Thanksgiving Turkey Cheat Sheet – Safe and Tasty!

The BBQ Dragon Turkey Time Cheat Sheet!

Thanksgiving may be celebrated a bit differently this year due to smaller gatherings but menus will probably remain similar. That means it’s time to start thinking about your Thanksgiving Turkey! Here are some tips on flavor using the BBQ Dragon whether you still get a big bird or a smaller one for fewer people. We figured a quick and easy Turkey Cheat Sheet was needed!

BBQ Dragon Monster Flavor Injector

First, use your BBQ Dragon Monster Flavor Injector to add some amazing flavor using your own marinades! The Injector comes with a MASSIVE two-ounce cylinder for holding plenty of marinade, is made from stainless steel, and features three needles. You’ll see that one is specifically for thinner cuts of meat such as steaks. You’ll want one of the two remaining needles.


One is for thinner marinades and the other is for thicker marinades or marinades with chunky spices or larger particles of seasoning. Fill the cylinder, and slowly work your way around the turkey injecting slowly in small amounts. Remember, go slow so the marinade has time to work in instead of backing out of the hole while you inject. You can expect some fluid to back out but if you go too fast you’ll see the difference with more fluid squirting out.

Seasoning in and Out

Now you can add additional flavor such as sliced fruit and vegetables into the cavity of the turkey. Remember to remove the neck and giblet pack. You can also rub the bird down with some olive oil or melted butter and apply some of your favorite seasonings! Pull the skin back gently in places and work some spices underneath. Some people swear by adding fruit juice such as orange or apple to the cavity as well. Some add some flavored liquid to baking dishes and drip pans.

Your Choice of Cooking

Here’s the great thing about turkey – you can cook inside in the oven, on a smoker, on a covered grill using offset heat or the BBQ Dragon Grilling and Smoking Stone! Regardless of how you cook your bird – there are some quick and easy tips and safety tips to remember!

Turkey Cheat Sheet

Why not go to the source? Butterball is one of the largest producers of turkey and turkey products and they love talking food safety. In fact, you can even call the Butterball turkey hotline for help! Here’s their breakdown on cooking your bird starting with thawing.

Clean Constently

If it touches raw meat, you’ll need to clean it—before and after you prep. Wash all of the following with hot water and soap:

  • Counters
  • Cutting boards
  • Platters and plates
  • Utensils (including the BBQ Dragon meat thermometer)
  • Don’t forget to frequently wash your hands with soap or sanitizer for at least 20 seconds.

Separate from the Start

To prevent cross-contamination, keep your raw turkey products separated from other foods at all times. This includes:

  • Your shopping cart and grocery bags
  • Your refrigerator
  • Anything you use to prepare (counters, cutting boards, utensils, etc.)
  • If you’re preparing turkey stuffing, keep it separated from the turkey until right before you cook. Never stuff a turkey the night before.

Refrigerator Thawing

  • Thaw turkey breast side up, in an unopened wrapper on a tray in the fridge (40 degrees F or below).
  • Allow at least 1 day of thawing for every 4 lbs of turkey.
  • Keep the turkey in original wrapper and place on a tray.
  • Use turkey within 4 days after thawing.

Cold Water Thawing

  • Thaw turkey breast side down, in an unopened wrapper, with enough cold water to cover your turkey completely.
  • Change water every 30 minutes and if turkey cannot be completely covered, rotate every 30 minutes to keep the turkey chilled.
  • Estimate a minimum thawing time of 30 minutes per lb of turkey.

    Cook Completly

    • Cook all turkey products to 165°F, and if you’re preparing a whole turkey, the temperature should reach:
      180° F in the thigh
      170° F in the breast
      165° F in the center of the stuffing


    Author Bio: Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.





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