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Grill a Whole Turkey Breast Beer can Style

For thanksgiving this year we decided to grill a whole turkey breast, we have a small family so we can get away with just a breast. The family is also particular about a traditional tasting roast turkey so I assured them that I could pull that off on a gas grill without a problem. So we started with a Honeysuckle brand frozen young turkey breast that was almost 8.5 pounds (cost $14.98).

The Prep:

We thawed the turkey breast in the fridge for 3 days before Thanksgiving. Always check the cavity first, for any left over ice. The morning of we injected it and seasoned it. We do all the prep in a high sided disposable aluminum pan.

grill a whole turkey breast prep

The injection: I took 6 ounces of oil and added a standard poultry seasoning and McCormicks roasted garlic powder and mixed with a fork until the seasoning began to break down. Placed the mixture into the injector and injected the breast in 6 different places.

The Dry Rub: First a we rub a light coating of olive oil on and under the skin of the breast. We used the same poultry seasoning and McCormick’s roasted garlic powder for the outside of the breast. Season heavily, this is one large piece of meat.

At this point we take the seasoned breast cover the tinfoil prep pan and place it back into the refrigerator for a few hours to allow it to absorb the flavors we just added.

We are going to grill a whole turkey breast “beer can style”. I purchased a cheap large tall beer to do this but it turns out all that is needed is a regular beer can and a beer can chicken stand.

grill a whole turkey breast on the grill

Before attempting to grill a whole turkey breast make sure you have enough fuel. It is going to be a long cook,

Preheat the grill:

We set our gas grill up for medium heat indirect grilling with a drip-pan (our grill has a drop in cast iron pan that we use for this but it is a bit to large) we are looking to maintain a 350 to 400 grill hood temperature. We will be using our trusty Maverick ET-73 thermometer to monitor both our grill and food temperatures,so we set that up as well. Using a thermometer like this isn’t necessary it is just makes it a little more convenient to grill a whole turkey breast .

We place the turkey breast on our stand place it onto the grill and add some beer to the drip pan then place the turkey onto the pan insert the food probe take some pic’s, close the lid and walk away. If you’re not using a thermometer that you can monitor from anywhere check it every hour or so at the beginning.

After about an hour and a half I noticed the grill temp rising so I went to check and the drip pan had dried out so I added water to it this time. Our grill is small and the pan is large, this causes the liquid in the pan to boil away, a larger grill or smaller pan would prevent this from happening.

Maverick M Remote Smoker Thermometer [ET-73] - Gray

At the 3 hour mark we go out and add a little more water to the pan. We want it to dry out for the last hour to 45 minutes to crisp up that skin. Our Turkey breast temp is at 117 degrees and should begin to climb rapidly from here. At this point I am guessing we are about an hour away from being finished. This sets the wife in motion heating up rolls and warming the stuffing, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.

At hour 4 our temp is now at 160 degrees and we are almost there about 10 minutes later we hit 165 and when we open the grill the breast falls over, this is why you need to use a beer can chicken stand and not the large beer can we used. So that photo-op was blown.

The end result was a terrific traditional tasting moist and juicy turkey breast. The skin could have been crisper but it was not rubbery at all.




Is a Certified Food Safety Professional, KCBS member and has over 10 years experience in the food service industry.

“I have experienced some of the best food this country has to offer and nothing is better than the food that comes off my grill!”