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Grill-Roasted Herbed Turkey with Chardonnay Gravy Recipe

Staff Writer
Grill-Roasted Herbed Turkey
Sheri Giblin

Grill-Roasted Herbed Turkey

Cooking your Thanksgiving turkey on the grill in a roasting pan saves your precious oven space for other dishes. Instead of stuffing the bird with the stuffing, I like to stuff the cavity with aromatic herbs, onion, and lemon, baking the stuffing in a separate dish. Pairs well with a spicy Gewürztraminer, or a juicy Zinfandel for red wine fans.

Adapted from "The Winemaker Cooks," by Christine Hanna.

Deliver Ingredients


1 cup unsalted butter

1 bottle Chardonnay

One turkey, 12–15 pounds

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme, plus sprigs for stuffing

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage, plus sprigs for stuffing

2 small onions, halved

1 lemon, halved

Chardonnay Gravy, for serving


Preheat a gas grill/barbecue to medium-high heat, or prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill/barbecue. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the Chardonnay over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and soak a large cheesecloth/muslin in the butter mixture.

Remove the turkey giblets from the turkey and reserve to make stock for the gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out; dry well. In a small bowl, make the paste with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and finely chopped herbs. Rub the outside of the turkey with the herb paste and place it on a rack in a roasting pan/tray, breast side up. Tuck with wing tips under the turkey. Stuff the body cavity with the onion and lemon halves and the herb sprigs.

Drape the soaked cheesecloth/muslin over the breast of the turkey, covering the top portion of the leg as well. Remove the remaining Chardonnay butter for basting.

Place the roasting pan/tray on the grill/barbecue and close the cover. Roast for 30 minutes, then uncover the grill/barbecue and baste the cheesecloth/muslin with the Chardonnay butter mixture, using a pastry brush. If the bottom of the roasting pan/tray is dry, add 1/2 cup water to keep the drippings from burning. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and roast, basting the cheesecloth/muslin every 30 minutes, for another hour and a half. Add a little more water if the bottom of the pan is dry.

Discard the cheesecloth/muslin and baste the turkey with the pan juices. Cover again and roast for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, for a total of 2 3/4–3 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh but not touching bone registers 165 degrees (the turkey will continue to cook as it rests). Transfer the turkey to a carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for at least 20 minutes. Pour the drippings through a fine-mesh sieve into a four-cup glass measure, then skim off the fat and reserve. Reserve the roasting pan/tray for making the gravy. Carve the turkey and serve with Chardonnay Gravy.

Grill Shopping Tip

Think twice before buying a thicker piece of meat; a 2-inch thick steak takes four times (not twice) as long as 1-inch thick steak to cook.

Grill Cooking Tip

If you're cooking something that's been marinated, make sure to pat the item dry before it hits the grill. Any sugar in the marinade will burn.