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Thoughts on my Thanksgiving Turkey Plan?

bookswbooksw Posts: 469
I am starting to figure out my game plan for my Thanksgiving Turkey, collecting all the things I have learned on this forum over the past 8 years since I made my first Turkey on the Egg, and would love to hear all your thoughts about my plan.  We started a tradition of traveling for Thanksgiving, but of course COVID changed that this year so this is the first Thanksgiving in a long time that we will be home and I will actually cook the whole turkey.  I have cooked plenty of turkey breasts in the past 8 years, but not a whole turkey since 2012.  I know that my large BGE can fit a 14 lb turkey but it is a stretch- maybe because I stand mine up (on a Fosters!) Maybe I should aim to spatchcock instead?  I plan to order the turkey and need to decide if it would be 10-12 lb or 12-14 lb (Whole Foods ranges- I also need to decide on Organic or Not?) I will brine it for 2(?) days (what should I use for brine?) and then inject it with OJ, Apple Juice, and olive oil (ratio?)  I am thinking of Raging River rub and a bit of wood (I have cherry) soaked in beer or apple juice- at about 325 dome temp- 15 min a pound ish to 165 in the breast?  
Charleston, SC

L/MiniMax Eggs
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Comments

  • lkapigianlkapigian Posts: 8,139
    I go the 12-14 pound range, don't brine ( but not opposed ) I do a roasted garlic compound butter underneath the skin all around, SPG. 275 indirect , nothing fancy , less is more 
    Visalia, Ca

    LGBE- Pit's by Klose Trailer -Stumps XL Stretch - Custom Santa Maria-Modified HD Offset Smoker Reverse Flow- FatStack Smoker FS120 coming soon Fat Stacks 500- Blackstone 36 Blackstone 22 - Custom Cold Smoke House and a lonely Brinkman Vertical Smoker
  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 3,618
    I just pulled a 19 pound bird off of the large.  Could have fit a larger bird.  
    Large, Medium, MiniMax, & 22, and 36" Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 3,618
    So I would go with the larger size.
    Large, Medium, MiniMax, & 22, and 36" Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • CTMikeCTMike Posts: 2,683
    I’ve had great results following this recipe the last couple years:

    https://dizzypigbbq.com/recipe/mad-max-turkey-method/

    MMBGE / Large BGE / XL BGE (Craigslist Find) / SF30x80 cabinet trailer - "Ol' Mortimer" / Outdoor kitchen in progress.  

    RECOVERING BUBBLEHEAD
    Southeastern CT. 
  • Last year we went with just buying a few turkey pieces from our local Fresh Market.We prefer the dark meat so picked up some thighs and wings, roasted with all the traditional herbs.
    Greensboro North Carolina
    When in doubt Accelerate....
  • bookswbooksw Posts: 469
    @lkapigian remind me what is the benefit of compound butter over plain ole butter?  I am thinking about mixing the rub into butter since @CTMike reminded me about the mad max turkey- just for the heck of it I might switch from the Raging River to the Mad Max TUrkey specific seasoning!!  Thanks for the reminder @CTMike!  @kl8ton is your turkey just sitting on the grate or is it propped in some way?  Also, is that a Large BGE?  Turkey is one reason I had wanted to upgrade to XL but then we started to travel for TGiving so I lost that excuse hahaha.  @johnmitchell that sounds great- I have cooked many turkey breasts but hadn’t thought about searching out thighs.  We also prefer the dark meat since it is generally so much juicier and more flavorful.  I think with the brine, inject, and Mad Max ice (which I will try the first time this year) I can get the breast meat to be dripping juicy- that’s the goal.  The biggest thing though is just the spectacle of the whole bird- I haven’t had a compelling reason to do it for a few years so I want to take advantage.  @CTMike I need to make sure my roasting pan will fit in my egg- do you have a large and if you do, do you have a reserved pan for the Mad Max?  Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Charleston, SC

