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Turkey Testin' Time

Charcoal MikeCharcoal Mike Posts: 223
edited 4:26AM in EggHead Forum
Hi all -[p]Did my first turkey today as "practice" for Thanksgiving. Turned out really well, but brought along some questions as to methods and results. Might try brining for the next time, but for my first turkey I wanted it as plain and simple as possible. Would appreciate any feedback.[p]How I did it:
14 pound bird, thawed, rinsed and patted dry. Salt and peppered the inside. Using a marinade injector, I injected a total of about 1 stick of butter in the bird, then used about 1/2 of a second stick mixed with olive oil and paprika to rub the outside.[p]Cooked over firebricks, with a drip pan and a V-Rack at 350 for the entire cook.[p]Here are the questions:[p]1. I had heard 15-20 minutes per pound. I was thinking 14 pounds = 3 hours MINIMUM. Well, I put it on at 12:20-30, and it was done by 2:45. hmmmm. Polder said 160 on one side of the breast, 168 on the other side, and 179 in the legs. Definitely done. Was I cooking too hot? How did it get done so quickly, or is this normal?[p]2. I put about a cup and a half of water in the drip pan (pan was covered in foil), so the drippings wouldn't burn and I could save them for gravy. They burned anyway. Added more water about halfway through the cook, as I could hear the drippings sizzle when they hit the pan. With the pan sitting directly on the firebricks, how do you prevent this? I saw this same problem with ribs as well, but I wasn't planning to save the rib drippings..... :-)[p]3. I have a nice new white plate-sitter that hasn't been used yet. Would this be recommended INSTEAD of the fire bricks? Any reason to EVER use firebricks if you have a plate setter? My logic is that the plate setter is round, egg is round, bricks are square - maybe a more even cook with the plate sitter?[p]4. The final test - man oh man oh MAN was that one juicy bird. I cleaned the original drip pan, put the bird back in, and carved her up. The juices were just RUNNING out of that bird. I swear I think there were two cups of drippings when I was finished (used these for gravy). Anyway, the bird was absolutely delicious, but in all seriousness it was **TOO JUICY**. Is the injection of butter or anything else a bad idea? Or did I use too much? Do you even need it with the egg? My thought is that maybe the large quantity of butter heated quickly and caused the bird to cook faster.[p]Anyway, as always, thank you to those that may enlighten me.......[p]- Mike


  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    Charcoal Mike,[p]Congratulations on a successful test run.[p]1. Each meal tends to cook differently. The cooking time per pound of meat is only a "rough" guide. If the bird is done early, tent in foil until serving time.[p]2. You will need a lower cooking temperature to be able to save any dripping for gravy. Cooking at 250°F for around 25 minutes/pound will help avoid burning the drippings. The resulting bird will still be great.[p]3. Either setup will work well. Experiment with both and use the one you feel most comfortable with.[p]4. Is it possible that you injected a a "pretreated" bird? I don't inject and use only untreated birds and have had no problems with dryness.[p]Spin
  • Spin,[p]Thanks for the follow up! The bird definitely wasn't pretreated - just a regular Harris Teeter frozen turkey (on sale for .59 a pound!!). I thought about going the butterball route, but I didn't want to spend the extra money knowing I had an injector at home.[p]Presuming it wasn't pretreated, is a stick of butter too much? I mean it REALLY tasted juicy, to the point of being able to actually taste too much of the butter, and took away some of the flavor of the meat, in my opinion. Obviously, it is too much butter for me, and I will cut down on the next one.[p]Any other ideas for turkey injection spices besides a stick of land-o-lakes? [p]- Mike

  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    Charcoal Mike,[p]Half a stick per breast does sound like a buttery bird ;-).[p]If you are not injecting any brine and are only going for a flavor addition, why not consider rubbing the meat under the skin with a flavored mixture instead of injection? It would flavor the meat nearer the surface and yet allow the meat taste to show towards the inside. Your Egg will take care of keeping the meal juicy.[p]Below is a link to Geoff's turkey recipe using the idea. Pretty much anything could be used to stuff under the skin - a compound butter would be nice.[p]Spin

    [ul][li]"Super Buzzard"[/ul]
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,354
    Charcoal Mike,
    Try some spacers between the drip pan and the firebricks. That should solve your burning problem, and allow you to cook at the same temp. I use 4 copper pipe elbows for spacers.[p]If you are going to brine next time, you will not need to inject. I have had mixed results with injecting, and find that I get little pockets of heavy flavor. If you want to try something new, I like a mixture of butter, fruit juice, wine, and some finely ground pepper and garlic powder. Another tip that seems to help is to inject the bird on the cooker when the meat is warm. Houndog gave me this tip, and it seems to help a lot with getting the injection to spread out more.[p]Sounds like you are well on the way to knocking some socks off on Thansgiving.[p]Cheers
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
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  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    <p />Charcoal Mike,[p]I have always used the Butterball type breasts in the 6-9 lb range. They are injected with something so they might act a little different than others non-injected birds. [p]I always cook mine at 325-350 and normally with 2 firebircks, the drip pan on them and the Vrack with bird(s) in it. The firebricks are to prevent the drippings from burning -- and they work great. Did you preheat them? Don't. I add the whole rig when the temps are stabilized at 325-350 so the bricks heat up from then and are not already hot from preheating. Maybe that will fix that for you. As you can see - my drippings don't burn.[p]Good luck on the next ones. [p]Tim
  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    Tim M,[p]Is the picture using your setup of "draping" the foil in the pan? Spacing the foil above the bottom of the pan would also keep the drippings from burning.[p]Spin
  • GretlGretl Posts: 670
    Re: the lower cooking temp for drippings...I've gotten around this by adding an inch of chicken broth to the drip pan before starting the roast. I keep the temp at about 350-370 and the gravy's excellent.

  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    Gretl,[p]I like the extra flavor a longer, lower cook provides but could certainly use a quicker method at those times when time is short. Thank You![p]Just a couple of questions; Do you use foil in the drip pan? I seldom use foil (no real reason), but have seen that foil helps insulate the pan heat from the drippings. Do you bring your Egg to cooking temperature prior to adding the meal? I like to add the meal early (160-170°F) with smoking chips and let the meal smoke as the Egg slowly rises to cooking temp. My concern is the possibility of lots of evaporation happening...[p]I have played with lots of possibilities on the Egg and the only thing I have learned is that are many more.[p]Thanks again,

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Spin,[p]You are referring to my "Double Boiler" drip pan rig. No, the Vrack sitting in the drip pan prevents using it. The "Double Boiler" is a surefire way to get drippings not to burn. Here it is pictured cooking a turkey in a Vrack. The skin got a little over done but I don't eat it anyway.[p]Tim
  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    <p />Tim M,[p]Darn -- keep forgetting the picture - sure wish this forum had a "preview" button!![p]Tim
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