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Spatchcock Turkey on PBC, Pics and Graphs.

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    Spatchcock Turkey on PBC, Pics and Graphs.

    I thought I would experiment with a spatchcocked turkey on the PBC and share the results. I hadn't seen anyone try it.

    This was a prep for the holiday season experiment, and produced simply the best cooked turkey I've ever had, and I'm not given to unquantifiable hyperbole. The breast was juicy, legs divine, skin crackling crisp. It was as good as a chicken! The PBC knocked it out of the park.

    The turkey was a frozen 12.5lb store bought cheapo. It had been factory injected / brined. As this was an experiment, I didn't want to spend much money on the meat. I defrosted it and spatchcocked as you would a chicken.

    Just a not of caution, spatchcocking a turkey is the same process, but requires much more brute force and ignorance. Careful knives / shears don't slip. Pulling the breast bone is a battle, no way around it.

    I let it airdry in the fridge for a few hours, smothered in butter (on top not under the skin) and (over) seasoned with something similar to simon and garfunkel, no salt. For gravy and everything else, I used basically the 'ultimate turkey' principles.

    So I did the absolute minimum in preparation.

    I inserted the hooks slightly differently. I used two hooks, and went in under the wing and through into the breast, rather than straight through the breast. I wanted the breast to look good, and this would hide the hook marks. Click image for larger version

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    I lit the PBC using the lighter fluid method. Once ready, I tossed in 2 chunks of cherry and one hickory.

    I didn't do a good job of evening out the coals at the start, and I think that made for a more erratic cook than normal. The graph shows several spikes where tried to lift the temp as it dropped beneath 250. Note the meat temp was measured in the breast. I took it off at 162 or so, allowing some room for carry over. Just letting the PBC do it's thing would probably have been ok, but the temptation to fiddle is just too great.

    Thigh temp was 185 (averaging a range of 183 to 189) and the breast was 163 (averaging a range of 160 to 166). Exactly where you want them to be. I don't know what makes the differential between thigh and breast work so neatly, but it did. Click image for larger version

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    After about 3 hours, this is what it looked like: Click image for larger version

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    And the breast looked like this: Click image for larger version

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    Only a slight smoke ring. However, wonderfully moist - would rival any chicken.

    I took a video of the wings tearing off but it was too large to upload. They came straight off, no problem.

    I obviously overseasoned, but that is the only change that I would make. Give the spatchcocking a go. It really worked well. I prefer it because it avoids the 'cold cavity' problem, allowing much freer flow for air around the bird, heating it faster and lowering the risk of it drying out.

    Hope that helps,

    Matt
    Last edited by mtford72; November 3, 2014, 03:52 PM.

    #2
    Looks really good, I have one thawing in the fridge now, I plan on doing one every weekend to get it right. I thought about a spatchcock version so this is great, the PBC video made it look like the breast would look burned and done way before the thighs. I plan on trying both ways either way.
    Also I like the way you hung it, I wouldn't have thought to do it that way. You mentioned gravy following the Ultimate Turkey article, did you catch the drippings from this somehow?

    Comment


      #3
      Hi John,

      I agree with you on the PBC video, I'm sure it worked but it looked like the breast took a bit of a battering as it faced the coals. It's also the unusual in that they are using far more direct heat than with other meats - hanging minimizes the direct heat because the meat is at 90 degrees to the flame, in their turkey video, it's facing the flame and might as well just be on the rack. (Infact, you could probably just put it on the rack, breast side up and avoid all the hanging hassle and not burn the breast!).

      Speaking to the gravy - I made it separately with the neck, backbone and giblets. It would have been nice to get the drippings, but it was a small price to pay I believe.

      The turkey really was exceptional. Hat off to PBC. I didn't think the smokenator + weber version could be topped. This ran it pretty damn close with a random, cheapo bird.

      Matt

      Comment


        #4
        One other note - the hanging method was a vast improvement on the 'through the breast' technique PBC has on the videos. The wing (shoulder) joint and rib cage connectivity plus the breast meat was more than strong enough to hold the bird. Remember also that the load is now spread along the length of the hook, rather than just on the bend. That takes the load bearing piece from being one inch to 3(?) inches - effectively the force per inch is reduced to one third of the original - making tearing much less of a risk.

        Plus, the entry point and the internal markings are practically completely hidden, so you get nice looking slices from the breast.

        I intend to hang all birds this way in the future.
        Last edited by mtford72; November 3, 2014, 11:22 AM.

