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  #11  
Old 11-23-2012, 08:41 AM
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Default Re: Thanksgiving turkey question

For the past two years I've fired mine up Wednesday night, closed it up with a pretty good fire going (my oven isn't quite air tight, so the coals continue to burn) and left it overnight. Removed the coals first thing in the morning, and the oven was at about 425 when it was time to roast the 23 lb bird at noon. Worked great - this year was the best turkey we've ever made. We "deconstruct" the turkey per Julie and Jacques Cooking at Home.

Roasted the beets and Brussels sprouts while the bird was cooking, baked the rolls after it came out.

Cooked the pies in the morning in the kitchen ovens; wanted them done before hand and the WFO would have been too hot. It would have been just right when we took out the turkey, but things get pretty busy once the bird comes out.

The kitchen, where we congregate while entertaining, stayed much cooler and more comfortable than in the old days when we had four ovens going.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Karl
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  #12  
Old 11-23-2012, 09:02 AM
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Default Re: Thanksgiving turkey question

Karl,

You cooked at 425 - how many pounds per hour. I was at 498 and I cooked an 18 pound turkey in a little less than 3 hours. The problem I had was the color, I pulled the foil off about an hour before it was done and had to but it back on because parts of the bird was getting too dark. The pic that Ken posted looks like it may have been pho-shopped The thing is perfect....
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  #13  
Old 11-23-2012, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: Thanksgiving turkey question

As I said, I "deconstructed" the turkey (20 lbs) per Julia and Jacques. This involved removing the backbone, the wishbone, and the legs. The legs are stuffed. The deconstructed bird is laid on a bed of stuffing. One result of the process is that the cooking is speeded up quite a bit. I cooked the main bird 2:15 and the stuffed legs 2:00. The legs were roasted skin side down for the first 1:15 and then skin side up for the remaining 0:45 and browned beautifully. The main bird was browned very nicely as well.

Note that I left the bird and legs sit, covered, for 0:45 after taking them out of the oven and before carving. Final internal temp of the breast was about 160 f.

Karl
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  #14  
Old 11-27-2013, 08:18 AM
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Default Re: Thanksgiving turkey question

I am going to give this a shot, thanks for the posts. Does this sound accurate recapping prior experience?
1. 500 degrees for floor temp.
2. Cook with door off and no fire burning.
3. Cover with cheesecloth and foil.
4. Look for a final internal temp of 160 f.
5. Pray to oven gods.
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  #15  
Old 11-27-2013, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: Thanksgiving turkey question

I find every reference to roasting turkeys done at fairly hot temperatures. I am a firm believer in very slow roasting of the big birds. Does anyone else take this route?

My routine is to build a short but hot fire the night before, and just as the oven clears I close the door. By morning the heat has saturated, and I have at most a 300 degree oven, with a few hardwood embers. The birds (20+ lbs) go in early, and get a little smoke and color during maybe the first 1/2 hour. By dinnertime they are tender and super juicy, just like when using a 225 degree smoker. Smoke flavor can be negated by avoiding or removing the embers.

The reason I say "birds" is that I roast 2 or 3 because otherwise everyone fights for the leftovers. The obvious disadvantage is that the oven is too cool for baking stuffing or other dishes, but on the other hand, the indoor oven is completely freed-up!
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  #16  
Old 11-27-2013, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: Thanksgiving turkey question

Is it just me, or does 500 degrees seem higher than needed for a turkey? Most recipes I have seen call for 325-350 degree ovens. You want the bird to be about 175-ish internal temp. Why 500 degrees?
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:13 PM
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Default Re: Thanksgiving turkey question

Hey Deejay, my point exactly. Water boils at 212F, and if you blast your turkey at 500 (or even 325-350 like most instructions), the breast has a good chance to be dry on a large bird because the window of time is so small between perfect and jerky. If you slow cook, there is no need to brine, baste, or inject liquids. It is nearly impossible to screw it up, unless you don't allow enough time for it to finish.

The opposite extreme is seared steak, where I like to see 1100 degrees for as little as 70 seconds per side!
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  #18  
Old 11-27-2013, 03:24 PM
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Default Re: Thanksgiving turkey question

Quote:
Originally Posted by deejayoh View Post
Is it just me, or does 500 degrees seem higher than needed for a turkey? Most recipes I have seen call for 325-350 degree ovens. You want the bird to be about 175-ish internal temp. Why 500 degrees?
We had this discussion 1 or 2 years ago, 500 deg. came from somewhere. You would think that it is WAY too hot but it isn't - the bird came out pretty good (always room for improvement). As mentioned in the other thread, I am shooting for 450 this year - stay tuned. In regard to internal temp, I want 160 to 165 in the breast. I know the meat police say it should be higher but I haven't poisoned myself yet
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: Thanksgiving turkey question

Interesting. I found this thread, which talks about using high heat for a butterflied bird http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f12/...urkey-335.html (High Heat Wood Fired Roast Turkey) (similar to the Zuni Cafe chicken recipe that Gulf was going to try) - but I am surprised it works with a whole bird. I guess will probably up my temp range. Are you cooking with stuffing?
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: Thanksgiving turkey question

Quote:
Originally Posted by deejayoh View Post
Are you cooking with stuffing?
No stuffing. I find it kinda gross with all the cavity goo on it. When we do want dressing, my wife cooks it separately in the kitchen oven.
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