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I messed up (Turkey)

Smokin' BanjoSmokin' Banjo Posts: 4
edited 9:02PM in EggHead Forum
Well, I thought I would cook a turkey in my medium BGE. The wife has already informed me that I'm cooking the bird for Thanksgiving on the Egg to free up her oven, and I wanted to do a dry run first. I've had the BGE for about thee weeks. So far, I cooked steaks, seared. I spatchcocked a chicken on an elevated grill over direct heat. And I did spare ribs that my wife said were the best she ever had. Weekend before last, I did a Boston Butt on a slow cook that turned out great.

But I screwed up the turkey, which surprised. me. I cooked a 12 pound turkey. I didn't brine the bird. I did rub it with olive oil and seasoning. I used a plate setter, but I didn't think there was room for the bird in the BGE, so I took the fire ring out and put the plate setter directly on top of the fire box, legs down.

I filled the fire box brim full of lump. After the fire got going pretty good, I set the plate setter on with the legs sitting right on the fire box. I sat a roasting pan directly on the plate setter with broth and liquid in it and I placed the bird, breast side up in a rack on the pan.

I had no trouble getting the temp up to 350. Here's where I think things went wrong. I had to run in to town for an errand. I left the egg for about 45 minutes and when I got back, the temp was down to 300. I opened the bottom draft a little and got it back up to 350.

I had a temperature probe in the breast and was monitoring the breast temp. I had the alarm set for 160, but looking back I think maybe I should have set it for 170. By the time the alarm went off, after about 4 hours, I was running out of lump and the temp of the egg was starting to decline. Still it was at about 300.

The breast temp was at 160, so I stuck a thermometer in the thigh and it struggled to get up to 180, but it did get there. So I shut the egg and let it sit there for about 45 more minutes at about 300. It was getting nice and brown on top, but still kind of white on the bottom near the roasting pan. I took it in and let it sit under a foil tent for about 45 minutes and when I started carving the thigh off the carcass, I noticed blood and red meat. Oh no. I knew it wasn't done, but the breast part was.

We put it in the oven at 350 for about 45 more minutes and it came out dried out. Over done and had no flavor. Disappointing.

So for Thanksgiving, I'll make sure to keep the fire ring in, load that baby up with plenty of lump. I'll brine the turkey and make sure it has plenty of moisture in it. Also, my roasting pan dried out at one point in time. I'll make sure to keep some liquid in there next time. Set the alarm at 165, or 170 instead of 160. I read somewhere on one of the forums to put ice on the breast to cool it down before cooking so it won't get done faster.

Oh well, I'm sure I'll do better for Thanksgiving.


  • MaineggMainegg Posts: 7,787
    If you are not turkey-ed out try this. we did it w few weeks ago and this is how our thanksgiving turkey is being done. 14 lb bird on a med direct about 2.5 hours. great gravy done on the stove. Mad Max has a great turkey cook to on the nakid Whiz's site.
  • here's everything you need to know to do it right. .. .
  • MaineggMainegg Posts: 7,787
    Ha Ha I was just looking for the link to go in and edit mine Max. You getting geared up for the turkey hot-line? Mrs. Butterball look out Mad Max is in the house! :evil:
  • LOL, yeah. . know, i wish i could go back and find my original turkey post from about 6 or 7 years ago, even before the whiz and i put it up on his site with all the pictures. ... .it all got started cause one year at thanksgiving people were posting like crazy with individual questions about various parts of how to do a turkey like 'how do set up the egg?' or "how do buy a bird" or "how do baste" , etc, etc. . ..and i finally got frustrated reading all this and answering so many questions (along with others) and so i did this huge post with something like "ok, heres all the answers". . ..and thats how it all got started. ...and then the whiz called me and said "lets put it on my site" so the spawn and made one the next year and took all the pics ... .took us almost two years to really get it the way it looks now ...and then the hotline thing ... .so long as people stay respectful, i'll keep doing it. ..its a lot of fun. ...
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,867
    also check your dome gage in boiling water, 4.75 hours seems like too long at those temps to reach 160 in the breast for a 12 pounder
  • Spatchcocked, that'll definitely fit him under the dome. It looks like you have a woo ring or something under the grid to bring your bird up to the gasket level. How high of a temp are you using?


