Friday, December 7, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Note: This was cooked the day after thanksgiving but I procrastinated publishing...

Turkey again this year. Got a 19 pounder from Ho-Ka Farms via Valli Produce. It seems big but I guess it will be fine. This year I plan to roast it in the big grill instead of the smoker. That should allow some what higher initial temperature ala Alton Brown's recommendation for 500° for the first half hour. I can still throw some wood chunks on the coals for some additional smoke flavor.

Weather conditions for the cook are truly awful. I suppose hard rain would be worse. Temperature at the time of meat on is 29° F and wind is howling out of the Northwest at 25 mph with gusts to 35. I set up in front of the garage to get a little wind shelter. The sky is mostly cloudy

I'm brining the turkey with:

  • 1 gallon apple cider (recipe called for vegetable broth but I substituted.)
  • 1 cup pickling salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper corns
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 1/2 tablespoon powdered ginger (recipe called for candied ginger but we had none)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick of cinnamon.
I boiled the brine and allowed to cool. Before adding to the bird, I added about 1/2 gallon of ice cubes.  The brining is taking place in a Reynold's roasting bag in a 5 gallon bucket. Turkey goes into the brine at 1:00 PM the day before. (We're serving our Thanksgiving dinner on Friday this year because that's when everyone can make it.) Bird is out of the brine at about 10:30 AM and I microwaved an orange, apple and a couple small onions to stick inside the cavity along with sprigs of sage, rosemary and thyme.

The cook will be on the 26 this year. I'll put a double drip pan under the bird to see if that keeps the drippings from burning up so I can save them for stuffing and gravy. For fire I'll use Grove Lump and cherry and apple for smoking woods. (Maybe a little mesquite as well.) I started with two full chimneys of lump and put them around a doubled drip pan.

timetemp comment
11:15 AM°Bird on! Within 15 minutes the dome temperature is reading 410° with the lid cracked about 1/2". A few minutes it is readint HHH which is over scale. I'll remove the probe.
Set the cover in place - this is expected to drop the temperature and the probe is back in the dome. Within a couple minutes temps were reading close to 390° so I closed the bottom vent down to about 2/3 to cut that back. Goal is 350°
12:15308°/?Time to light more charcoal!
12:45377° Temp recovering nicely after adding another chimney of lit lump.
1:27 PM341°/143°Meat probe in the breast now. Moving right aling (need to tent w/foil.)
1:52291°/158°Turkey nearly done - lighting another chimney for the root vegetables.
2:15?/162°Turkey off the fire and resting.

Turkey was good. The wings were a little crispy  since they were sticking out over the fire but I like that anyway. Breast not too bad but could still have been juicier.

Next time I might not stick the wings out but instead tie them up.

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