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Lets talk turkey!

Looking to smoke a turkey for the first time on the BGE. Needing advice like temp, approx how long it will take, and how I should position the bird in the egg. Thanks!
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Comments

  • This is a very helpful page by @jfm0830 and I'll be following this general guideline with some slight variation. http://blog.grillinsmokin.net/blog_main/blog_2011/files/brining_101.php
    Boom
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,418
    edited November 2012

    Don't go low and slow. Keep it at least 350, if not higher. Figure on about 15 min per pound (over estimate), but don't be surprised by 12 min at that temp. You could keep it whole, or sptachcock it. Some grill it direct with a raised grate, some use placesetter legs up, drip pan on that and grate on top of that. Really, there are probably 100 different ways to do it. Brine vs no brine. Injection vs no injection. The list goes on.

    Just remember, turkey absorbs smoke easily. Keep it light on the smoke and use a lighter wood. Cherry has worked for me, some like pecan.

    Two ways I've done it.

    Smoked Cajun Turkey - brined and injected

    Beer Can Turkey

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • tybishtybish Posts: 59
    Thanks a lot! I really like your posts Griffin they are always nice to see/read
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,418

    Thank you. I just wanted to point out there are a ton of ways. What kind of equipment do you have? Do you have a way to raise your grate? If not, I would stay away from direct grilling.

    @Mickey seems to be an expert at spatchcocking and direct grilling turkeys. I've never tried one that way yet, but hear its a similar cook to chicken (and why wouldn't it be?) He could give you more info on that technique.

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • tybishtybish Posts: 59
    I'm going to try a pheasant on the BGE soon. I'm thinking it could be really good.
  • Plano_JJPlano_JJ Posts: 448
    edited November 2012

    Dont know if it will help or not but here is what I am doing. The family has agreed that a turkey breast will be enough versus a whole turkey. I am going to inject it with cajun marinade, rub it with Dizzy Pig (not sure which yet, may try Raging River) and smoke it (indirect with plate setter) using cherry wood as recommended on this forum. I am also going to put apple and onion pieces in the cavity when I put it on.

     

  • I agree with Griffin.  I have done a vertical at 325+ish but that was after the bird was started at 450 for 30 minutes,  the egg just settled in at that temp.   (I have learned never to argue temp with the egg...it always wins).  
    Smoke...go lightly.  Turkey takes up smoke like a dry sponge takes in water...and the result might not be good eats
    Eggin in SW "Keep it Weird" TX
  • jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 882
    edited November 2012
    Since that was my page being referenced, I'll weigh in with my two cents. That page was written pre-BGE. Up until this year I was faced with the choice of 225 with a decent amount of smoke on the smoker or 325-350 with a "hint of smoke" from wood chips on the gas grill. The first year I got my smoker I made one of each just before Thanksgiving and let folks choose their favorite. The low and slow version won because folks really didn't eat the skin anyway-or said it would be healthier if they didn't. So the soft skin didn't really matter too much.

    However now that I have my Egg, I am very much looking forward to doing the bird at 325 with as much smoke as I want.  I agree on poultry and smoke. I use about half as many wood chunks on my turkeys as I would pork. This year I will finally have crispy skin and smoke. Plus I'll be baking dessert & rolls on the Egg ahead of time too.

    Jim
    BBQ Website: grillin' & smokin'

    Middlesex County, MA
    Three Large BGE's & Too Many Eggcessories to Count
  • BamaEGGBamaEGG Posts: 168
    I spatchcocked my Turkey last year and will never do it another way. Whole Turkey in 1 hour 45 minutes... YES PLEASE
  • timekpr1timekpr1 Posts: 151
    Are you putting the turkey directly on the grill (indirect) with a drip pan underneath?  Or are people putting it in a roasting pan (indirect) on the grill?  Brine and then spatchcock or spatchcock then brine?  Does it make a difference?  I really need to get this one right for Thanksgiving.  I am not sure of the looks I would get putting a spatchcocked turkey on the table.
    Mama always said, Grilling was like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you're gonna get.
  • TonyATonyA Posts: 545

    +1 on being careful with the smoke.  I just tried one baseball size chunk of adler (known to be mild and sweet) and the result while good was still more than i was shooting for. I'd probably steer away from hickory and oak. 

