Indirect-Grilling Poultry

Indirect grilling times and temperatures for game, turkey, and chicken.

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Test for medium heat above the drip pan.

If desired, remove skin from poultry. Rinse whole birds; pat dry. For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above the pan. Place unstuffed poultry, breast side up, grill rack over drip pan. Cover and grill for the time given below or until the proper temperature is reached and meat is no longer pink, adding more charcoal to maintain heat as necessary. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Grill as above.) For large poultry cuts and whole birds, we suggest placing the poultry on a rack in a roasting pan and omitting the drip pan.

Test for doneness using a meat thermometer (use an instant-read thermometer to test smaller portions). For whole birds, insert thermometer into the center of the inside thigh muscle, not touching bone. Thermometer should register 180 degrees F, except in breast meat when thermometer should register 170 degrees F. Poultry should be tender and no longer pink. (Birds vary in size and shape. Use these times as general guides.)

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Type of Bird Weight Grilling Temperatures Approximate Indirect-Grilling Time Doneness
Chicken
Chicken, whole 2-1/2 to 3 pounds Medium 1 to 1-1/4 hours 180 degrees F
Chicken, whole 3-1/2 to 4 pounds Medium 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 hours 180 degrees F
Chicken, whole 4-1/2 to 5 pounds Medium 1-3/4 to 2 hours 180 degrees F
Chicken breast half, skinned and boned 4 to 5 ounces Medium 15 to 18 minutes 170 degrees F
Chicken, broiler-fryer, half 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds Medium 1 to 1-1/4 hours 180 degrees F
Chicken, broiler-fryer, quarters 12 to 14 ounces each Medium 50 to 60 minutes 180 degrees F
Chicken thigh, skinned and boned 4 to 5 ounces Medium 15 to 18 minutes 180 degrees F
Meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks) 2-1/2 to 3 pounds total Medium 50 to 60 minutes 180 degrees F
Game
Cornish game hen, whole 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds Medium 50 to 60 minutes 180 degrees F
Pheasant, whole 2 to 3 pounds Medium 1 to 1-1/2 hours 180 degrees F
Quail, semiboneless 3 to 4 ounces Medium 15 to 20 minutes 180 degrees F
Squab 12 to 16 ounces Medium 3/4 to 1 hour 180 degrees F
Turkey
Turkey, whole 6 to 8 pounds Medium 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours 180 degrees F
Turkey, whole 8 to 12 pounds Medium 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours 180 degrees F
Turkey, whole 12 to 16 pounds Medium 3 to 4 hours 180 degrees F
Turkey breast, half 2 to 2-1/2 pounds Medium 1-1/4 to 2 hours 170 degrees F
Turkey breast, whole 4 to 6 pounds Medium 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours 170 degrees F
Turkey breast, whole 6 to 8 pounds Medium 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours 170 degrees F
Turkey breast tenderloin steak 4 to 6 ounces Medium 3/4 to 1-1/4 hours 170 degrees F
Turkey drumstick 1/2 to 1 pound Medium 25 to 30 minutes 180 degrees F
Turkey tenderloin 8 to 10 ounces (3/4 to 1 inch thick) Medium 25 to 30 minutes 170 degrees F
Turkey thigh 1 to 1-1/2 pounds Medium 50 to 60 minutes 180 degrees F
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