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Thanksgiving Turkey - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Thanksgiving Turkey

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  • Thanksgiving Turkey

    I have seen posts in the past about cooking a turkey in the oven. I thought it would be a good time for all those experts to refresh us on how to cook the perfect bird for the family. I may try to test one this weekend so I don't ruin the family feast a week from Thursday. Any tips?

    Size of bird?
    What type of pan/dish to put it in?
    Breast up or down?
    Temperature?

    Any tips would be helpful.

  • #2
    Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

    Originally posted by Richie View Post
    I have seen posts in the past about cooking a turkey in the oven. I thought it would be a good time for all those experts to refresh us on how to cook the perfect bird for the family. I may try to test one this weekend so I don't ruin the family feast a week from Thursday. Any tips?

    Size of bird?
    What type of pan/dish to put it in?
    Breast up or down?
    Temperature?

    Any tips would be helpful.
    I'm with you Richie.... I'm gonna try it out too. But maybe just a chicken this weekend.
    My thread:
    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...ress-2476.html
    My costs:
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...Xr0fvgxuh4s7Hw
    My pics:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/dawatsonator

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

      We do our turkey for Christmas, so I'll be watching this thread carefully after thanksgiving, to profit from your experiences...

      So, is anyone going to post any tips in advance?
      "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

        This is not specifically WFO related, but there's plenty to inspire you here: Thanksgiving Day - News - Times Topics - The New York Times

        Canadian Thanksgiving was just over a month ago: ordinarily we'd be happy to share, but I'm afraid even the leftovers are gone now
        Un amico degli amici.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

          Just a reminder - today's a week from the big day. The safest way to defrost a turkey is for a week in the fridge, so today's the day to buy, or pick up your freebie, turkey.

          Have you noticed how each year the amount you have to buy at the supermarket to qualify for the "free" turkey has gone up?
          My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

            Originally posted by Alfredo View Post
            ...there's plenty to inspire you here:
            Here's something from the times article:

            To start, I took a page from Barbara Kafka, who in her 1995 book "Roasting: A Simple Art" advocated a two-hour turkey in a 500-degree oven.
            The author doesn't do this because having something that greasy, in that hot of a home oven, for two hours will make a smokey mess, but we outdoor oven folks don't care about that. It's nice to see some validation for at least starting the turkey hot.

            I also like the idea of roasting the turkey upside down on a bed of veggies, to keep the breast cool in relation to the dark meat. This has the side benefit of perhaps keeping the bottom of the pan from burning as when you roast on a rack. You could make a case that gravy (and stuffing) is the only reason to mess with this nasty bird in the first place.
            My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

              Guys,

              I haven't cooked a frozen bird in years. My recommendation would be a fresh turkey. Even in a kitchen oven, it will be done at about 20 minutes per pound. I'd start it high, as Dmun suggests, about 500, then tent with foil for the remaining bake. For years, I've been doing the bird breast side up, covered with cheesecloth that's drizzled with melted butter. Once the cooking starts, you'll have lots of basting juice. Best thing is, you can bake a large hearth bread a day or so early for the stuffing.

              Jim
              "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

                Originally posted by CanuckJim View Post
                Guys,

                Best thing is, you can bake a large hearth bread a day or so early for the stuffing.

                Jim
                Now I have a good excuse to fire up the WFO!

                Thanks Jim!
                My thread:
                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...ress-2476.html
                My costs:
                http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...Xr0fvgxuh4s7Hw
                My pics:
                http://picasaweb.google.com/dawatsonator

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

                  I've never understood or practiced basting.
                  the turkey skin is waterproof so if the goal is to get a nice crispy skin all the liquid does is roll off and stop the browning
                  I rub mine with olive oil, and as per alton brown fashion an aluminum foil tent for the breast portion
                  the turkey goes in for 20 minutes at high heat ,without the tent to get it brown, the tent goes on untill almost the end of cooking
                  I'm a briner and definitely a fresh turkey advocate
                  my special touch is a side of red thai curry sauce, which goes just pefectly with the turkey .
                  it gets used up and the brown gravy gets left over
                  no wood oven yet..just high convection heat , no stuffing inside and 10 minutes/ pound
                  Last edited by pizzaziggy; 11-16-2007, 10:20 AM. Reason: spelling

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                  • #10
                    Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

                    Yes, brine the turkey! Here's how we've done our last few birds - they've been delicious and even the white meat is wonderfully moist. If you can't get maple syrup , I'm sure more brown sugar or perhaps honey would be fine.