    L/MiniMax Eggs
  • lkapigianlkapigian Posts: 8,139
    Plain ol butter is fine, I like the roasted garlic flavor added to it, but certainly can be omitted ....also butter spray is a great easy hack
    Visalia, Ca

    LGBE- Pit's by Klose Trailer -Stumps XL Stretch - Custom Santa Maria-Modified HD Offset Smoker Reverse Flow- FatStack Smoker FS120 coming soon Fat Stacks 500- Blackstone 36 Blackstone 22 - Custom Cold Smoke House and a lonely Brinkman Vertical Smoker
  • 165 in the breast is over cooking it.
  • bookswbooksw Posts: 469
    I just purchased the mad max turkey seasoning and while I was there I picked up the mad max brine and a few more things...   =). One of our son’s goes out for his favorite Peruvian chicken and he lives in a small apartment so no space for an Egg. BUT he does own a countertop air fryer so I picked him up the Peruvianish seasoning- maybe that’s the ticket for him.  I also got some pineapple head since I have wanted to try it and it got me to the free delivery
    Charleston, SC

    L/MiniMax Eggs
  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 3,618
    @booksw

    It is just sitting on the grate. 

    I'm using the adjustable rig from the ceramic grill store.  A spider is holding a pizza stone below the rig as a heat deflector, on the bottom grid I have a 9x13 catching drippings and on the top grid I just set the Turkey. As always, check for dome thermo stem clearance while closing. I think the biggest Turkey I've done is 25 or 27lbs.  I have probably cooked about 50 turkeys on my Large. 
    Large, Medium, MiniMax, & 22, and 36" Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 19,593

    Spatchcocked Turkey and Chicken on the Big Green Egg

    (you cut out the backbone and cook opened)

    I like a 11/12 lb bird. If I need lots of turkey I just cook a couple ( 1 & 1/2  hr cook app)

    Chicken 3 to 4.5lb bird or birds. Under an hour cook. 

    Or, just add a package of legs extra. 

    I do not brine the turkey or Chicken. 

    If time I like to leave uncovered in the fridge overnight (no problem if no time) 

    I cook "direct" @ 400 on a raised grill "skin side up" and never turn over.

    I will use a coffee rub. Use what you like.

    NOTE PLEASE (A LOT OF SMOKE IS NOT YOU FRIEND)

    I use about a single handfull of mixed chips: Cherry & Pecan. 

    Cook to temp (not time) breast @ 165 and thigh @ 175


     

    Coffee Rub (turkey, chicken, beef & pork)

    Equal part: Instant Expresso Ground coffee..

    Equal part: Brown Sugar..

    ½ part: Black Pepper..

    ½ part: Kosher Salt..

    ½ part: Garlic Powder..

    ¾ part: Ancho Chili Powder..

      Don't worry on exact, just close on measurement. I used to use turbinado sugar but we like with brown better. This is pulled from MollyShark, Hungry Man, & Richard In Fl then tweaked. I find the ancho chili powder is far less expensive in the bulk spice area than the bottled area ( have used both light or dark version). I make it starting with a half cup Instant Expresso Ground coffee and work from there as it seems to store well if sealed.

    Salado TX & 30A  FL: Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max when they came out (I'm good for now). 

  • RRPRRP Posts: 24,070
    edited November 2020
    Never mind...I’ll try to fix this tomorrow.
    Re-gasketing America one yard at a time.
  • I have found that spatchcocked turkey is the way to go, it cooks much faster and is easier, especially if you have the market spatchcock it for you... I'm sure Fresh Market will, and I have had Publix do it for me, too. Good Luck!
    Happily egging on my original large BGE since 1996... now the owner of 6 eggs. Call me crazy, everyone else does!
     
