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Thanksgiving Turkey Virgin no more!

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  • Thanksgiving Turkey Virgin no more!

    Thought I'd pass along my thoughts on turkey in the WFO. I had done some reading on it and there was alot of different, sometimes conflicting information so I decided just to 'wing' it ('scuse the pun!). How hard could it be?
    Having done pizza in the oven the night before, the oven was at about 300F in the morning so we gave it a bit of wood to boost it and so it would manage for a few hours. We threw the turkey in around noon on Sunday for our Thanksgiving (Canadian, eh?) dinner. My guess is that the oven was around 350-400 most of the time. I put the turkey in (buttered and seasoned with a bed of veg) uncovered first to 'seal' it, then covered it with foil for a couple of hours and then a couple of hours without. (I didn't even keep that much of an eye on it - we went to the beach for a couple of hours!).
    Brought it out when the meat had reached about 170, tented it and let it reach 185. Not the prettiest bird I've done but certainly the most flavourful. It was moist (I had brined it) and delicious and had a lovely burnished skin that we all ended-up fighting over for its smokey taste. While the turkey was resting, we threw in the roasting pan with the stuffing until we were ready to serve (about 45 mins). When we pulled the stuffing, I put in the pre-baked apple pie (covered with foil) to warm while we ate dinner. All in all, a great success and I can't wait to do the same at Christmas.

    The next morning, we put in back ribs, seasoned and wrapped in foil, for the whole day (oven was around 250), removing the foil a couple of hours from the end. We often put ribs in overnight but it was still a wee bit too hot from the turkey. I make my own granola and often cook it overnight in the oven if it's less that 300.

    My advice to anyone who may be a bit worried about the whole process is to just go for it. It's only an oven!

  • #2
    Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Virgin no more!

    Very nice looking bird. From the sounds of it you kept at least a small fire going to help give the skin a smoked taste. Did you run it with the door on or off?


    • #3
      Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Virgin no more!

      Roobbq, the fire was out when we put the bird in and we kept the door on. We would lose too much heat, otherwise. With the door on, we have managed to cook for 3 days in the oven, ending with something I usually put in my dehydrator like fruit leathers.
      Hope this helps.


      • #4
        Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Virgin no more!

        That's great information, Peterlyn. Many thanks.

        We are thinking about roasting a few turkeys for Christmas dinner in the WFO at my wife's restaurant. My fear has been that the temperature would be too high and we would burn them on the outside whilst the inside remained uncooked. Did you see any sign of that with yours?

        Any more detailed tips for the turkey and veg. cooking times and methods, please?


        • #5
          Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Virgin no more!

          I loosely followed Pererlyn's directions and here is what I did.

          Note: oven is still not fully cured.

          13 pound fully defrosted turkey, washed and stuffed with quartered orange and apple both ends and pinned shut.
          One apple and one orange.

          Layer of parsnips, carrots and quartered onion on floor of roasting pan with 3/4 cup of water.

          Fire from night before left 600 degree dome and 520 degree floor.

          Salted turkey outside and put some butter under the skin of breast.

          Turkey in roaster on top of veggies, breast up, uncovered fo 40 minutes, and then
          Aluminum foil tent after.

          Dome 550 and floor 500 at this point.

          Removed tent at 2 hours, internal temp was 150 on bird, dome still 550 degrees.

          Bird stayed in for another 30 minutes and removed at 165 internal temp.

          Total cooking time 2.5 hours.

          Nothing was burned, bottom of bird was not browned because it was sitting directly on veggies. Top was nicely browned and breast very juicy.

          I would like to try a small smoldering apple coal pile the next time to add a little smoke to the bird but this time elected to go door on no fire.

          The broth at the bottom of the pan made great gravy, and the bones were simmered in the oven for 4 hours at about 350 oven for soup the next day.

          I would call my first turkey a success.

          Last edited by mrchipster; 10-29-2011, 06:56 AM.


          • #6
            Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Virgin no more!

            Great information, Chip. Thanks!


            • #7
              Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Virgin no more!

              That's great, Chip! I think our turkey was smokey because we didn't remove the embers/wood pile. With the door on, there was no fire as such but enough residual smoke, though not visible, from the cooking/baking fire previously.
              teecee, as long as your oven temp is lowered to below 500, you should be okay; it's the time that will alter with the temp. If your oven retains heat well, as ours does, I would put a turkey in around 350 too, just for longer. Good luck!


              • #8
                Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Virgin no more!

                Thanks peterlyn.

                I think that we might have a dummy run before Christmas to make sure that we have it right. A restaurant full of expectant customers and a pile of burnt turkeys would be a sad sight!


                • #9
                  Re: Thanksgiving Turkey Virgin no more!

                  sounds great.

                  I have also cooked the last 2 christmas turkeys in my WFO. both birds were 15kg and cooked in around 3 hours!

                  The trick with the really big birds is to get your butcher to butterfly prepare them and remove the breast-bone, so that you can lay the bird out flat - and it helps to get it in the oven as well LOL.

                  I dont think that I would of been able to get those birds into the oven if they were whole.

                  just about to put my order in for this years Turkey!!!1