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Turkey on the grill, didn't go so well

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  • phecksel
    Club Member
    • Jun 2019
    • 20
    • South East MI

    Turkey on the grill, didn't go so well

    18 lb turkey, fully thawed.
    removed the grates, setting the turkey pan with rack right on the flavor bars. Sort of followed the recipe for the gravy.

    Unfortunately, had to use the grill thermometer, which in previous experiences has shown it to be fairly accurate. Shot for 325, had some wild swings trying to get the temperature stabilized. Finally settled on two outside burners just off minimum.

    Also had a smoke tube sitting on the outside flavor bar... more on that later.

    Thermopro meat thermometer was stuck into the center of the breast. Turkey was not stuffed. I was going to pull it off at 165, wife wanted more, we settled on 175. It came off at 178 and rested while everything else was finished up. About 20 minutes. I confirmed the temperature there and in the thigh with a digital fast read thermometer. It matched.

    While it was resting, a lot of "red" juice settled in the cavity. I was not happy with how the dark meat looked. It appeared to be way undercooked. I wouldn't serve the dark meat.

    White meat was absolutely delish. Very moist, and had the right "hint" of smoke.

    All the meat is mixed with left over gravy and will be pressure canned tomorrow. So it will be safe to eat

    Was the dark meat ok, or was I correct to be concerned?

    Smoke tube. I went to put the grill grates back on the grill and tested the open end of the tube and it was warm, not hot, so set it on the side table. going to cover the grill and tested the tube again and it was cold... good, I'll dump the ashes into the grass. Grabbed the closed end and it was still burning hot. Flung it into the yard. Cooled off my {now} blistered fingers, went back out to the yard with a pair of pliers, and then stepped on a hot chunk of still burning wood.

    What did I do wrong?
  • ofelles
    Club Member
    • Jun 2018
    • 2749
    • Brentwood CA
    • LSG large insulated cabinet
      Yoder YS640
      David Klose 20x42 Grill Chef Grill
      Weber Jumbo Joe
      FireBoard controller and PitBull fan
      Thermapen Mk4

    #2
    Kind of sounds like you got up this morning 😃 I hate it when a series of this happen. If memory serves dark meat needs to go to 185 not 165. That's good for the white meat.

    Comment

    • HawkerXP
      Club Member
      • Jul 2016
      • 6551
      • Virginia
      • 2 Weber Performers, 1 kettle, 1 Smoky Joe and a PBC
        Thermopops
        Dot and Chef Alarm with probes
        Slo n Sear
        Cold beer

      #3
      I don't use a gasser. Turkey like chicken dark meat is usually best mid to high 170s. Check calibration of temp unit with the boiling water / ice water test? I also never used a legal smoke tube.

      Comment

      • Donw
        Club Member
        • Jul 2017
        • 3643

        #4
        Boy, what a day! Things can only get better and I’m sure they will.

        Comment

        • mountainsmoker
          Banned Former Member
          • Jun 2019
          • 1815
          • Bryson City, NC

          #5
          If the meat was pointed away from the heat during the cook then the thigh did not get enough heat. I always turn by birds a couple of times to ensure even cooking.

          I must have done 50 turkeys over the past few years. I take them off at white meat at 160 and let them rest for 20-30 minutes. The carry over will take them to a delicious 170 and 165 dark. If you like it more well done take it off later.
          Last edited by mountainsmoker; July 28, 2019, 06:40 PM.

          Comment

          • TheQuietOne
            Club Member
            • Sep 2018
            • 242
            • Oshkosh, WI

            #6
            I have so much better luck quartering a turkey before i put it on the grill or in the smoker. The presentation isn't as nice, but I can get every part to perfect temperature without fail.

            Comment

            • RonB
              Club Member
              • Apr 2016
              • 13841
              • Near Richmond VA
              • Weber Performer Deluxe
                SNS
                Pizza insert
                Rotisserie
                Smokenator 1000
                Cookshack Smokette Elite
                2 Thermapens
                Chefalarm
                Dot
                lots of probes.
                CyberQ

              #7
              Some days...

              The smoke tube burns from one end to the other. You must have touched the end where it was lit the first time. The last time you obviously touched the hot end. And I don't Q barefooted....

              Comment

              • LA Pork Butt
                Charter Member
                • Dec 2014
                • 5781
                • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

                #8

                I have limited experience cooking turkey, but it does sound like the dark meat was under cooked. That is the hard part about cooking a turkey. If my memory serves me correctly the dark meant needs to be cooked 10 degrees higher than the white meat. One trick is place baggies filled with ice on the breast beforevyou start the cook to help even things out. I believe the info is in the ThermoWorks site.

                this link will give you everything you need to know about preparing and cooking a turkey. https://blog.thermoworks.com/turkey/turkey-temps/
                Last edited by LA Pork Butt; July 28, 2019, 06:57 PM.

