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2015 Turkey Day

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    2015 Turkey Day

    As a social experiment, if you're BBQ'ing a turkey please post:

    - Weight of Turkey
    - Short description of brine/rub/injection/prep
    - Estimated average cooking temperature
    - Time on the Q
    - Meat temperature off the Q: Thigh/Breast
    - What you'd do different next time

    Also feel free to suggest, privately please - let's not clutter the thread, other data elements to capture.

    My first of the season today.

    Cooker: Pit Barrel Cooker
    Weight: 16 Pounds
    Prep: Mixed rub (Head Country commercial, I like the salt level and the herb flavors) with oil to rub under the skin, injected with melted butter and rubbed more all over the outside
    Fuel: Kingsford Blue Bag, 1/3 Hickory 2/3 Cherry
    Pit temp: Averaged 330, spiked it to 380 when putting on bird, 310 was the lowest.
    Cook time: 3 Hours
    Temps: Took off at 161 breast, 170 thigh. Rested about 20 minutes while sides finished, temps peaked at 165 breast and 176 thigh.

    Next time I want to spike early, a little higher, and cook a little lower.


    • emil.glatz
      emil.glatz commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks John, this is exactly the type of write up that helps make a good turkey.

    • jecucolo
      jecucolo commented
      Editing a comment
      Did you spatchcocke?

    • _John_
      _John_ commented
      Editing a comment

    I've done 4 turkeys so far this season. Love the spatchcock method; it makes the cook quick and easy.

    Sorry about not following the requested info:

    - Weight of Turkey - 16 lb X 2
    - Short description of brine/rub/injection/prep - Dry brine with salt, seasoned with pepper
    - Estimated average cooking temperature - 330 F
    - Time on the Q - 2.5 hours
    - Meat temperature off the Q: Thigh/Breast - breast = 160
    - What you'd do different next time - use more Mesquite pellets.
    Last edited by KansasDad; December 7, 2015, 04:24 PM.


      Cooker: Weber with SNS
      Fuel: Original Kingsford
      Turkey Weight: Unknown, but mid 20lb'er
      Average Cooking Temperature: 325-ish (hard to tell, more later)
      Time in the cooker: 6 hours (more later)
      Meat temperature off the queue: 150, breast, 160 thigh [Unsafe per the experts over at the FDA]

      It was a challenging day, although the SNS worked great, it does make the cook a lot easier.

      We started by butchering 2 turkeys on Tuesday: 1 white hen, and 1 brown tom. Both turkeys were mid 20 pounders, and very nicely proportioned. We didn't have the feed we wanted to finish so the turkeys were a little smaller than last year, but still a very pleasant size.

      Immediately after butchering, and that whole mess, we place the turkey into a light brine of water, salt, and tons of ice to get that turkey cold. We store them in covered bins in an unheated room off the trailer: cold, clean storage. We keep an eye on the ice to make sure they stay cool. Not much needed this year...

      Thursday I moved the turkeys over to our eating destination. I remind turkey movers, that a bucket full of brine with a turkey is a significant task; now try two buckets. I nearly didn't get the turkeys into the van.

      Thursday night, my brother modified the brine on the turkey we wanted to Q. He used some apple juice, Dave's insanity, salt, and water. We agree that there's no reason to use apple juice or Dave's, except it makes a nice long windy story.

      Friday morning, it was still significantly cold; hovering a tich above 0F. So I took the advice of some of the folks our here and braved Black Friday and Harbor Freight and bought a welding blanket. Turns out HF is not a hot spot on Black Friday! I cut a small slit for the handle of the weber, and a "close" to size whole for the top vent. Lesson learned, cut smaller than you think you'll need as the material stretches quite a bit. I'll have to get my wife to hem it up. We bought an 8x8' blanket and that proved to be a nice size as it covered the weber all the way to the ground.