    You can probably cook smaller birds at any reasonable temperature and get a good result.  They don't have enough mass to hold the kind of heat that will overcook the bird as temperature normalizes while they rest.  This is partly why spatchcocked birds come out so good. That said, in my amature opinion birds over 12 lbs and certainly over 15lbs would be better cooked at around 300 degrees unless they are spatchcocked.

  • TonyATonyA Posts: 545
    I guess to add one more thought to that .. you could cook a bigger bird at higher temps but you'd have to pull it off well before 160 internal and let it rest longer for the heat built up in the outer portions to distripute to the center. Does it get you better skin and dark meat? It might.
  • jfm0830 said:
    Since that was my page being referenced, I'll weigh in with my two cents. That page was written pre-BGE. Up until this year I was faced with the choice of 225 with a decent amount of smoke on the smoker or 325-350 with a "hint of smoke" from wood chips on the gas grill. The first year I got my smoker I made one of each just before Thanksgiving and let folks choose their favorite. The low and slow version won because folks really didn't eat the skin anyway-or said it would be healthier if they didn't. So the soft skin didn't really matter too much.

    However now that I have my Egg, I am very much looking forward to doing the bird at 325 with as much smoke as I want.  I agree on poultry and smoke. I use about half as many wood chunks on my turkeys as I would pork. This year I will finally have crispy skin and smoke. Plus I'll be baking dessert & rolls on the Egg ahead of time too.

    Jim

    I'm the one who used your page in my post and referenced your name. I did not know it was pre-BGE. So my question is are you still going to follow that process to brine and cook at 325-350 on Egg? Or will you inject/rub and cook at 325/350?
    Boom
  • Plano_JJPlano_JJ Posts: 448

    So if I use Cherry, ya'll would recommend one chunk? I am doing a turkey breast and my egg is the XL

  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,418
    Where are you finding chunks of cherry @Plano_JJ? I've only found chips.

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • I have had excellent results with spatchcocking the Turkey as far as eating the meat. I've never been succesful with getting crispy skin....is it possible to have crispy skin and yet have the meat moist?
  • Plano_JJPlano_JJ Posts: 448
    Griffin said:
    Where are you finding chunks of cherry @Plano_JJ? I've only found chips.

    I havent found any yet, LOL. Are you in the DFW area? I know they sell wood chunks at Hirsch's meats by the charcoal. I was going to try there. If they dont have them, I guess I will try the Pecan. I have cherry chips too but I am just afraid of them burning up too quick.
  • billyraybillyray Posts: 1,116
    @Jonnysouth I did a turkey breast last night as a test run for Thanksgiving. Raised direct @350ish. I did have an aluminum drip pan under the breast, so I guess this could be called semi-direct. About 1-1/2 hours to 160 degrees. It was very moist (I did brine it) and the skin was crispy. To even crisp it up more, I pulled the skin off and put it back on the grid for a short time after I took the turkey off. I then chopped it up and sprinkled it on the sliced turkey, sort of like cracklins.
    Felton, Ca. 2-LBGE, 1-Small and waiting on a mini
  • jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 882
    edited November 2012
    I'm the one who used your page in my post and referenced your name. I did not know it was pre-BGE. So my question is are you still going to follow that process to brine and cook at 325-350 on Egg? Or will you inject/rub and cook at 325/350?
    No problem at all referencing the page @FanOfFanboys. I should have been more clear in my reply too. I absolutely plan to brine my turkey. For ME (others mileage may vary) it is they only way to go. Nothing about the brining process mentioned in the blog entry will change just because I am doing it on the Egg now. 

    I made half a dozen or so turkeys using two different recipes where the bird was injected. They came out very moist indeed, just not compared to the brined versions I've made since. I am also aware that spatchcocking turns out a moist bird and helps even out the cooking. But I flip my bird (the turkey) midway through which helps deal with that. I also fill the cavity with apples and onion chunks to serve as aromatics while cooking. I wouldn't get that with a spatchcocked bird. 

    One other thing I will add is the flipping the smoked bird midway through from breast side down to breast side up is something I got from Paul Kirk. The apples and onions came from him too. I put a v-rack in a drip pan and start the bird breast side down. The interesting thing is a few years ago the folks at Cook's Illustrated stated that the even though most people don't flip their turkeys in modern ovens, their blind taste tests indicated that birds that were flipped midway through tasted better than one cooked in one position. It validated what Paul Kirk said for smoking and then some. I just bring the pan, v-rack and bird into the Kitchen, put on some heat resistant gloves and turn the bird over. I also rotate it 180 degrees to even out the cooking. I insert the probe from my Maverick thermo in at this time and return the bird to the grill.

