly under where the turkey will be. This might be a challenge depending on the design of the burners but you don't need a large pan. Most all of the drippings from the turkey will fall from the widest point of the bird so the pan only needs to be 5 to 6 inches wide. If you can secure a drip pan under the bird you can catch the drippings for gravy. Remember to fill the pan half full of water to prevent the drippings from burning.
Next, comes the preparation of the turkey. Remove the contents from the inside and cut off any loose skin. To increase tenderness and moisture, I suggest that you brine the turkey but this step isn't mandatory. You can also use a turkey marinade. It is also helpful to truss the turkey like you would a chicken to hold it together better on the rotisserie.
To follow this step by step you will need:
- A grill (charcoal or gas)
- The rotisserie kit for your specific model of grill
- Fuel for your grill to run for 4 to 6 hours
- A whole Turkey
- An aluminum pan
- One lemon (or apple, potato, onion or similar item)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- A good Turkey Rub
- A hot pad or fireproof glove