        Comment


          #5
          That turkey looks awesome, one of the best if not the best looking one I have seen posted for the Pit Barrel. I can't wait to try one spatchcocked now. Well done MT.

          Comment


          • mtford72
            mtford72 commented
            Editing a comment
            Cheers Deuce! It worked out really well. I highly recommend you give it a go. Matt

          #6
          Very nice. Graph and all. I split all my chickens.

          Comment


          • Jerod Broussard
            Jerod Broussard commented
            Editing a comment
            Wait, you simply just hook under the wing, no meat penetration? If so, neato.

          • mtford72
            mtford72 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi Jerod, I went in under the wing joint, and the hook was driven approximately between the breast and ribcage, parallel to the ribcage. I didn't go through the front of the breast as Noah demonstrates with the chicken. It completely hid the entry point and path of the hook.

          • Jerod Broussard
            Jerod Broussard commented
            Editing a comment
            OK, I think that is how I do it. No breast contact. I go through ribs on the sides.

          #7
          hmmm... hang it on one rebar... then you could do 2 Turkeys at once ... Muahhahaha

          Comment


          • mtford72
            mtford72 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hah! I was actually thinking I would hang in between the two, and maybe get four in a row. The capacity of these PBC's is ridiculous!

          • smarkley
            smarkley commented
            Editing a comment
            Yup... love the capacity of those PBCs!

          #8
          Matt, that looks amazing! I ordered a turkey to do on my new PBC. Can't wait. I think I'll have to try your method. I always do chicken this way, but never thought to do a turkey like this. You mentioned putting butter on the outside only? Not under the skin? I heard some inject a bird with butter.i have the tools to inject but I'm not sure of the best way to inject butter? Jim

          Comment


          • Jerod Broussard
            Jerod Broussard commented
            Editing a comment
            I injected my oven turkeys and had people wanting them for holidays. I inject deep into the breast, then a tad into the wings and drumsticks.

          • mtford72
            mtford72 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi Jim. Thanks for the compliment! With this cook it was just a test, so I didn't bother with injection or getting under the skin.
            I will definitely go under the skin with butter come a proper cook. I've never injected butter, so couldn't comment. A brine injection is pretty straight forward, and is worthwhile, but this turkey had been injected already so not necessary.
            For a crispy skin there are two things that seem to work - air dry and hot fat. Leave the bird a day or two in the fridge and the skin will tighten. Then, smother in a fat (like butter) immediately prior to applying the rub. The fat will effectively fry the skin while cooking.

            Lifting the skin aND buttering underneath is just doubling down on a good thing! The injection can be done at any point. Good luck! Matt

          #9
          OMGoodness: PBC Turkey Love Alert!

          Matt, that is an amazing-looking turkey, done just like I am planning on doing on TurkeyDay--same weight, spatchcocked, hung just like you did (I love your method, BTW). I'm going to do one in the PBC and one on the convection roast setting in my oven (for the traditionalists). I'm so grateful to you for blazing the way! You did a great job with it.

          Tell me about spatchcocking the turkey. I have no problem spatchcocking a chicken, but I nearly killed myself and had a ricocheting turkey on the countertop when I tried it two years ago. After that, I went out and bought a meat cleaver and a rubber mallet for my next turkey spatchcocking encounter. Now I'm thinking that equipment may be a bit too horror movie-ish for me. The You Tube videos make it look so easy. Any tips, tricks?

          Also, why/how did you remove the breast bone? I assume that's what you did by your comment "pulling the breast bone is a battle".

          The guy in this You Tube video just removed the wishbone to make it easier for carving and mashed the breast bone until the turkey was as flat as possible. Gosh, he made it look so easy. That breastbone-mashing step is what did me in when I tried it. I practically had to climb on top of the counter and do one of those World Wide Wrestling types of knee drops on it. It was not a pretty sight.

          I obviously need some good spatchcocking tips. Help!

          Kathryn

          Comment


          • mtford72
            mtford72 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi Kathryn,
            I can imagine that turkey ricocheting around the kitchen!
            What I've found with the turkey:
            1) flip it onto the breast, and loosen the hip joints by pulling the legs back. It seems to make the cut down the backbone (fractionally) easier when passing the joints.
            2) Cut down one side of the spine, using a knife for the easy parts and shears for the tougher ribs, and careful knife cuts around the hips. Cut the easier parts of the other side of the spine with the knife.
            3) Open the bird up, turn onto its back, then cut the other side of the spine with a big knife. You're cutting down onto the board doing it this way, so less chance of glancing off and more force can be applied.
            4) Once the spine is out, neatly trim out the wishbone.
            5) If it's not already, put it breast side down and start a cut from the top center of the breasts to the bone of the breast bone. This doesn't go all the way through the meat, just through the cartilage and the top of the breast bone. With that piece of bone exposed, run your fingers around both sides of the bone and down the breast bone cartilage to the bottom of the breast. This should expose the whole breastbone top to bottom by pushing aside the membrane.
            6) Grip the bone at the top, and pushing down around the bone with the other hand, just pull really, really hard! The whole bone plus the lower cartilage should come clean away. However, this might just require a shining wizard.

