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Heritage Turkey

I just pulled the trigger on a 18 pound Heritage turkey for Thanksgiving.  Definitely the most expensive bird I’ve ever purchased....  I’ve never cooked a Heritage turkey before so I’m undecided on what the best method is to prepare and cook it.  Does anyone have any experience with this type of cook?  Should I wet brine vs dry brine?  Fast and hot vs low and slow?  Break bird down and cook dark and light meat separately?  Thanks again!

Comments

  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 14,013
    I only dry brine, they are fantastic. I get a Narragansett turkey from a local farmer. Much better flavor compared to a typical commodity bird. It cooks no different, whether you smoke it or roast it at standard temps. I typically use the "Mad Max turkey method" for my birds.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,669
    Regardless of your bird's pedigree, the secret to cooking turkey is to cook it until it's done - DON'T OVERCOOK.  I cook the breast to about 150F.  Pull it off the heat, it will carryover cook more.  They are somewhat forgiving.  Pro-tip - let it cool before you carve. Don't slice it up thin when hot is the worst thing you could do.  Let it cool some and slice, or better yet, slice and serve.

    Brining gives you protection from some overcooking, so just don't overcook and there's no need to brine.  Your gravy will give it salt and flavor outside the natural flavor.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Thanks guys.  I appreciate the feedback.  I will follow suit with the Mad Max Method as well.  Agree on pulling at 150 in the breast and letting it carryover.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,002
    the trick is not listening to the generation that says its not done =)  been buying white hollands for 4 generations in my family for tday, been fixing the same farms boilers for just as long. they cook pretty much the same
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,669
    Here's what an overcooked turkey looks like:

    Image result for turkey pop-up
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,002
    Here's what an overcooked turkey looks like:

    Image result for turkey pop-up
    manually pop that at 155 degrees and it will solve alot of family problems. those things pop about 20 degrees higher than over cooked
  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 2,296
    Here's what an overcooked turkey looks like:

    Image result for turkey pop-up
    manually pop that at 155 degrees and it will solve alot of family problems. those things pop about 20 degrees higher than over cooked
    Or save a popped one and put it in your turkey when thermapen says 150
    LBGE - 36Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 7,903
    edited November 2017
    kl8ton said:
    Here's what an overcooked turkey looks like:

    Image result for turkey pop-up
    manually pop that at 155 degrees and it will solve alot of family problems. those things pop about 20 degrees higher than over cooked
    Or save a popped one and put it in your turkey when thermapen says 150
    Similar to buying a cheap Radar Detector...Goes off just in time to let you know you got a ticket.lol
    Thank you,
    Darian

    Galveston Texas
  • @Eggcelsior is there a reason why you get Narragansett’s? I know there are 7? Varieties of heritage turkeys.  I was wondering if one tastes and cooks better?  The website I ordered from specifically said it will not guarantee a specific variety.  Thanks!!
  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 16,485
    Markzzz said:
    @Eggcelsior is there a reason why you get Narragansett’s? I know there are 7? Varieties of heritage turkeys.  I was wondering if one tastes and cooks better?  The website I ordered from specifically said it will not guarantee a specific variety.  Thanks!!
    He's just an elitist snob.  Heritage birds are in general your best bet.
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 14,013
    Markzzz said:
    @Eggcelsior is there a reason why you get Narragansett’s? I know there are 7? Varieties of heritage turkeys.  I was wondering if one tastes and cooks better?  The website I ordered from specifically said it will not guarantee a specific variety.  Thanks!!
    The farmer I get them from raises Narragansett birds exclusively, that's all. 
  • GrillSgtGrillSgt Posts: 1,724
    You got 2 pieces of great advice. Pull when breast hits 150 and give it a good rest, 30 minutes is not too much. If it's more don't freak. 
    Woodford & Barren Co. KY

    LBGE, XLBGE, 2 Weber Genesis, Weber 22" kettle

    I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize

  • Sounds good.  I’ll let you know what I got and how it turned out....
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