Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Turkey Trial

For Turkey Day I'll be cooking a 28 pound bird. A little later for First Friday I'll be doing a 20 lb bird. I'm thinking of using my rotisserie for this so I will run a trial today using the cheapest frozen 12 pound bird I could pick up. (Jenny-O, $0.79/lb) I'll do it on the Performer using left over lump and some apple and cherry for smoking wood.

We're running 39°F under sunny skies with winds brisk at about 15 mph.

With the turkey ready I started fire building about 2:30 PM. That's piling the left over mostly lump into the chimney and getting it lit. I also split up some chunks of apple and cherry for smoking wood.

This smoke is being done on the Performer using the Rotisserie ring. The bird has been stuffed with sliced orange, onion, garlic and fresh rosemary, thyme and sage. Part way through the cook I moved the covered Silver A upwind of the Performer to afford some block from the wind. Didn't seem to make much difference.

timetemp comment
2:55 PM
Dumped lit lump out on either side of a drip pan and dropped a couple chunks of apple and cherry on the coals.
Rotisserie ring in place and spitted turkey rotating. Counter weight does not quite offset the eccentricity but helps I suppose.
3:22300° (lid)Temp seems to have settled here for now.
3:45305°Took pix and bird has lots of color! And the stuffing is falling out of it. :-/
4:20250°Probed 155° by thighs and 135° in breast. Was the breast still a little frozen when I started? Also added more lump and smoking wood.
4:50300°Breast probed 156° and thigh about 160°. Huh?
5:10300°Breast probing 167° and thigh at 166° - Done! Off and resting.
Cooker temps measured using the lid thermometer.

Bird about 45 minutes in.
Almost ready to take off the grill.
Partly carved
Turkey was very good! Skin was crisp and smoke flavor good. White meat ... was not dry. It's never going to be as moist as the dark meat which was very moist on this bird. Some of the stuff in the body cavity came out but the bird still tasted good.

What to do differently next time: I need to truss up the body cavity better so stuff doesn't fall out. Maybe leave an orange cut in half and run the spit through it to plug the opening. Maybe I could back off on the heat after the first half hour or so. It must have been pretty hot to finish a 12 pound turkey in 2:10.

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