    3 Large, 2 Smalls, 1 well-used Mini
  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 11,116
    The best Egged Turkey’s I have done in the past were the couple I had space in the fridge to dry brine for 2 days.
    But my all time favorite was this recipe.
    Did all the prep the day before. SV time is flexible so easy to time searing the skin with rest of the meal.
    https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/11/sous-vide-turkey-breast-crispy-skin-recipe-thanksgiving.html#:~:text=%20Directions%20%201%20Carefully%20remove%20turkey%20skin,to%20chart%20above.%20With%20bag%20open%2C...%20More%20
    Thank you,
    Darian

    Galveston Texas
  • dannysdannys Posts: 133
    edited November 2020
    When Thanksgiving was at chez-moi, which was most of the time, I cooked two birds. One in the oven the day before, cut up and ready t- reheat. The day of, I would cook the second bird on the large so that we had that visual turkey-day experience.

    My process was as follows
    1) Brine the first bird overnight. I put the bird and brine in a XL ziploc bag and into a cooler to fit. Then stuff those blue ice packs between the bad and cooler sides.
    2) The next day, I drain the bag and put the bird in the fridge uncovered overnight. I also brine the second bird using the same steps as before.
    3) The next day, I prep the first bird for cooking. I usually stuff this one and then pop it in the oven. The second bird also comes out of the brine and dries out overnight in the fridge.
    4) When the first bird is thoroughly cooked, remove the stuffing to a foil pan and carve the bird to a different pan. Add some gravy to the sliced turkey and cover both with foil wrap.
    5) Thanksgiving day, I start the BGE and cook the second bird. This one is not stuffed. I like to add a chunk of apple or cherry while cooking.  I usually do an indireft cook with a drip pan. The first bird and stuffing can be reheated so that it is ready when the second bird is cooked and carved.
    6) Eat and enjoy

    So I have since purchased an joetisserie for the large. I might modify the above to use that if I were to do another feast. NOT!
  • bookswbooksw Posts: 469
    There is so much wisdom here- thank you!  @dannys do you think you actually could rotisserie a whole turkey...?  That would be spectacular.  I have a bin I use for brining a turkey in my fridge.  I have tried the 2.5 gallon zip lock bag but in my experience, I think because they are made for storage of things more than for freezing food, the seal isn’t that good and they end of leaking.  I think the brining process is pretty forgiving so that hasn’t hampered the outcome but it does make it messy (and annoying).  Have your leaked?  Mine are Glad brand- what are yours?  I love the two turkey idea.  We are having a relatively small group this year so it would be way too much.  One thing I love about this forum is that I will be able to look back on all these ideas in future years and there will undoubtedly be a year that we have a huge crowd and I will make two just like you suggested!  @Florida Grillin Girl great idea to ask the market to spatchcock.  I tried it one year and it’s a lot harder to cut than a chicken!  We don’t have Fresh Market in Charleston SC but I will ask Whole Foods if they will do it- thanks!  What temp do you cook yours at?  @Mickey goes for 400 which seems high to me.  @Mickey how long about would it take to cook a 12 lb turkey spatchcocked at 400?  The rub recipe looks amazing.  I have already purchased the dizzy pig blend but yours looks really good- I will have to try it! @Photo Egg I have not yet dipped my foot in the SV pool.  One day! @kl8ton I think I am going to use the legs up platesetter with a drip pan under the grid and place the spatchcock on the grid- I have a hard time understanding the adjustable rig in general and in this case I am not sure the advantage of that over my set up?
    Charleston, SC

    L/MiniMax Eggs
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 19,593
     @Mickey how long about would it take to cook a 12 lb turkey spatchcocked at 400? 
    Couple of hours at most maybe less. 

    Salado TX & 30A  FL: Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max when they came out (I'm good for now). 

