Grilled BBQ Turkey Sandwiches

Grilling season is finally upon us! Well, only intermittently here in New York, where it’s been rainy and cold most days. But still: summer’s a-comin’ and that means we get to grill all the dang time! You might be thinking about hot dogs, burgers and steaks…but I’m talking turkey. Yup, I said TURKEY! And you won’t believe how great it is for summertime meals.

Now, it’s possible you’ve never grilled turkey. This lean, delicious meat is somehow not something we usually associate with BBQ or even summertime. But turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving. It’s super versatile, flavorful, and filling—and a fantastic option for the grill. This summer is the perfect time to #TryTurkey!

Of course, turkey burgers are an easy way to eat this low-fat, nutrient-dense meat. But let’s instead grill the unexpected with my easy and bold Grilled BBQ Turkey Sandwiches, made with turkey tenderloins. These sandwiches are total crowd-pleasers: budget-friendly, super tasty, and sloppy in the best kind of way.

Turkey is naturally low in fat and provides nutrients like iron, zinc and potassium. It’s also packed with lean protein to keep you feeling full longer and to satisfy your appetite for health and fitness. All you fit mamas out there know how great it is to find proteins that are tasty, versatile, and healthful! Turkey is available in a variety of delicious cuts; I chose tenderloin for this recipe because it’s perfect for grilling—and easily found in most supermarkets, right in the poultry section.

Make sure you head over here for loads more fabulous recipes and turkey cooking tips for tenderloin, breast, sausages, and all the delicious cuts of turkey.

yield: 8 sandwiches
  • 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1.5 pounds turkey tenderloin
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 8 potato buns
  • creamy horseradish spread and/or mayonnaise, for spreading
  • bread and butter pickle slices
  • small red onion, sliced paper-thin

In a medium saucepot over medium heat, add the barbecue sauce. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low.

Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to the unheated grill rack to reduce sticking. Then heat grill to medium-high heat (350-400°). 

Season the turkey with salt and pepper. Lightly drizzle some vegetable oil onto the turkey to prevent it from sticking to the grill. When the grill is hot, add the tenderloins, close your grill top, and cook until char marks appear and the turkey is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes per side, or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 165°.
Toss the turkey into the warm barbecue sauce. Let simmer on low until you're ready to serve, so the turkey gets infused with the flavor of the sauce. I let mine simmer in the sauce for over half an hour and it soaked up all the amazing flavor of my favorite sauce.

When you're ready to assemble the sandwiches, slice the turkey tenderloins into ½”-thick medallions.

Spread an even layer of creamy horseradish spread (or mayonnaise for a less spicy option) on the top and bottom of a potato bun, add the turkey slices and some BBQ sauce, some red onion, and a couple bread and butter pickle chips. Don’t skip the horseradish/mayo and pickles—even if they sound weird—I promise that they really put this sandwich over the top!

Top everything with the other half of the potato bun. Then dig in to a bold, healthful, and totally delicious summer meal!

Now tell me: what’s your favorite way to eat turkey, besides a Thanksgiving dinner? Have you ever grilled it?

And don’t forget to check out the Serve Turkey website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed for more delicious and easy recipes!


  1. Love the fact that turkey is so very low in fat... this looks so very delicious ♥

  2. I love turkey! This looks really tasty

  3. Yummmm! This looks and sounds so delicious to me!


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