      We had planned to S&G the bird for the Q, but in my haste I forgot my bag of spice mix. So I ended up with a good amount of pepper as my rub on the outside of the bird: not under the skin. We cut the bird in half, and placed it on the Weber after lighting the SNS with 12 coals: cracked bottom vent, wide open top. Covered with the blanket, and monitored every 15 minutes. Here's where we encountered the second challenge, the outside temp being the first. The bird was big enough that I didn't have a nice place for the air temperature thermometer. I ended up with it in a space between the two halves with about 3/4" of free space around it. It read about 290 all day, but I'd guess that the breast/leg towards the SNS was running a good 325+ by looking at how nicely the skin crisped.

      The bird was done after about 2-2.5 hours. I think I'd be fine taking these off at 145F since I know the butchering process was very clean. But dinner wasn't until 5. So we shut down the Q when the breast hit 145F. The breast temp kept heating up for about another 45 minutes, and in that time the air temp in the Q dropped to about 130F. When the breast peaked at 152F, we moved it to a gas grill with the air temp regulated at 130F. That kept the bird nicely warmed until we were ready to carve. So if you have a turkey done way early, that seems a good way to keep it. (The other bird was done traditionally in the oven. It also finished early and found it's way to the gas grill.)

      Just before carving I did glaze the Q'd turkey, which only helps pieces with skin or where meat was exposed: a bit of maple/ancho glaze. The glaze was received well, but I typically don't serve the turkey skin, so it's mostly a waste. The reason we did it, is we have a couple professional bone chewers, that love the darker bits of meat and gnawing on bones. I do think it added to that experience.

      It was very pleasant having the two birds as a side by side comparison. You could certainly tell which was cooked on the Q, but I wouldn't say that it was "better" just different.

      I need a heated platter to serve the bird on, it cools down too fast with the getting folks seated, prayer said, etc.

      I wouldn't do any brine besides water/salt. [And I think the dry brine fans could skip this entirely. Don't know how you'd get the temp down as quickly after butchering though.]

      I would rub with S&G or whatever your favorite, under the skin.

      Welding blanket at 0F makes it like cooking at 75F~ in MT.

      If glazing, I would add a lot more kick and spice to that.


        Did the Meathead turkey after watching the video before and during the event. Did a little injection of a mixture of olive oil, butter, soy sauce mix. Also basted the turkey hourly with the same brew. Thanks, Meathead, a great experience enjoyed by all. Added drama with over an inch of ice water rain. Anybody who watched the Packers/Bear game knows what the weather was like. The best utensil was the Maverick ET-733. I could keep a close eye on what was going on without getting drenched. The transmitter is weather resistant but I still placed it in a Hefty zip lock freezer bag. The ice water rain made maintaining the bbq temp interesting. I did a full offset cook, coals on the right, turkey and drippings pan on the left. The left side cover of the grill was soaked and dripping, the right side was dry. I pulled out the dripping pan and spread out the coals to finish it off.

        The ET-733 Redi-Check is a dual-probe transmitter/receiver designed for food and oven monitoring from a remote location.


          The pics


          • emil.glatz
            emil.glatz commented
            Editing a comment
            Beautiful bird. Thanks! We need more stories like this.

          - Weight of Turkey: 16+ lbs
          - Short description of brine/rub/injection/prep: Dry rub along with BACON
          - Estimated average cooking temperature: 235
          - Time on the Q: Roughly 4 hours
          - Meat temperature off the Q: Thigh/Breast: 163
          - What you'd do different next time: Not sure

          The turkey that I smoked was one that we raised (a gold breasted bronze) which I had "processed" two days before. As a prep I skinned the bird, removed the Thigh/legs, and butterflied the breast to remove the bone. The day of the smoking I applied a homemade dry rub to all pieces of meat, wrapped and tied the butterflied breast together like a roast and not only wrapped it with bacon but stuffed it with bacon as well (this served to keep the meat moist and tasty).

          The only thing I did different this time is I wet smoked this turkey (using water in my water pan).

          -- Michael --



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