There are plenty of ways to do Turkey, but one of my favorite ways to do Turkey is “Beer Can” style on the Big Green Egg. It cooks lickety-split and yields moist, super juicy results. No more dried out Turkey again! And if you want to see the full Beer Can Turkey tutorial, check the video embedded below!
If you’ve ever tried Beer can chicken, then beer can turkey is the exact same thing but done with a turkey. You only need a few simple ingredients to make this delicious.
Beer can turkey on the grill is one of the easiest ways to make a Turkey. If you’ve ever tried Beer Can Chicken, doing it with Turkey is pretty much the exact same thing, but with a bigger bird. The beauty of Beef Can Turkey is that it cooks quickly, while also getting infused with moisture from the “beer can” which in turn also helps it cook. And you don’t have to just use beer, you can use wine or other types of liquid to infuse into the bird. But, there’s more to just the liquid so read below so I can guide you in making Beer Can Turkey on your grill!
A note about Beer Can Turkey on the Grill: Beer Can Turkey does well on dome shaped smokers since it is a taller bird so keep this in mind and measure your grill height to make sure the lid to your grill can close once the turkey is placed on the grill.. This recipe was made on the Big Green Egg but it can be adapted to any grill as long as the grill height can fit a turkey so make sure to measure before setting out to do this recipe and/or make sure to get a smaller turkey that is easier to work with and will fit better on the grill for this method.
Equipment Needed for Beer Can Turkey
While chicken can usually stand up with a beer can, a turkey is bigger and needs a more substantial “beer can” to stand up on, which is why you need to buy a grill accessory called the “Sittin’ Turkey”. This will allow the bird to sit upright without falling over on the grill. Sitting Turkey also sells a combo pack– one for turkey and a smaller one for chicken. I highly recommend the sittin’ turkey over using an actual beer can because an actual beer can doesn’t have the weight to keep a chicken or turkey upright.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer yet, RUN, don’t walk to get one. It is IMPERATIVE to know when your food has reached the proper internal temp so you can ensure you don’t over or undercook your meat. This is super important for ALL cooking, not just on your grill. Here are my recommendations for Meat Thermometers:
The Thermapen is the gold standard in instant read thermometers- they will give you a temperature reading in as little as one second depending on which one you buy. The Classic Thermapen is the Chef and food safety standard for Meat thermometers. You can get one for as low as $79 – consider this an investment in being a better cook!
Thermoworks also makes what is called the Thermopop– this has less bells and whistles than the Thermapen but gets the job done under $35 while still delivering a 3 second internal temperature reading.
MEATER Wifi Thermometer
If you are technically inclined and want to monitor your cook in real time on your phone with a Wifi enabled Meat thermometer that will guide you through the cooking process while also notifying you when your meat has reached the proper internal temperature, then the MEATER is for you. Use my code to get a 10% discount!
The Flame Boss (as pictured above)
for adding smoke to your Turkey – I prefer Bourbon Barrel Chips (made from Bourbon Barrels) or fruit wood but use what you like.
makes combining the herbs and butter that much easier but that can also be done with a fork.
Ingredients to Make Beer Can Turkey
- Defrosted “Turkey” – the larger it is the longer it will take to cook. Depending on the size of your smoker, opt for a smaller turkey. I like to order free range antibiotic free turkeys from Crowd Cow.
- Beer or Wine
- Fresh Herbs
- Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub (use code TURKEY for $1 off) or Fresh Herbs for the Compound Butter
How to Make this Beer Can Turkey
Once you have defrosted your turkey, pat it dry. Create a compound butter by either 1) combining fresh herbs, salt, pepper and butter (see full recipe below) OR, combining your favorite BBQ rub with butter. I opt for my Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub – it is great on all the things like chicken, steak, seafood and most definitely TURKEY. Use code TURKEY for $1 off and give it a try. You can even use it as a Cocktail Rimmer!
Create your compound butter by combining your herbs and butter with a stick blender Or your BBQ rub and butter and then use your finger to loosen the skin underneath the bird and put butter underneath the skin to keep it super moist while it cooks. You will repeat this process on the outside of the skin too.
Next, pour beer or wine into the “Sittin Turkey” and add your fresh herbs. You can also add citrus peels to add extra flavor.
Place your bird, cavity side down, on top of the “sittin turkey” place setter.
Fire up your grill to about 350 degrees. You will want to put your bird on indirect heat so you don’t burn the bird while cooking. This means creating a direct and indirect zone on your grill and putting the bird on indirect, simulating cooking in an oven with ambient heat. If using a Big Green Egg you will want to use the conveggtor/place setter. Place the turkey on the grill and let it cook unti the internal temp of the bird reaches 165 internal degrees as read by your meat thermometer.
Other Ways to Cook Your turkey on the Grill
If you don’t want to do Beer Can Turkey on the Grill, try some of my other methods for cooking Turkey on the Grill! You can look for all my Poultry recipes here, my Holiday recipes here, and my Big Green Egg recipes here! I’ve got you covered for ALL THINGS TURKEY!
Did you try this recipe? Drop me a comment below and let me know your thoughts! Don’t forget to follow me on the gram and tag me in your cook!! I love getting feedback from you guys on your cooks!
Beer Can Turkey is a quick and easy way to cook a Turkey on your grill with moist, tender, delicious results!
- 1 medium sized turkey
- 2 sticks of butter
- A large bunch of herbs including rosemary thyme and sage
- 2 tablespoons of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of fresh ground pepper
- 2 oranges for stuffing the cavity and for zest in the compound butter
- 1 can of beer
Equipment you'll need
- a smoker controller or a meat thermometer
- a foil pan to place the turkey on to catch drippings
- a plate setter
- an immersion blender
Put the sticks of butter into a bowl and add grated orange zest and herbs. Use an immersion blender to combine ingredients to make a compound butter.
Take your compound butter and rub it underneath the skin and really get into every nook and cranny that you can. This will infuse the bird with all that herbiness and citrus flavor from this butter and it's really just gonna keep everything moist so it doesn't dry out.
Get the butter everywhere and then we're gonna throw it on our on our sittin’ turkey.
You can't have beer can turkey without beer! I’m using a seasonal pumpkin spice beer which is great if you're if you're doing this recipe around Thanksgiving. You can use whatever you like because you'll have the rest of it to drink while you're cooking the turkey!
Then you're gonna pour this into your sittin’ turkey. The beer is what's going to keep your turkey really moist. Really, what we're doing is steaming this turkey with beer.
I'm using this really cool tool called the Flame Boss. It's going to control the temperature of my smoker so I can go and do other stuff while my turkey’s on. It's also gonna let me know when my turkey’s reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. Essentially, it's like putting my smoker on cruise control so I can go do my side dishes and other stuff while this bird’s a-cooking.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 2.5 hours
- Category: Poultry, Turkey, Thanksgiving Turkey
- Method: Grill
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Beer Can Turkey
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Did you enjoy this video about making Beer Can Turkey on the Big Green Egg?
Check out this post about How to Grill the Perfect Steak using the Reverse Sear method!!