  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 3,618
    @booksw

    Plate setter legs up should work well.  I used to do it that way before the adjustable rig.  I actually didn't use a grid back then. I used a V rack over the drip pan.  No grid.  The drip pan had an air gap beneath it via foil balls.
    Large, Medium, MiniMax, & 22, and 36" Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • dannysdannys Posts: 133
    booksw said:
    There is so much wisdom here- thank you!  @dannys do you think you actually could rotisserie a whole turkey...?  That would be spectacular.  I have a bin I use for brining a turkey in my fridge.  I have tried the 2.5 gallon zip lock bag but in my experience, I think because they are made for storage of things more than for freezing food, the seal isn’t that good and they end of leaking.  I think the brining process is pretty forgiving so that hasn’t hampered the outcome but it does make it messy (and annoying).  Have your leaked?  Mine are Glad brand- what are yours?  I love the two turkey idea.  We are having a relatively small group this year so it would be way too much.  One thing I love about this forum is that I will be able to look back on all these ideas in future years and there will undoubtedly be a year that we have a huge crowd and I will make two just like you suggested!  @Florida Grillin Girl great idea to ask the market to spatchcock.  I tried it one year and it’s a lot harder to cut than a chicken!  We don’t have Fresh Market in Charleston SC but I will ask Whole Foods if they will do it- thanks!  What temp do you cook yours at?  @Mickey goes for 400 which seems high to me.  @Mickey how long about would it take to cook a 12 lb turkey spatchcocked at 400?  The rub recipe looks amazing.  I have already purchased the dizzy pig blend but yours looks really good- I will have to try it! @Photo Egg I have not yet dipped my foot in the SV pool.  One day! @kl8ton I think I am going to use the legs up platesetter with a drip pan under the grid and place the spatchcock on the grid- I have a hard time understanding the adjustable rig in general and in this case I am not sure the advantage of that over my set up?

    I think that a bird on the smaller size would work OK on my large/Joetisserie combo. 

    I've not had the ziploc brand bags leak on me.  Are you making sure the open side stays on top and doesn't go below the 'water line'?
  • northGAcocknorthGAcock Posts: 14,925
    booksw said:
    I am starting to figure out my game plan for my Thanksgiving Turkey, kcollecting all the things I have learned on this forum over the past 8 years since I made my first Turkey on the Egg, and would love to hear all your thoughts about my plan.  We started a tradition of traveling for Thanksgiving, but of course COVID changed that this year so this is the first Thanksgiving in a long time that we will be home and I will actually cook the whole turkey.  I have cooked plenty of turkey breasts in the past 8 years, but not a whole turkey since 2012.  I know that my large BGE can fit a 14 lb turkey but it is a stretch- maybe because I stand mine up (on a Fosters!) Maybe I should aim to spatchcock instead?  I plan to order the turkey and need to decide if it would be 10-12 lb or 12-14 lb (Whole Foods ranges- I also need to decide on Organic or Not?) I will brine it for 2(?) days (what should I use for brine?) and then inject it with OJ, Apple Juice, and olive oil (ratio?)  I am thinking of Raging River rub and a bit of wood (I have cherry) soaked in beer or apple juice- at about 325 dome temp- 15 min a pound ish to 165 in the breast?  
    Fosters Lager. Love it. 
    Johns Creek GA with a Large & a 17" Blackstone........Medium & MiniMax in storage

    Well, I married me a wife, she's been trouble all my life,
    Run me out in the cold rain and snow
  • booksw said:
    I am starting to figure out my game plan for my Thanksgiving Turkey, collecting all the things I have learned on this forum over the past 8 years since I made my first Turkey on the Egg, and would love to hear all your thoughts about my plan.  We started a tradition of traveling for Thanksgiving, but of course COVID changed that this year so this is the first Thanksgiving in a long time that we will be home and I will actually cook the whole turkey.  I have cooked plenty of turkey breasts in the past 8 years, but not a whole turkey since 2012.  I know that my large BGE can fit a 14 lb turkey but it is a stretch- maybe because I stand mine up (on a Fosters!) Maybe I should aim to spatchcock instead?  I plan to order the turkey and need to decide if it would be 10-12 lb or 12-14 lb (Whole Foods ranges- I also need to decide on Organic or Not?) I will brine it for 2(?) days (what should I use for brine?) and then inject it with OJ, Apple Juice, and olive oil (ratio?)  I am thinking of Raging River rub and a bit of wood (I have cherry) soaked in beer or apple juice- at about 325 dome temp- 15 min a pound ish to 165 in the breast?  
    How many people you planning on feeding. After weight loss, and the bones get discarded ... you probably won't be able to feed more than 8 to 10 people with that size bird.  Go to the grocery store and measure the height of the bird, then see what's the max that will fit in the large BGE.

