Weeknight Turkey Grilling Ideas


Ray Lampe, Dr. BBQ

Weeknight meals are always a challenge in a busy household but cooking something quick doesn’t mean it can’t be tasty. Here are some tips for getting a great grilled turkey meal on the table when time is tight. 

My number one suggestion for weeknight grilling is to light the grill before you do anything else. Whether you’re using charcoal, gas or pellets your grill is going to need a little warmup time. But if you get that grill lit as soon as you get home, it’ll be ready when you finish petting the dog, checking the mail, and prepping the turkey for the grill.  

So, let’s talk about turkey grilling.

Turkey Tenders

Prep Time: 5-10 min.

Cook Time: 20 min.

Turkey Tenders are a great choice for quick cooking and they’re super versatile. A grilled turkey tender meal takes 5 to 10 minutes to prep and about 20 minutes to grill to an internal temp of 165°. Use a simple Lemon Pepper seasoning, your favorite BBQ rub, or maybe that spicy Creole seasoning to get a variety of different flavors with just a little shake before grilling. If you love to marinate, just do get those tenders soaking in the refrigerator the night before and they’ll be ready for a tasty cook and a quick dinner the next day. And if you like a sticky glaze, well that’s pretty simple too. Just cook those tenders about halfway and then brush them a few times with that glaze. One of my favorites is a simple teriyaki glaze right out of the bottle from the grocery store. What could be easier than that? 

Turkey Burgers

Prep Time: 5 min.

Cook Time: 16-18 min. (20-22 min. from frozen)

Everybody likes turkey burgers for weeknight grilling. I keep the frozen ones in my freezer. Pop them in the refrigerator the night before or even in the morning and they’ll be ready to grill when you get home from work.

Pro tip: You can cook them from fully frozen in a pinch. Just use your instant read thermometer and make sure they finish up at 165° internal temp. Of course, that’s the magic number for all safely cooked and juicy turkey. Swiss cheese, bacon, and tomato on my burger please. Turkey Burgers are easily prepped in 5 minutes and take 16 to 18 minutes to cook if they’re defrosted and only 20-22 minutes if you’re starting them frozen. . 

Turkey Sausage/Hot Dogs

Prep Time: Minimal

Cook Time: 16-18 min.

Turkey sausage makes a great weeknight grilling dinner too. There really is no prep time, they go straight from the package to the grill. Turkey Italian sausage is great on toasted French rolls with a little marinara and green peppers on top. Those take 16-18 minutes to cook to an internal temp of 165°.

And don’t forget about smoked turkey Kielbasa. These are typically fully cooked, so they just need to be browned up and warmed through, and that’ll take about 10 minutes. I like mine with grilled onions and mustard.

Last but surely not least are Turkey Hot Dogs. These are also fully cooked and get warmed through in just 6-8 minutes. They’re easy as can be and extra tasty when you grill them. Turkey chili dogs anyone?  

Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers

Prep Time: 45 min.

Cook Time: 30 min.

If you’re a little more adventurous and don’t mind doing some meal prep ahead of time,  make yourself a batch of Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers and then finish them up on the grill for a little extra smokey flavor and a fast weeknight dinner. You’ll need about 45 minutes of prep ahead time and 30 minutes or so to get them heated through.

Got some leftover turkey? Fire up your backyard griddle and make a tasty turkey hash or some turkey fried rice. It’s bout 12 minutes cook time for each of these. 

The possibilities are many and everybody loves grilled turkey, so I hope I’ve helped inspire some delicious weeknight meals.