                    Maple Brined Turkey
                    Serves 10 to 12 with leftovers

                    • 1 12-to-14 pound turkey
                    • 7 quarts water
                    • 2 cups kosher salt
                    • 1 cup maple sugar or dark brown sugar
                    • 2 cups maple syrup
                    • 1 bunch thyme
                    • 1 bunch sage
                    • 2 quarts ice cubes
                    • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
                    • 4-6 gel ice packs
                    • 3 tablespoons olive oil

                    Rinse turkey inside and out. Set aside while you prepare the brine.
                    Pour water into a large 12-quart soup pot or mixing bowl and stir in the salt and sugar until it is completely dissolved. Stir in the maple syrup. Add ice to cool brine to about 40°F. Place turkey breast side down in cooler just large enough to hold the turkey and pour brine over. Throw in 1/2 bunch of the thyme and 3/4 bunch of the sage, saving the rest for later. Add 4 to 6 large gel ice packs, each sealed in a zip-lock bag. Place cooler in a cool place like a garage or basement. Marinate in the brine for at least 18 hours or up to 24 hours. Brine temperature should not exceed 40°F. If it does, remove the thawed gel ice packs and replace with more frozen ones.
                    Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove turkey from the brine and drain well over a sink. Pat dry and discard brine. Tie legs loosely, and tuck wings under the turkey. Place turkey on a rack set into a large roasting pan. Chop the reserved thyme leaves and sage leaves and combine with the black pepper. Rub turkey all over with the olive oil and then the herb and pepper mixture. Insert bird into the oven and roast for 3 hours.
                    Begin checking internal temperature with an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Remove when it registers 170°F. Cover loosely with foil if browning too quickly.
                    Transfer turkey to a large platter or carving board. Tent loosely with foil. Let stand at least 30 minutes or up to 45 minutes.

                    Sarah

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                    • #11
                      Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

                      Just a PS to my last post - it really should be a fresh bird (they cook faster than ones previously frozen too) for brining but if using frozen, make sure it's fully thawed before brining.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

                        Sarah, I am doing your brine recipe right now. I will actually smoke this turkey as experiment as well. I bought two, the other being traditional way (but then, what is traditional anymore). Will let you know later this week.
                        An excellent pizza is shared with the ones you love!

                        Acoma's Tuscan:
                        http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/a...scan-2862.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

                          So it's headed for the oven soon, if it isn't there already - hope it turns out well.
                          Happy Thanksgiving!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

                            Turkey Report

                            Here's how the turkey went today. Yesterday I built a fire after lunch, a couple of hours before I would normally have done so for pizza. I brought the oven up to white, slowly over the course of the afternoon, and had pizza for dinner at 6. After dinner, I shoveled out the oven, and put the door on, which for the moment is a piece of plywood.

                            At 6 on Thansgiving morning, I built a fire, and kept it going all morning, eventually coming to white again, and dying down to embers at 11. I shoveled the oven out again, put the door on, and went to prepare the turkey.

                            I used a thoroughly thawed frozen turkey, house brand. I stuffed it with seasoned bread stuffing, and put it in the oven at noon. The oven thermometer read about 375 soon after I put it in with the turkey, and with the door closed it ramped up to about 475 within half an hour with the door back on. I used a remote thermometer, inserted lengthwise in the breast. In an hour or so it was pretty well browned, and I put a tent of foil on top to retard further browning. It took about three and a half hours for the thermometer to reach 161. I brought the turkey in and it was, if anything, a little bit too done. While it was sitting waiting for me to make gravy, the built in thermometer popped up, always a bad sign. (Those things must be calibrated by supermarket liability lawyers.)

                            In any event, a fine time was had by all. If nothing else it's nice to have a thanksgiving without a smelly house and a dirty oven.
                            My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Thanksgiving Turkey

                              Sorry if this is so late, but was on vacation since Thanksgiving and just wanted to post my experience with cooking a turkey in the oven. I woke up around 5:00 a.m. Thanksgiving Day and fired up the oven and got the temperature up to about 650 (I think next time I will increase the temperarure to about 750 or so). I then partially shut the door and l went inside to prepare the bird as I waited for the fire to die down.

                              I purchased a fresh 11 lb. bird and elected not to stuff the turkey. Cleaned it well and then cut up onions, celery, and carrots and lined the bottom of my roasting pan. Next, I rubbed the turkey with butter and then some good olive oil. I then minced up some herbs (parsley, garlic, thyme, sage, rosemary) and then rubbed the bird inside and out.

                              Once the fire was completely gone, I fully shut the door and let the temperature stabilize to around 550 - 500 degrees. Once the oven was ready, I pushed all the coals towards the back, covered the turkey with tin foil and placed it in the oven. In the meantime, my mother came over with some foccacia and bread and we started also baking it alongside the turkey.

                              This was my first time baking bread, and I must say it came out very well. I can't wait to trying some more bread here in the next month or so. As for the turkey, I checked the temperature after a couple of hours and I got a reading of around 140 degrees. Since the bird was covered in tin foil, it had hardly browned, but you could tell it was very moist. Once the bird hit 150 degrees, I took the tin foil off and within 20 minutes or less the turkey started browning very nicely. I finally took him out of the oven around 12:15once the guage was between 160 - 165 degrees.

                              My wife had also prepared a turkey in the indoor oven and that was the one we took to her family for what I called Thanksgiving Lunch around 1:00. The bird I had done in the WFO I took to my mother's house for Thanksgiving Dinner at about 6:00 p.m. and I must say the turkey was still moist and very flavorful. Most everyone had two to three helpings. Even my wife agreed we will start cooking out turkey exclusively in the WFO from now on.

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