    I used the mad max turkey method ... it was amazing, gravy was the best we ever had.
    Napoleon Prestige Pro 665, XL BGE, Lots of time for BBQ!
  • I egg at 325, just like in the oven. Be prepared for it to get done fast, especially if spatchocked... I did a 21 lb. turkey that got finished in under 3 hours.
    Happily egging on my original large BGE since 1996... now the owner of 6 eggs. Call me crazy, everyone else does!
     
    3 Large, 2 Smalls, 1 well-used Mini
  • CTMike said:
    I’ve had great results following this recipe the last couple years:

    https://dizzypigbbq.com/recipe/mad-max-turkey-method/

    Making my first run at a mad max turkey this year. Fingers crossed.
    LG BGE
    Camp Chef 2xburner

    Twin Cities, MN
  • carrda04 said:
    CTMike said:
    I’ve had great results following this recipe the last couple years:

    https://dizzypigbbq.com/recipe/mad-max-turkey-method/

    Making my first run at a mad max turkey this year. Fingers crossed.
    You'll do fine, the instructions are amazing ... just a few notes:

    - put the ice packs on the breasts as the VERY FIRST STEP ... they mention this later on in the recipe, but you spend the first 30 minutes making the broth needed for the gravy ... it is a waste of time to have the turkey sitting there not cooling the breasts with ice ... the more cool they are, the better. I'd cool the breasts with ice packs minimum 1h before cooking.

    - at the end, when you take the drippings from the pan, the recipe gets a bit grey.  To simplify, pour your drippings into a glass measuring cup (large, at least 2 cups in size). Let it settle ... all the fat will rise to the top, take out all that liquid fat, as MUCH as possible ... you'll need a spoon to laddle it off ... but that fat makes the gravy congeal and doesn't really help ...

    Other than that, the recipe instructions are really good. 
    Napoleon Prestige Pro 665, XL BGE, Lots of time for BBQ!
  • TN_EggerTN_Egger Posts: 1,120
    Cooking on a medium this year. Best guess for what size bird to buy?
    Signal Mountain, TN
  • TN_Egger said:
    Cooking on a medium this year. Best guess for what size bird to buy?
    14 pounds was the biggest that I could spatchcock comfortably when I owned a medium.  
    If you need more than cook two or cook some legs and thighs separately.
  • TN_Egger said:
    Cooking on a medium this year. Best guess for what size bird to buy?
    14 pounds was the biggest that I could spatchcock comfortably when I owned a medium.  
    If you need more than cook two or cook some legs and thighs separately.
    If you don't spatchcock could you get a bigger turkey in, considering you're adding weight to height of bird?  What will 14 lbs feed ... 10 people at best?
    Napoleon Prestige Pro 665, XL BGE, Lots of time for BBQ!
  • I am a big fan of the salt dry brine. Plus the herb infused oil basting liquid is something I will do every time from now on. How to in the video if you want 
    https://youtu.be/85eiXHO2LcU
    Two Kamado Joe Classic III & a Kamado Joe Jr.  Large BGE, Mini BGE 
    YouTube: @smokingdadbbq 
    Instagram: @smokingdadbbq  