            Hope that helps! Really, it is just tougher than a chicken - particularly the hips part and the pull required to get the breastbone out. Try with shears rather than a cleaver and mallet - you can be a lot more accurate with the cuts.

            The nice thing about taking the breast bone out is that carving is so easy afterward. Separating the breasts is as simple as slicing the skin between them.

          • fzxdoc
            fzxdoc commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks, Matt, for the additional information. I may have to leave the breastbone in for the Thanksgiving turkey, since I've never done it. I'd hate to mess it up and have the turkey look like roadkill. I'll practice with chickens before I try it on a turkey.

            And then there's always that shining wizard practice to put on my schedule...

            Kathryn

          #10
          Originally posted by fzxdoc View Post
          ... I practically had to climb on top of the counter and do one of those World Wide Wrestling types of knee drops on it. It was not a pretty sight ...
          LOL, Maybe a 'Shining Wizard' move would have worked?

          Comment


          • fzxdoc
            fzxdoc commented
            Editing a comment
            Now there's a plan! Hahaha. I'd need the full regalia, though, boots, mask or face tats, etc..

            Kathryn
            Last edited by fzxdoc; November 5, 2014, 03:24 PM.

          • smarkley
            smarkley commented
            Editing a comment
            Hahahaha! Shining Wizard... that is great!

          #11
          Hey, Matt, I did 2 chickens with a tri-tip last night on my PBC. I hung those chickens like you did your turkey--worked like a charm. Thanks for that brilliant idea!

          Kathryn

          Comment


            #12
            Did mine today, turned out pretty excellent. I followed MH recipe and spatchcocked and hung very similar to yours. My bird was long so the feet were only a few inches off the coals. When the breast and thighs were done the drumstick was 192.
            I kept the heat over 300 the entire time but the skin didn't get as crisp as I wanted, I think it had a lot to do with its state of thaw.
            Wife didn't like the rub at all, so i'm open to suggestions.

            Comment


            • mtford72
              mtford72 commented
              Editing a comment
              That's a big bird - stretching to the coals! I'm sure the skin was a combination of the thaw and size of the bird. So much moisture. A better thaw, a day in the fridge and a lavish application of butter and it'll crisp up.

            #13
            I still enjoy that PBC All Purpose Rub for chickens, so am tempted to try it on the turkey. My family does not go for a lot of herbs where their poultry is concerned, so I'm dithering about the S&G rub that I used on the turkey the last time I PBC'd one.

            I too would like to hear suggestions.

            John, did you take out the breastbone when you spatchcocked your turkey?

            Kathryn

            Comment


              #14
              I did not, carving wasn't a problem at all. Cutting out that not quite thawed spine was a bear.
              I love that All Purpose Rub and have been meaning to order more, that is a good idea!

              I have to cook one next weekend for my side of the family, then another and a ham for T-Day

              Comment


              • fzxdoc
                fzxdoc commented
                Editing a comment
                I bought the APR from PBC in bulk. It arrived in a plastic bag stuffed into a box the size of a large shoebox, so I transferred the rub to several mason jars. I've got enough to keep me going for a long while, I think.

              • _John_
                _John_ commented
                Editing a comment
                Just ordered the same myself, not sure what it is going in yet. All of my mason jars are full of homemade Kahlua and Amaretto!

              #15
              BTW in response to your comment above... could have done better with a higher quality pic.
              Click image for larger version

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              Comment


              • smarkley
                smarkley commented
                Editing a comment
                Kathryn... I never knew!

              • mtford72
                mtford72 commented
                Editing a comment
                That's quite a trophy cabinet - the wizard clearly unmasked many a luchador!

              • fzxdoc
                fzxdoc commented
                Editing a comment
                OMG this is hilarious, John, in a sort of creepy scary way. I'm laughing so hard I can hardly type this.

                Turkeys be afraid, be very afraid!

                Kathryn

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