Big Green Egg - EGGhead Forum - The Ultimate Cooking Experience...
Welcome to the EGGhead Forum - a great place to visit and packed with tips and EGGspert advice! You can also join the conversation and get more information and amazing kamado recipes by following Big Green Egg at:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Youtube  |  Vimeo
Share your photos by tagging us and using the hashtag #EGGhead4Life.

In Atlanta? Come visit Big Green Egg headquarters, including our retail showroom, the History of the EGG Museum and Culinary Center!  3786 DeKalb Technology Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30340.

Turkey FAIL

upnsmokeupnsmoke Posts: 60
edited December 2011 in EggHead Forum
Had my first FAIL on the BGE (fortunately it was an experiment and not the main dish as I have never cooked a Turkey on the egg before)

I decided for my first turkey on the egg i would use the recipe on on (

I followed the instructions to the letter although i did let it brine a few hours longer... I used a never frozen, fresh organic 12 lb turkey 

I used a DigiQ and cooked the turkey at 350. It started to brown early so per the instructions places a foil tent over it.

I used the plate setter feet up with an aluminium pan beneath it (I added a small amount of liquid to assist in keeping the bird moist).

I pulled the turkey at 160 (measured in the breast by both the digiQ and a thermapen) After resting a few mins the pop-up timer in the turkey popped (proper internal temp verified by 3 sources).

The top of the breast was in the 190s (dry but edible and may make a good pot pie) but the legs resembled turkey jerky and about as tough. 

I did notice the internal temp was in the low/mid 40s when i inserted the DigiQ. Are you supposed to bring the bird to room temp like you do a steak?? This is the only place i can figure i screwed up...


  • My guess is that the turkey legs were close to the edge where the high heat rises around the plate setter.  Anything on the outside (leg & wings) gets way over done.

    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • nope, it was centered and it is an XL egg... the entire bird was over cooked by the time the thickest part of the breast hit 160. the skin was DARK brown.

    totally baffling to me... i measured the pit temp at the breast and verified the dome temp was close. 
  • I have cooked a few turkeys. The first was underdone because I ran out of fuel (the first thing I ever cooked on the egg). The others were better. I've never brined one though.

    Personnally, I think the 350 temp might have been your issue. It sound high to me. One would think that the brining would have helped combat the dryness.

    I'd love to hear what others think.

    Gardiner Large BGE Dallas
  • according to Rathbun "
    Preheat the EGG to 350ºF / 177ºC"

  • krickskricks Posts: 244
    My bet is the room temperature.  On thing the egg is is an oven and oven rules normally apply.
  • I think that is it, the hair on the back of my neck was standing up when i saw 44 degrees... Bringing poultry to room temp just makes me a little nervous, i just found this quote "
    Remove a turkey from the refrigerator about one hour before placing it in the oven" ( )

    unfortunately i did not time how long it had been out of the fridge (probably 35-45 mins)
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,935
    There are at least 2 problems you ran into.

    The first is this. Roasting a whole turkey at once is really hard. The breasts and the legs cook differently, and either one or the other is likely to not be very good. Everyone wants to present a great big carcass, and cut into it, but it is a whole lot easier to cut the bird up, and cook the  white and dark meat separately, for different times. Some people ice the breasts, so they are colder to start with, others (myself most recently) wrap the legs in foil to slow the cooking of them down.

    The other problem is the safe temperature. If the center of the breast needs to reach 160 to be safe, it only needs to be 160 for about 10 seconds. But it is also safe if it is at 140 for somewhat over 10 minutes.

