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Turkey and space on KJ

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I was tired of the same dry turkey at my wife's family thanksgiving - so I offered to cook the turkey.  (Aunt J - if you are reading this, your turkey is wonderful, and I really just wanted to give you a much needed rest from making this....:roll:.

 

My question has to do with I don't think I will have enough space on the KJ for what I need.  Have a classic 2.  Will be cooking for 17 or so (several young kids).  I was thinking a 12 pound bird, and 7 or 8 pound breast.  John S. thanks for the great thread on Turkey - taking size rec's from that.  I do have a source from a local farm that will have an option for a fresh bird, picked up on Tuesday before thanksgiving.  I will be cooking saturday so plenty of time for brine.  Not sure if the breast will be fresh or frozen, but I know whole birds will be. 

 

I don't think both of these will fit on KJ.  I also have available a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker of various sizes, and traditional oven.  I actually don't plan on adding any  or much smoke wood - I have been pleased with slow roasting on charcoal and that level of smoke.  What would be the best way to go about this.  Whole bird on KJ, breast in oven.  One on KJ one on weber? (which one).   2 different prep styles (herb/cajun)....

 

I should have kept my mouth shut, but also excited and don't want to screw it up.  Any suggestions aside from getting the big joe. 

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You could butterfly the bird so it lies flat and cooks evenly.  If you have an extender rack you could do the same with with breast above it.

 

Or just fire up one of your other cookers. 

 

You could also cook one ahead of time, slice and vacuum pack it.  When you need it, bring it back up to temp in a warm bath.

 

Good luck and have fun.

 

Edit to add.  Here is a 10lb turkey I did on an 18" KJ. 

 

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I'd also look at the beer-can approach; stand up the bird and the breast side-by-side. It's going to cook slower than a spatchcock, so there's more time for the meat to absorb flavor...

 

Or so we all think. I once brined a pair of birds, and cooked one inside, the other on a stick-burner. Once the skin was stripped, it was hard to tell them apart. The difference in flavor was minor; both were very, very good. Brine is important, but it's just as important to get them fully cooked, but just barely. Overcooking is the enemy. A thermometer is your friend!

 

As is carry-over cooking; I pull birds ~5F short of the target temperature, and wrap tightly in foil for an hour. The internal temperature still rises, and the foil makes sure it "stews" at this temperature for a period of time, the second half of  safe cooking. Killing bacteria has two dimension, time and temperature. I get juicier meat when I combine carry-over cooking with a long rest wrapped in foil.  

 

Conversely, I don't care for crispy turkey skin, and find it inedible when smoked. A foil wrap will yield soggy skin, but juicier meat. Cooking has its trade-offs.  

 

Have fun,

Frank

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I'm curious about this too. We're potentially having 16-18 people here on turkey day (our first T-day in our house, first T-day hosted by the next generation that isn't in an apartment, aka BIG TEST OF ADULTHOOD).

 

We have a few vegetarians in the crowd, but normally the host family cooks some monster 20-25lb bird and it gets pretty well taken care of.

 

My thoughts were to do two smaller turkeys in the 12-15lb range. Was planning on doing one on my classic2 on the JT, and spatchcocking one and doing it on the gasser to save oven space for sides (we have a convection oven, so its not as big/deep as a regular full oven).

 

Any ideas on how long a turkey that size would take on the JT at 350-375? 2-3 hours? Next question is how to prevent skin from burning, I don't have a firebox divider, and occasionally my chickens can get pretty charred during a spin, but theyre only on for an hour so im afraid of what would happen after 2-3.

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8 hours ago, KJTerp said:

I'm curious about this too. We're potentially having 16-18 people here on turkey day (our first T-day in our house, first T-day hosted by the next generation that isn't in an apartment, aka BIG TEST OF ADULTHOOD).

 

We have a few vegetarians in the crowd, but normally the host family cooks some monster 20-25lb bird and it gets pretty well taken care of.

 

My thoughts were to do two smaller turkeys in the 12-15lb range. Was planning on doing one on my classic2 on the JT, and spatchcocking one and doing it on the gasser to save oven space for sides (we have a convection oven, so its not as big/deep as a regular full oven).

 

Any ideas on how long a turkey that size would take on the JT at 350-375? 2-3 hours? Next question is how to prevent skin from burning, I don't have a firebox divider, and occasionally my chickens can get pretty charred during a spin, but theyre only on for an hour so im afraid of what would happen after 2-3.

