Beer Can Turkey on The Big Green Egg


beer can turkey, sittin turkey steamer, turkey on the big green egg Shelly the beagle is hoping some of this scrumptious turkey makes it into her bowl for dinner….

I’ve done turkey on the egg this way two years in the running and each time it did not dissappoint! In fact, the Turkey turns out so moist and juicy I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way!

That being said, almost everything cooked in the Egg turns out moist and juicy and I’ve done a traditional roasted/smoked turkey in the BGE in years past. However, this cooks faster and is so darn easy that I can’t see myself doing it another way in the future.

I rubbed the turkey with an herbed (rosemary, sage and thyme) compound butter underneath the skin and also outside of the skin to keep everything moist and it added great flavor.

What a beautiful bird!

I did not brine the turkey. Some people swear by brining turkeys but based on the research I have done and talking to Chef Jeanne Pierre, a French trained Chef who runs a cooking school down here in S. Fla, his opinion was that it is not needed. He said he’s done it both ways and he couldn’t tell the difference between the brined and non-brined turkey at the end. These days most turkeys you buy from the grocery store have already been brined in their own saltwater solution before they ever make it to your table. So there you have it, sources say no brining needed!


  • (1) 20 lb Turkey, defrosted
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 3 large bunches of herbs (I used rosemary, sage, thyme)
  • 2 tblsp sea salt (OR more)
  • 2 tblsp fresh ground pepper (Or more)
  • 1 can of dark beer (we used Shocktop Midnight wheat made with Chocolate malt)
  • Assorted fruits/veggies to stuff the cavity of the bird: lemons, oranges, celery, onions
  • wood chunks for smoke (optional)- we used Lemon wood which is very light

Tools Needed:
Turkey setter- we use the “Sittin Turkey Steamer” and it works great, you fill the inside with beer and it holds the Turkey upright. There are other contraptions that will allow you to put a beer can in but I haven’t tried those.


If using a frozen turkey, defrost your turkey. Next, set out your butter so that it can soften. Combine your 2 sticks of butter with half of the herbs and 1 tblsp sea salt and 1 tblsp pepper. The remaining herbs will be used for stuffing into the cavity of the turkey. Combine the butter, herbs and salt and pepper in an immersion blender of food processor until the herbs are chopped finely.

Sometimes you just have to get in and get your hands dirty. Here I am applying the herbed compound butter underneath the skin of the turkey.

Next, wearing gloves, generously rub the butter underneath the skin of the bird in all accessible areas. Some places you will need to make an incision under the skin to losen it. Spread the remaining butter on the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper on the outside of the bird, rubbing it into the skin. Next, stuff the turkey with the remaning herbs and fruits/veggies.

Prepare your Big Green Egg for indirect heat using the platsetter. Get the temp to 300 degrees. Place a drip pan large enough for the turkey

on top of the plate setter. Next, place the sittin turkey onto the drip pan centered into the middle. Pour your beer into the sittin turkey. Next, place your turkey onto the sittin turkey (the sittin turkey goes into the cavity of the bird). Take the wing tips and stretch them behind the bird so they are not sticking out and also cook more evenly. Add your smoking wood at the beginning and be careful not to oversmoke your bird- remember- just a kiss of smoke!

Let the turkey cook for about 4 hours (it takes about an hour per 5 pounds) or until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees in the thickest parts (the breast). While the directions on the sittin’ turkey will tell you it will take longer, this method has cooked the bird quickly each time so be prepared and have your side dishes ready!

This may be the fastest way I know of to cook a 20 lb turkey!

Have you done turkey this way before? What was your experience?

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My focus is on healthy, simple and creative recipes on the grill. I encourage women to learn to grill as it is a great way to create healthy, flavorful dishes without all the fuss and clean up in the kitchen.

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Barry - November 30, 2012 Reply

We’ve done whole turkeys and breasts on the BGE for years, but never with a sitter. Is portion of bird sitting in the grease?
Whether brined or not the BGE is the BEST way to do any bird – close to brainless.
I’m not a chef, but must disagree that you can’t tell a brined from unbrind bird. You only brine fresh birds because they’re not pre-brined. Otherwise it will be too salted. The Hound’s citurs brine is the bomb!

Charlotte pest control - November 30, 2012 Reply

Nice. Someone had a great thanksgiving. I’ve been brining frozen turkeys for years and I had no idea. Thanks and I’ll try the Hound’s Citrus Brine for Thanksgiving.

Eddie Medlin - December 1, 2012 Reply

I have been doing smoked turkeys for several years and love this recipe and will try it next year. Happy Holidays

Greg - December 1, 2012 Reply

Also great on the BGE is a spatchcock turkey. It cooks very fast and evenly.