    oh, and a really dark bird is not bad, if you have been rubbing it with butter. sometimes I rub the bird with a stick of butter every 10 minutes. At the end, it is easily as dark as mahogany, but the crunch exterior is "butter jerky." So crisp and sooo tasty.
  • brimeebrimee Posts: 98
    I have done three turkeys since getting my Egg in October and have not had one bad one(yet). On all three occasions I used the sitting turkey with beer as the liquid of choice (always plenty available ;-)) and I have never brined. I get the turkey out of the fridge while the Egg is stabilizing, rub it with some seasoning and put it on the Egg. I never checked the temp before putting it on but it wasn't out of the fridge for more than 15 to 20 minutes before putting it on.
    Fairview, Texas
  • Must agree with brimee, as much as the upright position of the bird. Always had best results with the "beer can" method on any charcoal fired cooker when the fuel is beneath the bird. I do believe brining is a great thing if you have the time.  
  • I also agree with using a sitter.... never had a problem. Here's is some more good advice:

    The ice trick works great!

  • I used the same recipe for the Christmas turkey,and it turned out great..the only thing different that I did was used a roasting pan, which elevated the turkey...i placed the roasting pan directly on top of the wife liked it so much, she made me do a turkey breast last night(which I'm not allowed to share with family and friends).
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817
    edited December 2011


    They come out good inverted on the turkey stand.


    Caledon, ON


  • upnsmoke, Sorry you turkey was a turkey, so to speak.  
    I always do the turkey on the egg and have never had a problem but I always cook my turkey on a vertical roaster.  Whether vertical roasted in oven or on egg and always I slathered herbed butter under the skin to keep the breast meat juicy (on egg I also iced down the breast).  
    Last year I learned Little Steven's method of inverted roasting (legs up) and I will never go back to the "other" way again.  
    In fact, unless I spatchcock a bird, I cook all fowls legs up wings down.  (I still slather herbed butter under the skin...but for flavor - moisture not an issue).  
    Do this method with a chicken, I think you might like it
    Large, small and mini now Egging in Rowlett Tx
  • Thank you miss Joan. I was going to say to the OP that free range can be something other than a good thing.


    Caledon, ON


  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,733
    edited December 2011

    Just a suggestion. Have done about a doz turkeys on the Egg and all the same. Spatchcocked / direct / raised / 350 to 400. I do not brine but do leave uncovered in fridge overnight. Do 12 lb birds and they take about 1.5 hours. Use very,very little cherry and pecan wood (very little). This is a very simple turkey to do.


    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • @LS  Yep I got talked into a free range one year...either he spent all his time chasing the hens, or she spent all her time running away from him....yep Learned my lesson.
    Large, small and mini now Egging in Rowlett Tx
  • A trick to keep your turkey breast moist is to ice it before going on the grill.  Fill a gallon bag with ice cubes and place it on the turkey breast for at least 45 minutes.  This will buy you some more time for the dark meat to get done without drying out the breast.  Brine your turkey like normal, then ice the breast while letting the bird dry out before placing on the grill.
  • SteveWPBFLSteveWPBFL Posts: 1,325
    Mickey - First of all, over 5000 posts? Wow. That's SOME dedicated Eggin'! And so many Eggcellent posts, too!  Hat's off! Especially enjoy the 'spatchcock turkey' posts. New to me and very intriguing. And so, guess what we're having for dinner tonight! I've used an old Brinkman smoker for 25 years but have recently been upgraded by the wife to a large BGE and so far, so good. Time to try a 12 pound turkey and the plan is to use what has to be called the 'Mickey Method' (spatch / rub / direct / raised / easy-on-the-smoke / 375-400F dome) this afternooon. It meets 'simple and short time' requirements.

    Happy New Year to you all!

    Goo Goo Ga Joob!
  • i havent splatched a turkey yet.  it is on the list.


    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,733

    SteveWPBFL thank you for the kind words. Please post how it turned out and send a pic.

    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • SteveWPBFLSteveWPBFL Posts: 1,325
    edited December 2011
    Well, I mean, well done!

    I followed the method to the letter (good way to learn something new). And learned something new I did! Thanks for the tip on cooking at 375 - 400F using just the bottom door and leaving the top off, the BGE performed well. For rub just salt, pepper, thyme, and celery seed.