I've done 12lb turkey with the JT @ 375 for 3-4 hrs. Never burnt the skin. it comes out amazing every time. Ever since I've smoked turkey's everyone looks forward to thanksgiving. 

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8 hours ago, KJTerp said:

I'm curious about this too. We're potentially having 16-18 people here on turkey day ... normally the host family cooks some monster 20-25lb bird ... do two smaller turkeys in the 12-15lb range. Was planning on doing one on my classic2 on the JT, and spatchcocking one and doing it on the gasser ... Next question is how to prevent skin from burning, ...

Good plan. Some thoughts. 

 

Brine is your friend, as are good thermometers. Overcooking is the enemy. 

To prevent skin burning on the JT, reduce temperature!

A spatchcocked bird will cook a lot faster than one on the JT. 

Coolers and foil are your friend, especially if bird timing is off. 

Consider replacing one smaller bird with a couple turkey breasts unless dark meat's popular.

You know better than to put anything but flavorings inside these birds, right?

 

There's time for a trial run, too. You're in good shape!

 

HAve fun,

Frank

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I did a spatchcocked 17 pound bird and an 8 pound breast (on the top rack) in an Akorn last year so you should have similar realestate on your Classic. My trouble with turkeys in the kamado is getting the skin to crisp up, I had better luck with a dry drip pan when I ran one with liquid in it to make gravy the skin came out kind of rubbery.

 

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14 hours ago, fbov said:

Good plan. Some thoughts. 

 

Brine is your friend, as are good thermometers. Overcooking is the enemy. 

To prevent skin burning on the JT, reduce temperature!

A spatchcocked bird will cook a lot faster than one on the JT. 

Coolers and foil are your friend, especially if bird timing is off. 

Consider replacing one smaller bird with a couple turkey breasts unless dark meat's popular.

You know better than to put anything but flavorings inside these birds, right?

 

There's time for a trial run, too. You're in good shape!

 

HAve fun,

Frank

frank, @Rob_grill_apprentice and @mcmojoe

 

 

Thanks for the input, much appreciated. I'm planning on dry brining everyone in the fridge for 15-20hrs beforehand, and putting the spatchcocked bird on about an hour after JT starts spinning. Since I like dark meat and its my house, we're ensuring leg/thigh leftovers for me ;)

 

Plan on stuffing the JT bird with an onion, lemon, some sage thyme and rosemary, because.....

image.png.82061434c0d53930f5e9a7061631ac80.png

 

And doing a more traditional flavor profile for that one, with a chunk of cherry, and then maybe go a little crazy with spices for the spatchcocked bird.

 

Next question, drip pan to prevent grease/flareups. I don't have an ash basket, and im a little leery of putting a disposable aluminum pan against the coals. Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, KJTerp said:

 

Next question, drip pan to prevent grease/flareups. I don't have an ash basket, and im a little leery of putting a disposable aluminum pan against the coals. Thoughts?

 

I don’t use a drip pan. I set charcoals to one side and spin. If you can see, the charcoal is stacked up towards the back of the grill and the turkey is spinning towards the front of the grill. This helps the dripping to not drip on the charcoal. This was a preuvian style turkey. Hence the marinade. But end result was amazing 

IMG_4596.jpg

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3 hours ago, mcmojoe said:

 

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I don’t use a drip pan. I set charcoals to one side and spin. If you can see, the charcoal is stacked up towards the back of the grill and the turkey is spinning towards the front of the grill. This helps the dripping to not drip on the charcoal. This was a preuvian style turkey. Hence the marinade. But end result was amazing.

Ok, I bank my coals too, but sometimes the flare ups reach a portion of the bird and can blacken it a bit, good idea with setting the rotation to rotate away, that may alleviate a good bit of it. Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Rob_grill_apprentice said:

Yes,   It does,   Later I will take a picture to show how it works.  It will be empty as I am not bringing anything yet,  

 

I bet it would be great for pickle making too

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6 hours ago, KJTerp said:

 

I bet it would be great for pickle making too

Here are the pictures I promised.  It is a very good brining container.   I have this size      and I also have Junior size.   I like that once you submerged meat the briner holds it in place just by turning disk to lock it in place.  Only downside is I have make larger amount of brine, compared to ziplock bag method,  what I really like though is I don’t have to turn the meat or birds.  

85496EC0-8362-4EEA-A133-5933201A9F79.jpeg

FE3B59DB-2349-4F0B-929C-079BDEC811BC.jpeg

92B52EBD-9321-4376-8A0F-0FA3170A53BA.jpeg

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