My Big Green Eggsperience

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Lets Talk Turkey!!

Now I see lots of guys following a Great Recipe from "Mad Max Beyond Eggdome" .  I put the link because it has definitely gotten such rave reviews it is certainly valuable use of your time to review.

I do mine slightly different and it has always been good.   Actually I started smoking turkeys about 10 or so yrs ago on a 22" Kettle Grill before I got my first Large BGE.  Was good there too!!

Good meal - Thanks to everyone!

Here is an example of how to elevate the pan off of the platesetter.
Thanksgiving 2007 Turkey
Turkey Platter
2007 Turkey Dinner Plate

These are basic Guidelines that I follow.  To be honest, I don't think I cook anything exactly the same twice:

1)  Brine your Turkey - some don't like this.  I do!!!, If nothing else it ensures the bird is an even temp all over.  There is obviously some chemistry too - Apparantly brine can start to modify the protein structure of the meat (click here for a good article).  Here is what I do.
  1. Get a cooler - clean it really good (I wash with a bleach solution and rinse really good). A really good alternative to this is to get super large ziplocks or a brining bag (avail for purchase online).  
  2. Fill cooler (or brine bag) with 2-3 gallons of cold water to ensure the turkey can be fully submerged.
  3. Add 3/4-1cup of kosher salt and 1 cup of sugar to each gallon.  Make sure it is disolved.  I heat up a pot of water 1/2 gallon or so, add salt/sugar and stir like crazy.  Then I pour this into the cold water in the cooler. Add some ice cubes. 
  4. Add some spices and some citrus or fruit (sliced oranges), some fresh herbs (rosmary, thyme, sage).  
  5. I then add a bunch of ice placed in plastic ziploc bags to keep the temp of the turkey/brine to below 40F while keeping the salinity constant. You may need replace some of the bags over the brining period. If you use a brine bag you will obviously just put ice on the outside of the bag.. 
  6. Put your turkey in the cooler or brine bag.
  7. I let the turkey brine for at least 1hr/lb. I've seen recommendations of 2hrs/lb. I will do 2 hrs this year.. 
  8. Rinse  it well and then get ready to cook.  I have heard of people letting the turkey rest in a fridge after the brining for a number of hours- I don't do that personally.  

Turkey Brine for Big Green Egg

2)  I use a handful or so of dry Pecan wood chips mixed in the lump.  About an hour before cook time, I get the egg going up to about 300F.  Set the egg up with an inverted plate setter.  I will place the turkey on a V-rack placed in a steel drip pan.   To prevent scalding (an use the drippings for gravey) the steel drip pan should not be placed driectly on the plate setter.  I get about 5 or 6 of 3/4" steel nuts and put on the plate setter.  I then put the drip pan on that to elevate.   Be careful to do a trial run w/your pan before you start to make sure everything fits. 

3) Dry the rinsed turkey inside and out (I use paper towels).  Rub with Canola oil equiv put on a V-rack legs up.  I then make a rub, Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, sage, thyme.  I use Mad Max's idea and put a couple of zip-lock bags filled w/ice on the breast as he egg is stablizing at around 300F.  This gets the breast at a little lower temp and should keep it moister during the long cook.  Mad Max recommended 20min before putting on the egg.  This is a great idea!

3a) The last few cooks I have been using a paste of butter and my spices like Mad Max...I also use his technique of pouring wine over the butter coated turkey and basting every so often.

3b) I usually put a quartered sweet onion, carrot and celery inside the turkey while cooking along with some fresh rosemary.

4)  I put a probe in the breast and one in the thigh and cook to close to 160 Breast 180 Thigh.   I peek very little during the cook, just keeping the dome temp somewhere in the 250-300F range.   I've cooked them slow and faster and the've always been good.  I cooked a 21# turkey in a little less than 8 hours or 20 minutes/lb and the dome temp was at about 275F. I'ld be cautious on cook time +/- 1hr should be planned.

5)  Tent in foil for 15-30 min and cut.  I believe in completely deboning the breast from the carcass, and slicing down so everyone gets some skin, center cut tenderloin, and outer white meat.  It is perfect.  I also debone the thigh and cut good pieces of dark meet.  Cut the wing into three pieces discarding the tips, and serving the leg whole.   Makes for a great presentation. Here is a link on how I slice the turkey - Carving a turkey

Comments welcome -