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cvdukes 12-05-2008 05:11 PM

Three Turkeys / Two days
The wife has to supply turkey for her office on Monday...since I wanted to do the Thanksgiving turkey but she wouldn't let me, she's relented and will let me cook the birds in the WFO ... something about not wanting to experiment with our family's meal, but its okay to mess with her workers'

My oven is small... so no way that more than one will fit at a time. So here's my planned schedule. I'll start tomorrow afternoon with the smallest bird --- an 11 pounder. I figure it'll take right around 2 hours based on what I've read on the forum here. Then I'll run a couple loaves of sourdough through and call it a day. Unless I have to make a run to the grocery to find a thawed turkey to replace the one I torched in the WFO

Assuming the first bird goes okay, I be out there Sunday morning re-stoking a fire and by that time the other birds should have thawed... Second bird is 14 pounds so about 2 hours and 45 minutes or so... After that, I have to build back up to temp and do the last bird... its a 16 pounder, so it'll be the real test of how long the oven can retain its heat.

41 pounds of turkey....I'll let everyone know how it all turns out.

Jed 12-05-2008 09:06 PM

Re: Three Turkeys / Two days
And don't forget the pictures!

Good luck with this schedule. It should work fine...

And be sure to test internal temperatures in multiple locations before pulling the bird from the oven, get'er cooked all the way through. One of the comments I remember reading was that it was hard to over cook a bird in a WFO, and my limited experience would confirm that point...


cvdukes 12-06-2008 02:34 PM

Re: Three Turkeys / Two days
2 Attachment(s)
First bird: put in the WFO @ 540 F for ten minutes to sear the outside. Pulled it and covered with foil. Back in, starting temp 480. Left the door cracked open a little. Removed foil after 1 hour, 10 minutes. Oven temp 360. By two hours, temp had dropped to 320 F. Bird temp 180... whoops!... should have checked it earlier.

White meat slightly dried out... but smell is wonderful!.

Restoked oven 10 minutes to get back up to temp for bread.

Tomorrow looks to be alonger day... but think I'll plan for the 14 pounder to go no more than 1 hour 45 minutes before I check it.

n2iko 12-06-2008 05:56 PM

Re: Three Turkeys / Two days
Start the bird breast down for the first hour at high temp. Truss it also to sort of make it the same density.

gjbingham 12-06-2008 10:22 PM

Re: Three Turkeys / Two days
I think I would have baked the bread first then tried a turkey, or three, at lower temps. Hindsight and 20/20 vision excluded, I'm amazed you tried it. I've yet to try a single turkey. I still like complete control of my temps for killing Salmonella, E coli etc. Hope the co-workers are well! :) My hat's off to you!
(kidding of course. Those temps you reached were fur shur well done).
Any comments on the cuisine?

cvdukes 12-08-2008 06:16 PM

Re: Three Turkeys / Two days

Originally Posted by gjbingham (Post 46647)
I think I would have baked the bread first then tried a turkey, or three, at lower temps. G.

I probably should have done it in that order, but my bread wasn't ready to go in that soon. My sourdough starter is like everything else here in the South: a little slow :rolleyes:

cvdukes 12-08-2008 06:19 PM

Re: Three Turkeys / Two days
1 Attachment(s)
Bird 2
Sunday Morning, didn’t get the fire stoked til mid-morning and then built a slow fire. It was nearly noon before the oven was up to full temp.

The 16 pounder ended up thawing first so it got first honors. At least I think it was thawed, but not 100% sure that it was all the way through.

Following n2iko‘s suggestion, I trussed it up pretty tight and put it breast down on the rack. Put in the WFO, door off, at 600 F just to brown the back a little. Covered with foil after 10 minutes, oven temp 530 F, door inserted.
30 minutes later, flipped the bird… er, turned the turkey over, covered with foil, oven temp 420F. Door in. 65 minutes later, removed foil… WFO temp 340 F, bird temp @ 130. Another half hour, WFO temp 315F, Bird 145. This is not starting to look so good…seems I’m losing heat a lot faster than I should, getting in the range that looks to be diminishing returns.
Another 30 minutes, Oven temp down to 310, bird registered 160 in the breast and thighs. Outside not browned too much…
Breasts, legs and thighs nicely juicy…till you cut down to around the hip joint…then the meat was NOT cooked. Hmmm, maybe it wasn’t totally thawed. Carved out the good meat and hit the rest in the microwave.

cvdukes 12-08-2008 06:24 PM

Re: Three Turkeys / Two days
2 Attachment(s)
Bird 3, 14 pounder.
Restoked the fire 40 minutes back to full temp. Pulled the fire from the WFO, except left one small log (the size of a small newspaper roll) and a few coals. By the time I had the bird trussed and racked like before, WFO temp down to 870F. Between the sun and the outside temps starting to dip, and the wife becoming impatient for the third bird… knew I had to hurry things along. Gave the bird 2 minutes uncovered pointing in and then reversed it around in the oven another 3 minutes. Pulled it, foiled and back in with door ajar another 16 minutes…WFO temp 620F. Pulled all the fire from the oven, flipped the bird, foiled and back. Checked the temp 40 minutes, WFO temp 450F. Kept bird under foil another 25 minutes…final WFO temp 360…Bird registering 160 to 170 in the thick meat. Outside a gorgeous brown.
I know I cooked this one too fast but the meat was juicy and cooked fairly through, except for small portion around hip joints and back-bone. This bird hadn’t been fully thawed when it went in , so not surprised at the results. Carved the good meat out… the rest went to the stock pot.

It seems as if the second firing held heat a lot longer even after I pulled the fire completely out of it (the oven was still at 320 this morning). Maybe the 2 pounds difference in the turkeys made the difference but I really think that even though my oven had reached the full-white stage before cooking the first bird on Sunday, I’m not too sure how much heat it actually retained so it cooled fast. So my lesson for next time is to fire the oven for a lot longer before cooking anything that big. Also, I think there is some combination of a few coals that’ll keep my temps around 400 for a longer time. Oh… and thaw the turkeys completely!

Les 12-08-2008 07:03 PM

Re: Three Turkeys / Two days
Man - that sounds like a lot of work. May I suggest one small ostrich. :D

Seriously, looks great!


Jed 12-08-2008 07:08 PM

Re: Three Turkeys / Two days

Thanks for the full blow by blow report on these three birds..

I have had experience with the oven cooling faster on occasion than I would like... I think it has to do with fully saturating the brick with heat - inferno style fire for long enough time.... Yea, the face of the brick might be white, as in a hot brick, but the back of the brick may be something less than 'white' and wick the heat away faster than if the brick was all the way hot...

Anyway, good job on the birds, and the report.


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