Chris - December 2, 2012 Reply

Looks like you are violating that poor bird, lol.

Great process, Robyn. I haven’t done a turkey vertically in the Egg. I tend towards spatchcocking a breast or whole turkey on the Egg, but you’re right. The Egg does seem to keep things more juicy!

Put this on Stumbleupon.

Cliff (AKA) Hophead - November 5, 2013 Reply

I have BBQ many beer butt chickens, but never a turkey. My son bought me a XL-BGE for my B- Day this year and LOVE it. I will try this process when Qing the bird this Turkey day. Thanks.BTW my son and I are Homebrew & Hophead.
Happy Holidays from H & H

Robyn - November 10, 2013 Reply

Very nice to virtually “meat” you Cliff. I have also done spatchcocked turkey and that turned out great as well. I will be posting that recipe soon! Let me know how yours turns out!

Lemon Herb Butter Spatchcocked Turkey (In Time for Thanksgiving) | Grill Grrrl Blog: Grill Girl, Big Green Egg Recipes, Healthy Grilling Recipes, Tailgating Recipes, Paleo Recipes - November 19, 2013 Reply

[…] done beer can turkey on the Big Green Egg for the past two years so I was looking to do something different this year for this years […]

Giovanni - November 26, 2013 Reply

Hi Robyn,

Do you leave the turkey “stuffed” with the celery, oranges, etc. in your photo when you put it on the Sittin’ Turkey Steamer or do you remove all these items and place the bird on the steamer? Happy Thanksgiving!

Robyn - November 27, 2013 Reply

Hi Giovanni,

I leave the turkey stuffed with the citrus, herbs etc to help infuse flavor/aromatics into the bird. If you stuff it too full though it makes it hard to fit it on so keep that in mind.

Good luck!

Randy Patterson - November 27, 2013 Reply

Robyn, are you placing the bird rear end down, right?

Robyn - November 30, 2013 Reply

HI Randy, yes the butt goes down onto the sittin turkey (there is also one of these called the sittin chicken that is smaller for chickens).

Libba - October 29, 2014 Reply

We did this method last Thanksgiving and we plan to do it again this year. It was foolproof!! As new BGE owners, we were a little nervous re the outcome. Low and behold, the turkey was so succulent and tasty!! We followed the recipe to the letter and I am so glad we did!! We may experiment with a different beer this time but it will still be a yummy full bodied variety so it shouldn’t make a huge difference. Thank you, my dear, for showing us how to do this!! Gracias!!

Robyn - November 2, 2014 Reply

Hi Libba, I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe. I’ve tried this with various types of beer and it always turned out great. Also, I love how quickly the turkey cooks this way. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving this year. 🙂 Gobble Gobble. 🙂

Ray - November 5, 2014 Reply

Hi Robyn, this sounds great and will be trying it this Thanksgiving. My question is does the Turkey end up cooking in a pan full of juices? I did a chicken with the sittin chicken in a pan one time and the pan filled filled the chicken juice. Now I put the pan on the place setter and the grill on top of that with the sittin chicken on the grill and it works great.


Beer Can Turkey on the Big Green Egg - GrillGirl blog: healthy grilling recipes, big green egg recipes, paleo recipes, low carb recipes, tailgating recipes - November 12, 2014 Reply

[…] moist, super juicy results. No more dried out Turkey again! Check out the accompanying blog post on how to cook Beer Can Turkey on the Big Green Egg for full recipe and […]

Robyn - November 14, 2014 Reply

Hi Ray, the Turkey does end up in about 2 inches of juice at the bottom which is great for gravy. Yes, your method is great. My problem is that with a turkey, if you use the grates the Turkey sometimes hits the top of the grill so if it fits for you, by all means do it. Im sure it would work with a chicken this way, not sure about a turkey. Probably depends on the grill size you are using. 🙂

Scott - November 26, 2014 Reply

Thanks Robyn! I’m going to try this method this year. Do you do anything to the turkey throughout the cooking process or do you just leave it in the Egg until it reaches the temp?

Robyn - December 1, 2014 Reply

Hi Scott,

What is pretty great about this recipe is that you set it and forget it. The only thing I recommend is that you check to make sure the turkey is staying upright. You can see in my accompanying video that the turkey looks a little drunk and started kind of leaning to the side, still turned out great though… 🙂

Libba Heinisch - November 19, 2015 Reply

Robyn, we are doing your turkey again this year. We love it! Do you have any suggestions for making gravy with the drippings? There is so much fat left and we can use them and be fine bit I just thought you might have a special trick where gravy is concerned….

Robyn - November 19, 2015 Reply

Libba, believe it or not I have not done gravy with the drippings. However I think it would be fantastic- I would add some fresh herbs (rosemary), but that’s just me. If you try something let me know what you end up making!

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