Start a New Thanksgiving Tradition with Turkey and Trimmings from the Grill, Smoker or Fryer

Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association and the National Turkey Federation Offer Tips for Full-flavored Turkeys

Arlington, VA  (Food News)  Each Thanksgiving, many consumers head outdoors to the grill, smoker or fryer to spice up their holiday meals and enjoy fall’s cooler temperatures which are ideal for outdoor cooking. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), the ease, affordability, extra space in the kitchen, and delicious result make outdoor holiday cooking popular among family chefs.

“With year-round outdoor cooking on the rise, consumers are becoming more adventurous and trying new techniques, gadgets and recipes for Thanksgiving,” said Leslie Wheeler, HPBA Communications Director. “Start a new tradition by cooking all or part of your holiday feasts outside. While the turkey is the heart of the meal, savory side dishes, including vegetables, fruits and desserts, can all be cooked outdoors.”

Consumers agree that there are many reasons they are cooking outdoors during the holidays – and all year round – according to HPBA’s State of the Barbecue Industry report findings. Consumers say they’ll cook outdoors for the:

  • Desire to eat tasty food (58%),
  • Personal satisfaction of making a great meal outside (51%),
  • Convenience (42%)

The National Turkey Federation (NTF) estimates 46 million turkeys will be cooked this holiday season. With grilling, smoking and/or frying the whole turkey or turkey breast continuing to gain popularity, HPBA and NTF offer tips for a delicious meal:

From the Grill (Indirect Grilling)

  • Purchase a turkey that is broad and flat to fit underneath the covered grill top.
  • Make sure there is at least one-inch of space between the turkey and the grill lid.
  • Apply a thin coating of non-stick vegetable cooking oil to the unheated rack and brush the outer surface of the turkey with cooking oil.
  • Do not tie the legs together when grilling a whole bird. The turkey will cook more evenly if hot air circulates to all areas of the bird.
  • Allow for two to three hours of indirect cooking time for an eight to 12 pound turkey and three to four hours for a 12-16 pound turkey.

Smoked Turkey

  • Be sure the smoker reaches an internal temperature of 250 degrees F to 300 degrees F before inserting the turkey.
  • Place the turkey in the smoker with the breast facing up.
  • Make sure there is at least one inch of space between the turkey and the smoker lid.
  • If using a charcoal smoker, add charcoal often to maintain the 250 degrees F to 300 degrees F temperature necessary to produce the hot smoke that cooks the turkey.
  • Smoke the turkey 20 to 30 minutes per pound.

Fried Turkey

  • In addition to frying a whole turkey, turkey breasts, legs and thighs are also ideal for frying.
  • If using an oil fryer, always use a high smoke point frying oil, such as peanut oil. Never allow the cooking oil to exceed 375 degrees F.
  • Always lower the turkey slowly into the hot oil.
  • Allow three to four minutes of fry-time per pound for whole turkeys in an oil fryer and eight to ten minutes per pound in an infrared oil-less fryer.
  • Allow oil to cool completely before removing from pot.

For more tips and recipes, visit HPBA at,, and NTF at,, or

About Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)

The 2,800-member Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), based in Arlington, VA, is the North American industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives, service firms and allied associates for all types of hearth, barbecue and patio appliances, fuels and accessories.  The association provides professional member services and industry support in education, statistics, government relations, marketing, advertising, and consumer education.

About the National Turkey Federation

The National Turkey Federation (NTF) is the national advocate for all segments of the $14 billion turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities that increase demand for its members’ products by protecting and enhancing their ability to profitably provide wholesome, high-quality, nutritious products.

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