                Comment

                • phecksel
                  Club Member
                  • Jun 2019
                  • 20
                  • South East MI

                  #9
                  Originally posted by RonB View Post
                  Some days...

                  The smoke tube burns from one end to the other. You must have touched the end where it was lit the first time. The last time you obviously touched the hot end. And I don't Q barefooted....
                  obviously Wanted to dump the ashes out.

                  Barefoot is great. Not wearing any clothes is better, but the neighbors complain too much

                  Comment


                  • RonB
                    RonB commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I suggest that you not fry bacon naked - inside or outside...
                • phecksel
                  Club Member
                  • Jun 2019
                  • 20
                  • South East MI

                  #10
                  Originally posted by LA Pork Butt View Post
                  this link will give you everything you need to know about preparing and cooking a turkey. https://blog.thermoworks.com/turkey/turkey-temps/
                  I'm wondering if maybe it wasn't completely thawed, maybe the bottom was still frozen. I wanted to stick it in a tub with a sous vide... maybe I should have. It felt thawed, however, there were some ice crystals inside the cavity.

                  Comment


                  • LA Pork Butt
                    LA Pork Butt commented
                    Editing a comment
                    phecksel I have had that happen on a few Boston Butts when I didn't let them defrost in the frig for a full week. So, that is probably a good guess in the turkey

                  • mountainsmoker
                    mountainsmoker commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yep it wasn't totally defrosted if you had ice crystals inside the cavity. The inner thighs are usually the last to defrost
                • synodog
                  Club Member
                  • Mar 2018
                  • 161
                  • Chandler, AZ
                  • synodog or marcosamine

                  #11
                  The first few times I’ve smoked turkey, partially frozen parts of the turkey were the downfall. Lately I’ve been spatchcocking them but the last time I also removed the legs so the breast could get pulled off at 160-165 and leave the legs until 180-185. I’ve been most happy going this route.

                  Comment

                  • gdsim1
                    Club Member
                    • Jan 2017
                    • 183
                    • KC MO
                    • Tryin' not to light my beard on fire east of KC MO. Pit Barrel Cooker for smokin', Char-Griller for grillin' and the cutest little no-name instant read thermometer you've ever seen to keep me from screwin' up!

                    #12
                    Oh man, we’ve ALL been there and had one of those days... anyone who says they haven’t is either lying, or they got exceptionally lucky on the one and only cook they’ve ever done.

                    You may may not want to hear this right now, but you need to - the cook wasn’t a total loss. You learned some stuff, and learning is never a bad thing. The turkey may not have come out, but the mistakes you made aren’t likely to be repeated in the future. That’ll make you AND the food you make better going forward.

                    And it could’ve been worse... playing around a grill barefoot isn’t the best idea... but if you HAD been grilling nekkid, instead of blistered fingers and a burnt tootsie, you could’ve burnt...

                    I’ll just leave that thought right there. 😂😂😂

                    Comment

                    • gdsim1
                      Club Member
                      • Jan 2017
                      • 183
                      • KC MO
                      • Tryin' not to light my beard on fire east of KC MO. Pit Barrel Cooker for smokin', Char-Griller for grillin' and the cutest little no-name instant read thermometer you've ever seen to keep me from screwin' up!

                      #13
                      Also, you were smart... can you imagine if this would’ve been a holiday bird? 😱 Better to have this learning moment now, instead of when the entire clan is waiting around the table.

                      I got a $20 spot right now says you nail the thanksgiving turkey! 👍

                      Comment

                      • mountainsmoker
                        Banned Former Member
                        • Jun 2019
                        • 1815
                        • Bryson City, NC

                        #14
                        Yep it wasn't completely thawed. The ice crystals are a dead give away. I caught it before I started getting the grill ready. I put it in a pan and ran water into the butt and with the neck sealed it created a circulation with cold water. After an hour it was thawed. It is like letting it sit on the counter for a but cooler. Since I found mine I defrost it 5days instead of 4.

                        Comment


                        • smokin fool
                          smokin fool commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Agree on the defrost, I defrost mine up to a week before the cook.
                          Never had a problem with dark meat but there are times when cutting when you get near the wing bones it doesn't look properly cooked.
                          A few moments in the microwave for that meat to make sure its done and its on the table.
                          Last edited by smokin fool; July 29, 2019, 05:38 AM.
                      • Nuke em
                        Club Member
                        • Jun 2016
                        • 757
                        • Nj

                        #15
                        Another idea that was mentioned is to spatchcock the bird. Since I started to do it that way, my turkey cooking game has improved to just about perfection. (And nothing is 100 percent perfect in my world).

                        Comment


                        • Murdy
                          Murdy commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I did that with a chicken that wasn't completely thawed yesterday. Spatchcock, run under cold water for a while. Came out fine.

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                      We've unfortunately had to cancel the 2021 Meat-Up in Memphis. We are rescheduling for March 18-20, 2022. More details and re-booking info coming soon! For now click here for more info.
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