  • I live in Clermont. When and where is the Florida Egg Fest?
  • MaineggMainegg Posts: 7,787
    March 12 & 13, Melbourne, fl. the site will be up SOON!!
  • KeithwwKeithww Posts: 62
    I did a test Turkey yesterday, points of interest.
    Read Mad Max's recipe on Naked Wiz he makes several points two of which are huge.
    1) Ice the breast.
    2) Use spacers between the fire block and the pan.

    Both of these make a huge difference in the cook. I fill my firebox up to the bottom of the spider. The I place the pizza stone on the spider. Next I place a grill on top of the fire-ring, my roasting pan is then placed on the grill, this leaves an inch to two inches of space between the pizza stone and the pan.

    My biggest variance from Mad Max's method is that I brine.
    2 Gallons Water
    1 1/2 cup Kosher salt
    1 cup Brown Sugar
    2 cups apple cider vinegar
    Peppercorns, cloves, Allspice to taste
    a nice bunch each of Oregano, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary
    Boil half the water with everything except the vinegar. Remove from the heat and use Ice and water to add the remaining gallon of water and bring the temp down. Add the vinegar and then the turkey. I use brining bags and a couple of bags of ice and leave it to sit in the ice chest over night. Always leave it in the house, raccoons and other vermin will open an ice chest in a heartbeat.

    This year I will deep fry a turkey and Egg one, this will be the first year in a long time that I've only deep fried one turkey.
  • Banjo,

    I have cooked several large turkeys and they have been the best-received things I have cooked so far. I go for the KISS philosophy - (Keep it Simple, Stupid).

    I have a large egg, but from what you wrote, you started out OK.

    1) Calibrate your dome temp.
    2) I use a BBQ Guru to control my temp, but it's not a requirement (just convenience).
    3) No need to brine the turkey (the egg will give you all the moisture you can stand).
    4) No need for water or broth in drip pan unless you are planning to can drippings for gravy (like the delish Mad Max technique).
    5) I make a paste of EVOO and Herbes de Provence with added salt. I undermine the skin starting at the neck and as far down onto the thighs and drumsticks as I care reach with my fingers, being careful not to tear the skin.
    6) Smear the paste liberally under the skin, then all over the bird. Place in frig several hours up to overnight.
    7) As Mad Max suggests, place a baggie full of ice cubes on the breasts while the turkey sits out for an hour prior to cooking.
    8) I put my turkey on a upright rack in a pie pan to catch drippings. The plates setter on the huge turkey was legs "up" on the fire box (fire ring removed).
    9) Make sure turkey is not touching the tip of the dome temp.
    10) cooked at 350* - was done in 2.5 -3 hours. (15 lb turkey).
    11) Dilute some of the herb paste with white vinegar (apple cider vinegar also works) and baste a couple of times to brown up the skin.
    12) I put temp probes in the breast and thigh and pull at 170-180 thigh temp.
    130 Tent in kitchen and ENJOY !

    It may look juicy and slightly pink sometimes has always been done.

    I hope this helps.
  • MaineggMainegg Posts: 7,787
    It is on a woo ring. good eye that egg is a mess!!
  • That was the problem why I took the fire ring out. I was originally going to use a turkey stand and roast it vertically. I didn't have room with the fire ring in, it stood too tall, so I took the fire ring out. If I would have been more careful placing the lump in, I could have made my fire last longer.

    So you are saying that in my medium egg I should take the fire ring out (like I did). Place the plate setter legs up on the fire box and put a drip pan right on the plate setter to hold a vertical roaster.

    Ok. That's another Idea.

    Thank you all so much.

    Clermont, FL
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,867
    in my large i just use the pizza stone or some thin firebricks, no platesetter. you dont need the platesetter and you will gain some room
  • I have cooked numerous 12 lb turkeys in my medium egg without issue. Indirect with a drip pan, bird on the grill and cook at 375 dome temp. Usually they are done in slightly over 2 hours cook time. I ice the breasts for a couple of hours and cook until the thigh temp is 180 and the breast at 160. Never brined and learned to use little, if any, wood chips as turkeys can get to smokey. As others have stated, calibrate your dome and meat thermometers.
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