    It was a cheap bird, got it on sale at Publix for .49/lb. before
    Christmas, I just grabbed it to mess around with on the new BGE. Not
    injected or anything, just a frozen 12 pound turkey.

    I raised the grid with aluminum cans (skinny Coors Light) filled with
    sand. I don't recommend that, too unstable.  The bird just fit in the
    large BGE. One large well soaked chunk of hickory provided light smoke.

    After about an hour and fifteen minutes I checked the breast temp and it was 145, came back ten minutes later and it was 160, pulled the bird and let it sit for twenty minutes, temp peaked out at 170.

    Call it grilled turkey! I cut it into big pieces for dinner and sliced up one breast and everybody dug in. The wife said "a little dry" on the breast meat but as we ate she said, "this is good!". And it WAS!  VERY TASTY, I'll say that. Not a Martha Stewart moist-breast winner but more like a man's turkey. A little chewy and slightly dry on the white meat, but think that had more to do with the bird than the method. Crispy (the leg ends broke right off)! The dark meat was AWESOME (our family goes for the dark, the white's always left for last). The wing meat was nice and the wings crunchy, which I love. That golden browned crispy turkey taste is what this was all about, and you get that with the 375 - 400F. The thighs were perfect with crispy skin and crispy edges. Reminded me of Roscoe's Fried Chicken in Los Angeles.

    All in all, a winner! Done in 1-1/2 hrs and on the table in a little over two. Thanks! Next time I plan to do the same exact thing except maybe pull it when the breast is no higher 150 - 155F.

    Goo Goo Ga Joob!

  • SteveWPBFL, not all of use are on facebook.  Can you post a picture and the method you followed to the letter?  Love to see the end results.
    Large, small and mini now Egging in Rowlett Tx
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,733
    edited December 2011

    SteveWPBFL you will not break any rules by pulling the leg/thigh at different times to the breast. Just make a slight cut and pull the leg/thigh off. Done this many times when they get done before breast. Just one of the nice things doing spatchcock.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • KMagnusKMagnus Posts: 114
    Mostly questions - and some feedback.

    Can you elaborate on "it started to brown early"?  Do you mean before 1/2 way through the total cook, 30 minutes into the cook, etc....?

    What total time did you end up cooking it?

    When you did your foil tent, was this loosely draped over the bird or did you tightly use foil to wrap those areas that were browning?

    I'm sure Rathburn has cooked more turkeys than I have, but I've been extremely pleased with the ones I've cooked.  That said, I normally shoot for a dome temp of 325.  You have a DigiQ, so don't see anything wrong with your temp.  I brine mine for 1-2 days, air dry in the fridge for 1 day, and pull out of the fridge 1-2 hours before cooking.  I try to use a gallon size bag of ice on the breast or invert the breast in a foil pan of ice for about 30-40 minutes prior to cooking.  Since the white meat is done @ 160 and the dark @ approx 180, this will help them reach their target temps at the same time.  But, if your breast gained 30 degrees during the rest, I can understand that your dark meat would have been like jerky.  30 seems a bit much.

    I don't think it's necessary to cook in a V-Rack or roasting pan, but to each his own.  I cooked 2 recently using the method described here with almost identical result: :

  • SteveWPBFLSteveWPBFL Posts: 1,325
    OK, here's the photo of the BGE-grilled spatchcock turkey using 'Mickey's Method'.
  • Thanks for all the feedback, still cant figure out what went wrong as everyone is doing the same things I did. I do have the sitt'n turkey and will  test that method one day, i have done a dozen chickens all to perfection. I simply think the breast was too cold when i put it on the smoker.

    Next year (or should i say this year) back to Bojangles LOL (but don't laugh if you haven't ever tried their fried turkey as it is the best i have ever had)
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,733
    You are right in that fried turkey is very good. That said, spatchcocked direct non-turned over turkey is EASY and very good.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

Sign In or Register to comment.
Click here for Forum Use Guidelines.