Rotisserie Thanksgiving Turkey... or any Occasion!
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 55 mins

A Thanksgiving and Christmas classic... we have 2 suggestions. Try it on the rotisserie, and make sure to eat it more than twice a year. Delicious any time!

Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Canadian, North American
Keyword: rotisserie turkey, turkey
Servings: 8 servings
  • 12 lbs or 5.4 kg turkey
  • 2 gallons or about 8 litres very cold water
  • 2 cups coarse sea salt
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half across the cloves
  • 3 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 15 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tbs whole black peppercorns
Remaining ingredients
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges
  • 1 medium cooking onion, cut in 4 wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled (not sliced)
  • 15 sprigs thyme
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. Brine the turkey 6 to 18 hours before cooking it.

  2. To brine the turkey, pour the water, sugar and salt in a large container, large enough to hold the turkey submerged in the water. Make sure you have space in the fridge to store the container.

  3. Whisk the salt and sugar until dissolved.

  4. Place the turkey in the liquid and add the remaining brining ingredients.

  5. Place a plate or other heavy item on the turkey to ensure the entire turkey stays submersed.

  6. Cover the container and place it in the fridge for 6 to 18 hours.

  7. Connect your rotisserie attachment to the barbecue.

  8. Remove the centre cooking grids/grates from the barbecue.

  9. Centre a drip or roasting pan on the heat covers under the rotisserie, positioning it so it's beneath the centre of where the turkey will be rotating.

  10. Turn on all the barbecue burners and heat on high for about 10 minutes.

  11. Turn off the centre burners, leaving the two end burners on high. Note: our barbecue has 5 burners. We turned off the three centre burners. This creates indirect heat and ensures there are no flareups.

  12. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels, inside and out. Note: Do this in a clean sink to avoid contaminating your countertops with the liquid from the turkey brine.

  13. Place the remaining garlic, thyme, onion and lemon wedges inside the turkey cavity.

  14. Using strong kitchen twine, truss (tie) the turkey very tightly. Here's a great video by Alton Brown that explains how to truss a turkey.

  15. Make sure the first spit fork is tightly secured on the spit. Position it so that once the turkey is on the spit, it's centred on the spit.

  16. Insert the turkey through the spit, wing side opening first, until it reaches the spit fork, and carefully (watch the sharp ends) press it until the turkey is secured to the spit fork.

  17. Insert the second spit fork on the spit, sharp ends toward the turkey and push firmly into the skin until the turkey is secure. The turkey should sit on the spit tightly to avoid wobbling during cooking.

  18. Open the barbecue lid and fit the spit into the rotisserie motor end, and then rest the other end of the spit on the opposite end of the barbecue. Follow your barbecue manufacturer's instructions for this step.

  19. Turn on the rotisserie motor, close the lid and cook at 350 ºF for about 2 hours and 15 minutes. The time may very depending on the size of the turkey. See the notes section for details.

  20. Turn on the back/rotisserie burner and raise the temperature to between 400 ºF and 425 ºF. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. This step will colour the turkey to a beautiful golden colour. A thermometer inserted in the thigh should read 180 ºF. The thermometer should read 170 ºF when inserted in the breast. Do not touch the bone when reading the temperature.

  21. Stop the rotisserie motor and remove the spit.

  22. Loosen and remove the first spit fork.

  23. Slide turkey onto a roasting pan to keep your food prep area clean. 

  24. Tent aluminum foil over the turkey and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

  25. Carve the turkey and serve with your favourite sides. We love to serve our turkey with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing and steamed veggies. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes