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1st Turkey for Thanksgiving

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    1st Turkey for Thanksgiving

    I know I'm tardy for this question, but I'm hoping to avoid the problem next time! We hosted Thanksgiving for the first time and I dry rubbed and injected a 18lb turkey and put on my MAK pellet. My grill temp maxed out at 275 degrees (wanted 325) and after 2.5 hours my dot thermometer was going off. I double checked the breast with a thermopen and it was reading 180 and the thigh was @ 150. I left it on for about 30 longer to get the thigh temp up. When I finally did pull it (and let it rest for 45 min) the breasts were dry and the thighs were undercooked. Could I have been getting false temp readings because of the butter injection? I'm really confused on how this bird turned out Thoughts?

    #2
    I have this problem too with the thighs taking longer than the breast when cooking a turkey whole.
    Watched a couple of You Tube vids where Malcom Reed addressed this, his fix was to cover the breast with tin foil to keep the heat off them to let the thighs catch up.
    Its not a pure fix, the breasts are still going to take in heat but it does slow it down.
    Worked pretty good for me, the thighs still weren't where I wanted them but a few mins in the micro wave solved that.
    I've never injected a bird so can't say that was the problem, I wet brine over night when doing turkey.
    Last edited by smokin fool; December 4, 2021, 10:32 AM.

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      #3
      Use a butterball, part it out, spatchcock the beast, cook breast to 155 and hold it there for 15 minutes, legs and thighs to 175. Perfect everytime.

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        #4
        Did you cook it whole? Stuffed? Inside a roasting pan with liquid? Is it possible the breast was in a much higher temp zone than the thighs?

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        • LateNightBBQ
          LateNightBBQ commented
          Editing a comment
          I cooked it whole on a grate above a drip pan with Amazing Rib recipe for gravy. I assume the breasts were in a higher temp zone but it was quite a difference. I guess I will have to spatchcock or at least cook breast faced down first next time?!?

        #5
        Was the bird in a pan? If you used a pan with sides, the sides shielded the thighs and drummers from the heat too much. If you must use a pan, put enough veggies in it to keep the whole bird above the sides, but spatchcocking or cutting up the bird will give you better results although the presentation might not be as nice. I pull chickens at 158°. It takes less than 30 seconds at that temp to kill all the nasties, and the temp will rise a bit anyway. Any higher than 165° greatly increases the chance of dry breasts and I suspect that 180° or higher will result in meat with the moisture content of talcum powder.

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        • RonB
          RonB commented
          Editing a comment
          Stupid vbullitin won't let me edit...

          Try cooking a chicken either spatchcocked or pieced out and pull the breast at 158°.

        • LateNightBBQ
          LateNightBBQ commented
          Editing a comment
          I cooked it whole on a grate above a drip pan with Amazing Rib recipe for gravy. I guess I will have to spatchcock or at least cook breast faced down first next time. I just wanted to do whole bird for the parents who are used to traditional. Not cooking the bird in the oven was hard enough for them!!

        #6
        Looks like you overcooked the breast and the breast area was in a hotter part of the grill. I inject all my turkeys, take the breasts to 160 internal running 350, and the dark meat is 175-ish and just right. I haven't spatchcocked in years. I need the extra room.

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          #7
          One other question beside those about pans and other influences: the MAK should have easily been able to make 325 and hold it. We’re you relying on the controller to report the grill temp or did you have an independent temp probe? I’ll assume the fire pot was clear before you started and that the thermocouple had been cleaned. If not, that could produce unwanted temps and control problems.

          Comment


          • LateNightBBQ
            LateNightBBQ commented
            Editing a comment
            Bird was on a grate above a drip pan. I was relying on the controller to report. I assumed that was accurate?!? I did clean the entire grill including the thermocouple the day before I cooked. I was thinking that it might've needed to change pellets?
            Last edited by LateNightBBQ; December 4, 2021, 02:17 PM.

          • GolfGeezer
            GolfGeezer commented
            Editing a comment
            LateNightBBQ Then I can only suggest using an independent ambient temp probe to see if there is a controller issue. I doubt pellets are the issue as the pellet Boss should feed or reduce pellets as needed to get to 325*. If you were trying for really high temps or a different smoke profile, then maybe pellets could be an issue. 325* should have been easy to get to. 275* is pretty low for poultry - 350*-375* would be a better target to get even results.

          #8
          The only way the breast on an 18 pound bird could get to 180 in 2.5 hours, is if the cooker temp was well above 275. I think the drip/gravy pan probably threw off the ambient sensor and kept the temp at the thighs much lower. Next time leave out the gravy pan. Make the gravy the same as Meathead recommends, just without the drippings. The gravy will still be great.

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