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choupique

First Turkey on my boss

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Got a 14lb bird and dry brined it for 18 hours with salt, raw cane brown sugar and black pepper.

 

spatchcocked it - using a reciprocating saw to cut out backbone - scored skin first.

 

seasoned bird with a stick and a half of butter  1/4 cup of Tony Chacheres cajun seasoning.

 

Kamado was around 275 for the 2 1/2 hours I cooked it -    Lump with 3 pieces of oak wood thrown in.  as soon as deep internal temps got to 166 I pulled turkey out and let it sit for 20 minutes before cutting.   I had never dry brined or spatchcocked a turkey before - I will likely never cook a turkey a different way again - ever..  it was the juiciest, most flavor full and most evenly cooked DOMESTIC turkey I have ever eaten.  Puts frying them to shame as well.  and I used a heat deflector.

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      What you need to know about preparing and cooking your turkey
       
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      December 5th, 2017

       
      Choosing a Turkey:
       
      Size:
       
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      Quality:
       
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      Organic / Free Range / Cage Free / Et Cetera:
       
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      Know your Chicken:  What USDA Poultry Labels Actually Mean
       
      http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/02/what-is-organic-free-range-chicken-usda-poultry-chicken-labels-definition.html


       
      Frozen Grocery Store Variety Poultry:
       
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      A Note on Food Safety:
       
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      Preparing Your Turkey for the Cook:
       
      Thawing:
       
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      http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/11/quick-and-dirty-guide-to-brining-turkey-chicken-thanksgiving.html
       
      The Food Lab: The Truth about Brining Turkey
       
      http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/11/the-food-lab-the-truth-about-brining-turkey-thanksgiving.html
       
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      Injecting:
       
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      Knife Skills: How to Spatchcock a Turkey
       
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZxWF0VyK60
       
      Removing the Wishbone:
       
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      Removing a Wishbone from a Raw Turkey
       
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JUWZ6G74WQ


       
      Seasoning the Exterior of the Bird:
       
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      Cooking the Bird:
       
      Direct Heat vs Indirect Heat:
       
      There are two basic techniques for cooking.  One is over indirect heat with a heat deflector between the fire and the bird.  The second method is over direct heat with no heat deflector.  Most traditional turkey cooks are done over indirect heat with a heat deflector in place.  More recently people are venturing into direct heat cooking with a spatchcocked turkey.  This is accomplished by putting the turkey on the grill directly above the flame with the heat deflectors removed.  The grill grates are typically placed in the highest position available above the fire.  Indirect heat (roasting/smoking) provides the most even cook of the bird.  Direct heat (grilling) is a much faster cooking process that gives you some char on the outside of the bird during the cooking process.  The indirect heat process is mostly hands free once you put the bird on.  The direct heat process requires a good bit of attention during the cook because you will be flipping the bird regularly to keep it from burning on one side or the other.  
       
      At What Temperature Should I Cook?
       
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      What Kind and How Much Smoking Wood Should I Use?
       
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      When is the Bird Finished Cooking?
       
      This is another big area of debate in the cooking world.  For food safety reasons, the FDA recommends that the meat be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C.  This is the temperature at which harmful pathogens will be killed INSTANTLY.  
       
      Here is another article that I use to help me figure out finishing temperatures for my poultry:
       
      The Food Lab’s Complete Guide to Sous Vide Chicken Breast
       
      http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/07/the-food-lab-complete-guide-to-sous-vide-chicken-breast.html
       
      The pasteurization time chart in this article is of high importance to me.  I like to cook my chicken and turkey to an internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast to 150°F/66°C instead of 165°F/74°C.  As long as that temperature is reached and achieved for a minimum of 2.8 minutes, you will have the same pasteurization effect that you get instantly at 165°F/74°C.  The benefit of cooking to the lower finishing temperature is more moist meat.  As you heat muscle fibers, they contract and squeeze out moisture.  Heating them less cause them to contract less and squeeze out less moisture.  
       
      When checking the temperature of your turkey or chicken to determine when it’s done, you should check in the thickest part of the breast.  That is the thickest part of the meat on the entire bird and it will be the last part to be done.  Don’t worry if your leg and thigh temperatures go a good bit higher than your target temperature because they definitely will.  The dark meat can handle much higher temperatures without drying out.  The breast can not so pay attention closely to the breast meat temperatures.
       
      Resting the Bird:
       
      When your cook is complete, cover the bird with aluminum foil and let rest for a minimum of 20-30 minutes before carving.  
       
      Carve your Turkey or Chicken and Serve!
      These links provide two excellent videos and commentary on carving your turkey!
       
      The Culinary Institute of America: How to Carve a Turkey
       
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=939uGzs484M
       
      Bon Apetit: How to Carve a Turkey
       
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzmMVDooNx4

       
      Some Useful Tools:
       
      The Briner - The Ultimate Brine Container (2 container kit)
       
      http://amzn.to/2hTTWbS
       
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      The Beast Injector
       
      http://amzn.to/2Bmf9U2
       
      The Grill Beast Injector is a perfect tool for injecting flavors into your meat.  I have been using this one for over a year now.  It’s my go-to injector over several others that I have, including the one below.
       
      SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector Gun
       
      http://amzn.to/2hR3SCO
       
      The SpitJack Magnum kit is probably the Rolex of the meat injector tools line.  I have had one of these for several years and it works very well.  It gives you some serious precision control over injections.  You can dial in the quantity it dispenses with each pull of the trigger.  It’s pricey but if you are the guy or girl who demands top of the line, then this is your tool.
       
      Thermoworks ThermoPop Instant Read Digital Thermometer
       
      http://www.thermoworks.com/ThermoPop
       
      The ThermoPop is the best bang for the buck in the instant read digital thermometer community.  For $29 you can get super fast temperature readings.  You can spend an additional $70 if you want and get a temperature reading about two seconds faster from the ThermaPen model.  The instant read digital thermometer is the best solution to knowing when your meat is cooked to the proper temperature.
       
      I don’t recommend leave-in thermometer probes for Turkey simply because I cook my turkey at around 375°F/190°C.  I don’t get consistent results with ANY of them when cooking at this temperature range.  You might have better luck with these if you wrap the exposed part of the thermometer with aluminum foil.  I find that the exposed part gets hot enough that it radiates heat into the sensor portion of the probe causing it to read higher than the actual meat temperature.  If you choose to use a leave-in probe to measure your meat temperature when cooking at the higher temps, ALWAYS double check it with an instant read thermometer for accuracy.


       
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