  • bookswbooksw Posts: 469
    edited November 2020
    OK here's my progress: @Florida Grillin Girl I was able to get Whole Foods to spatchcock my turkey. Yay! It was not a straightforward process but I believe it was successful (I haven't actually unpacked the bird yet to be sure)- essentially they have their ordering process all automated online and there isn't a "notes" field so while the butcher dept said they could do it, they didn't know how they would be able to know which one of a billion 12-14  lb turkeys ordered would be mine.  Calls to the store manager over 2 days helped them come up with a plan and when I picked up the turkey there was a note on my order to spatchcock and I then waited about 20 minutes while they did.  No biggie because I totally had the time.  I am going to wet brine it Tues-Wed in dizzy pig Mad Max poultry brine and Wed I am going to overnight it in the fridge to air dry.  Thursday I plan to inject it (I have not yet figure out with what) and then cover it with butter and mad max seasoning (actually I will likely inject it after I season it?  Not sure) then cook it skin up at 350 until breasts are 165 and thighs are 175. @Mickey Do I need to ice the breasts if it is spatchcocked?  I am thinking not. Im just not sure why the breasts would cook slower than the thighs otherwise.  @Mark_B_Good in my experience spatchcock would allow you to fit a larger bird than cooking it whole- the limiting feature is being able to close the lid down over it.  If your bird is too big and you are cooking it whole- you may need to lower the grid if you have that ability (I don't) or take out the dome thermometer (it is what generally hits a too large turkey first. Also, the interior of my dome is covered with soot which I think  would want to burn off with a good clean before trying, since for sure that turkey will hit the dome at least somewhere.
    Charleston, SC

    L/MiniMax Eggs
  • booksw said:
    OK here's my progress: @Florida Grillin Girl I was able to get Whole Foods to spatchcock my turkey. Yay! It was not a straightforward process but I believe it was successful (I haven't actually unpacked the bird yet to be sure)- essentially they have their ordering process all automated online and there isn't a "notes" field so while the butcher dept said they could do it, they didn't know how they would be able to know which one of a billion 12-14  lb turkeys ordered would be mine.  Calls to the store manager over 2 days helped them come up with a plan and when I picked up the turkey there was a note on my order to spatchcock and I then waited about 20 minutes while they did.  No biggie because I totally had the time.  I am going to wet brine it Tues-Wed in dizzy pig Mad Max poultry brine and Wed I am going to overnight it in the fridge to air dry.  Thursday I plan to inject it (I have not yet figure out with what) and then cover it with butter and mad max seasoning (actually I will likely inject it after I season it?  Not sure) then cook it skin up at 350 until breasts are 165 and thighs are 175. @Mickey Do I need to ice the breasts if it is spatchcocked?  I am thinking not. Im just not sure why the breasts would cook slower than the thighs otherwise.  @Mark_B_Good in my experience spatchcock would allow you to fit a larger bird than cooking it whole- the limiting feature is being able to close the lid down over it.  If your bird is too big and you are cooking it whole- you may need to lower the grid if you have that ability (I don't) or take out the dome thermometer (it is what generally hits a too large turkey first. Also, the interior of my dome is covered with soot which I think  would want to burn off with a good clean before trying, since for sure that turkey will hit the dome at least somewhere.
    Hmmm interesting, I would have thought spatchcock would spread it out beyond the diameter of the grid ... is the concern with cooking it whole that the breast hits the dome?

    A few thoughts ... I think I would still ice the breasts, even if spatchcocked ... based on the assumption that breasts tend to dry out faster given they have lower moisture content.  Of course, opening up the bird will help expose more of the thigh, but I still see the thighs undercooked on spatchcock chicken, when the breasts are already done ... so I don't think it is "problem solved" by spatchcocking.

    Therefore if you do ice the breasts, I'll suggest you put on the butter mix first, then broth, then ice (for 1 hour).  The mad max recipe calls for you to pat dry the bird before you spread on the butter, so it sticks better.  It would be working backwards if you put in the broth injection first.

    The target temperature for me was 165F for both breast and thighs ... I'm not sure you need to go for 175F in the thighs. Also note, as the bird rests, thighs continue to cook ... so they will be perfect once you start carving it up.
    Napoleon Prestige Pro 665, XL BGE, Lots of time for BBQ!
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