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Old 11-25-2013, 06:50 AM
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Default Roasting a Turkey

Hello All,

Recently Forno Bravo posted someones method of roasting a Thanksgiving Turkey. I have a few questions on the technique. First here's what was written:

now, at long last, we’re ready to cook. i put my turkey in the oven with my door thermometer reading about 450F. i also made sure to keep a small stick or two of wood smoldering in the back of the oven at all times to impart a nice smokey flavor to the meat. my finished bird had an assertive, but by no means overpowering, smokiness that everyone loved. after about 10 minutes, i rotated my bird 180 degrees. after 20 minutes, i already had nice color on the skin, so i tented the bird with the foil. this will allow your turkey to continue cooking while minimizing additional browning. if your bird hasn’t taken on sufficient color after 20 minutes, allow it to continue cooking uncovered until it gets where you want it. after you’ve tented your bird, allow it to continue roasting, rotating every half hour or so, until a thermometer inserted between the thigh and breast reads 160F. for my 12.5 pounder, my total cooking time was about 2.5 hours. by the end of cooking, my oven door thermo reading was hovering somewhere around 300F. remove your turkey from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.


So this leads to my questions.
1. I get my oven to 450 F and put my bird in. All I have is my insulated oven door and I was told NEVER to close my oven with a fire or coals burning inside. Could lead to some sort of major accident. So do I just put my oven door in my oven landing but not inserted all the way to keep some heat in? Should I prop it up a bit say 1/2" with some wedges on the bottom to allow airflow into the oven?
2. It states that when the bird was done the oven was at 300F so does this mean I should not keep feeding the fire/coals to keep it at 450 F the whole time?

Thanks in advance all !!! Happy Holidays !
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Last edited by K79; 11-25-2013 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:52 AM
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Default Re: Roasting a Turkey

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Originally Posted by K79 View Post
All I have is my insulated oven door and I was told NEVER to close my oven with a fire or coals burning inside. Could lead to some sort of major accident. So do I just put my oven door in my oven landing but not inserted all the way to keep some heat in?

Who told you this is dangerous? I do this all the time. How else can you put the fire out while retaining heat? Shouldn't be an issue unless your door is flammable

I plan to cook my turkey in the oven, but will be getting it up to temp (600 or higher);putting the fire out; cleaning out coals; baking bread; then baking the turkey @ 350 or so.

Also - fwiw, those directions don't make sense for browning the turkey. Usually you do that at the end to crisp the skin.

Edit: note that baking something like a turkey with a live fire is very difficult. I wouldn't try it unless you have a lot of experience. It's much easier and more predictable to bake with retained heat. If you want to add a little smoke, get a tray of smoking chips and put it in for the first 20 minutes or so.
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Last edited by deejayoh; 11-25-2013 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:12 AM
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Default Re: Roasting a Turkey

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Originally Posted by deejayoh View Post
Who told you this is dangerous? I do this all the time. How else can you put the fire out while retaining heat? Shouldn't be an issue unless your door is flammable.
I heard at one point that if you close your oven with a fire inside that when you open it and reintroduce oxygen that there's a potential for it to explode. Basically backdraft.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:28 AM
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Default Re: Roasting a Turkey

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I heard at one point that if you close your oven with a fire inside that when you open it and reintroduce oxygen that there's a potential for it to explode. Basically backdraft.
That could be true, if you close the door on a fully involved fire with a very large amount of unburned wood left inside. I don't know why someone would unless, they are trying to make lump charcoal. I haven't had a problem with closing it on a fire that has burned down to mostly red hot coals. I still open the door only a 1/2" or so, for just a few seconds before removing the door, though .
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Last edited by Gulf; 11-25-2013 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 11-25-2013, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: Roasting a Turkey

Originally Posted by K79 View Post
I heard at one point that if you close your oven with a fire inside that when you open it and reintroduce oxygen that there's a potential for it to explode. Basically backdraft.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gulf View Post
That could be true, if you close the door on a fully involved fire with a very large amount of unburned wood left inside. I don't know why someone would unless, they are trying to make lump charcoal. I haven't had a problem with closing it on a fire that has burned down to mostly red hot coals. I still open the door only a 1/2" or so, for just a few seconds before removing the door, though .
What happens in a backdraft situation is that combustibles produce flammable gases when in a hot environment with reduced/minimal oxygen. In an enclosed space, these gases build up and can ignite quite explosively when oxygen is introduced. Note that coals don't produce these gases nearly as much as unburned wood. A few coals at the end of a fire aren't a big deal, several unburned sticks of wood in the oven however can produce this unwelcome gas build up when heated and then starved for oxygen. Open the door a bit and you give that gas what it needs to ignite & burn explosively. A little smokey fire will give a lot of flavor to food (the pan of chips mentioned earlier is an excellent method) and you don't need to close the door completely if you've got a little fire going, there's a lot of heat coming from the bricks and the temp will maintain pretty well for cooking that tasty turkey! By the way, if you haven't tried the dry brine method you should!

I've had two backdraft events since I build my oven in 2009. Once I put wood into the oven the day after a bread bake to dry it out for the next week's bake with the door open very slightly (no coals, just 250-300F). That was a little too hot and I didn't open the door quite enough. The next morning I noticed white smoke coming out of the chimney with little puffs. I pulled the door open just another inch and paused - 'cause my spidy sense was tingling. Sure enough, a couple seconds later there was a big whomp with a pretty good flame-throw from the oven. No damage...except for my shorts needing to be washed. The second time my firing door got some wood chips underneath and shifted forward when I left to go knead my bread. The door leaned forward enough to choke the fire I'd started. I didn't notice right away because it was early morning...but the next time I went to check on the oven I had the same white smoke with little puffs coming out the chimney. Yep, another backdraft - whomp & flame-throw...again, no damage- again, needed to change shorts - so I felt I was pretty lucky.

I know we all have our own ways of doing things, but I won't ever leave any significant amount of wood in a moderately hot oven with a closed door. I always leave the door open an inch or two at night on my pre-heats and double/triple check that my overnight fire has enough draft to continue supporting flame throughout the evening.
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Last edited by SableSprings; 11-25-2013 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:46 AM
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Default Re: Roasting a Turkey

Thanks SableSprings for the info!! So can I roast a turkey in my oven with the door completely out and a small fire to one side to keep the temp up? I need a thin door made for my oven specifically for this type of scenario, unfortunately all I have is my tight fitting thick insulated door.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: Roasting a Turkey

Very interesting indeed. I have never heard of such a thing...and certainly never expirience any such thing. Thanks for the heads up.
Happy Thanksgiving.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: Roasting a Turkey

I'm going to use some firebricks for a door I think.
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:36 PM
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Default Re: Roasting a Turkey

They work good. Done that.
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Old 11-27-2013, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: Roasting a Turkey

Quote:
Originally Posted by K79 View Post
... I need a thin door made for my oven specifically for this type of scenario, unfortunately all I have is my tight fitting thick insulated door.
Have you experimented with just keeping your insulated door about 1/2 to 3/4" open? That would allow some air to keep a small fire going, but still help keep a large part of the radiant heat from escaping out the front.
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