    Now the one disadvantage with starting the bird breast side down is the v-rack ended up leaving deep depressions in the breast meat, that didn't come out. This is only cosmetic in nature, but the folks at Cook's Illustrated had a solution for that too. They laid a piece of foil down on the v-rack first. They pierced it with a fork so it would drain  and laid the bird on the rack over the foil. I've tried it and it does work. You do still get some indentation but it is far less and tends to "heal" itself by the time the bird is cooked.  

    Jim
    BBQ Website: grillin' & smokin'

    Middlesex County, MA
    Three Large BGE's & Too Many Eggcessories to Count
  • I have a large BGE..what size bird can i stuff into it? i am a bit concerned about burning the edges/tips with my place-setter at a temp of 350.
  • Mosailn said:
    I have a large BGE..what size bird can i stuff into it? i am a bit concerned about burning the edges/tips with my place-setter at a temp of 350.

    according to BGE site up to 20lbs. Tho I would also love to hear results from members who have experience.
    Boom
  • jlsmjlsm Posts: 760
    Make sure everyone is onboard for a smoked turkey at Thanksgiving. I do smoked breasts at least six times a year, but at Thanksgiving, I don't add any wood at all. A slight smokey taste comes just from the BGE.
    *******
    Owner of a large and a beloved mini in Philadelphia
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,418
    Mosailn said:
    I have a large BGE..what size bird can i stuff into it? i am a bit concerned about burning the edges/tips with my place-setter at a temp of 350.


    18.5 lbs and still have room to ring it with sausage.

     

    image
    P1040405.jpg
    564 x 480 - 89K

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,418
    Plano_JJ said:
    Griffin said:
    Where are you finding chunks of cherry @Plano_JJ? I've only found chips.

    I havent found any yet, LOL. Are you in the DFW area? I know they sell wood chunks at Hirsch's meats by the charcoal. I was going to try there. If they dont have them, I guess I will try the Pecan. I have cherry chips too but I am just afraid of them burning up too quick.
    Yeah, Richardson. I keep forgetting about Hirsch's. I even talked to some of their employees at the after party for Plano. pretty sure they have cherry chunks (and persimmon, which is a new one to me) Bet they also have pork bellys which I've haven't located yet...no that I think of it, they said they did.

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • BamaEGGBamaEGG Posts: 168
    I used this video last year. Good info. Check the end of the video for the setup. I did the foil just like he did.

  • Plano_JJPlano_JJ Posts: 448
    Griffin said:
    Plano_JJ said:
    Griffin said:
    Where are you finding chunks of cherry @Plano_JJ? I've only found chips.

    I havent found any yet, LOL. Are you in the DFW area? I know they sell wood chunks at Hirsch's meats by the charcoal. I was going to try there. If they dont have them, I guess I will try the Pecan. I have cherry chips too but I am just afraid of them burning up too quick.
    Yeah, Richardson. I keep forgetting about Hirsch's. I even talked to some of their employees at the after party for Plano. pretty sure they have cherry chunks (and persimmon, which is a new one to me) Bet they also have pork bellys which I've haven't located yet...no that I think of it, they said they did.

    I will let you know if they have them. Im not heading over there until Mon or Tues, you may have it then. That place is the mack daddy for the meat. They always have some beauts of Tri Tip there
  • Griffin said:
    Mosailn said:
    I have a large BGE..what size bird can i stuff into it? i am a bit concerned about burning the edges/tips with my place-setter at a temp of 350.


    18.5 lbs and still have room to ring it with sausage.

     

    image

    Sick! I am totally stoked....running to whole foods right now! Thnx!
  • Thanks Billyray...I'll play around with it and see what happens.
  • tybishtybish Posts: 59
    Griffin said:

    Where are you finding chunks of cherry @Plano_JJ? I've only found chips.

    I have seen chunks of cherry at meijer
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,177
    edited November 2012
    Mosailn said:
    I have a large BGE..what size bird can i stuff into it? i am a bit concerned about burning the edges/tips with my place-setter at a temp of 350.

    according to BGE site up to 20lbs. Tho I would also love to hear results from members who have experience.

    This was 24. Could have gone a couple of pounds larger.You have to take the dome thermo out and put a spacer behind the dial. The clip works ok.


    image

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

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