Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

oven broke, need to make a turkey


tommy
 Share

Recommended Posts

my neighbors' oven is broke. since i'm deep frying, they asked if they could piggy-back in my oil.

my first thought was that the oil might be a bit off by the time the second bird is done, since bits of the first bird would still be in it and whatnot. i wouldn't want the second bird to turn out bitter or black or funky. soooo, i suggested that he put it in his gas grill, which to me is not much unlike an oven.

does anyone have any experience using a grill to make a 12 lb or so turkey? conversely, has anyone cooked 2 birds in the same oil without straining? (i'd like to avoid that option, actually, as i don't necessarily need my neighbor in my backyard dunking a turkey into a boiling pot of oil as i'm sitting down to dinner.

or, perhaps there's an option i'm missing (short of him buying his own deep-frying kit and going it alone).

thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From what I have heard from turkey-frying afficianados there is no problem doing several birds one after another in the same oil. In fact, it seems that some make a point to do just this, so they don't have to heat up that big pot of oil for just one bird.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

Link to comment
Share on other sites

dude...didn't you fry a turkey last year? or were you anti-frying then too?

in any case, yes, the same oil can be used for frying several turkeys.

i suppose your other option is smoking it?

or perhaps rotisserie grilling?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

tommy,

I haven't done a turkey, but I have roasted several chickens and various slabs of meat on racks in pans on my Weber SilverB gas grill. During summer in DC it's a godsend to be able to roast without having the oven on inside for an hour or so.

It can take some patience to get the temp to hit right, but I generally find that the temp will remain stable enough to roast a bird.

Just tell him to make sure that he has a full tank of propane and to check the thermometer regularly.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

Link to comment
Share on other sites

dude...didn't you fry a turkey last year?  or were you anti-frying then too?

in any case, yes, the same oil can be used for frying several turkeys.

i suppose your other option is smoking it?

or perhaps rotisserie grilling?

i'm not anti-frying. i'm anti-having-my-neighbor-who-knows-nothing-about-cooking-and-less-about-deep-frying-and-makes-me-look-like-a-tea-totaler deep frying in my backyard. or in his backyard for that matter.

the smoking option is out because he really has no clue. i need something easy, which is why the weber came to mind.

JPW, everything i've read suggests using only one burner, which i suppose approximates indirect cooking. any idea on temps and times?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it's not a kettle-type grill it may not be so easy to close the cover on a 12 lb turkey. Other than that minor detail, I think the indirect method of grilling a turkey would be just fine. There was a recipe in yesterday's NYT dining section on brined, smoked turkey that I might actually try this year. With a gas grill, you could still use some soaked wood chips for a smoky flavor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'm not anti-frying.  i'm anti-having-my-neighbor-who-knows-nothing-about-cooking-and-less-about-deep-frying-and-makes-me-look-like-a-tea-totaler deep frying in my backyard.  or in his backyard for that matter.

the smoking option is out because he really has no clue.  i need something easy, which is why the weber came to mind.

JPW, everything i've read suggests using only one burner, which i suppose approximates indirect cooking.  any idea on temps and times?

ahh...i had to go back and read again. sorry about the drunken neighbor.

but how long does it take to fry a turkey anyway? would you be able to cook it for him? if you wanted to?

as for using the grill - i don't see why not, but there's that special gas grill "flavor" that might be worse than used oil, and i wonder how much gas one would go through roasting a turkey? i mean you wouldn't want it on high...so med or low, but then how long would it take?

he could spatchcock the turkey which would make things easier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wull, yah, frying is so fast, you could just re-arrange your schedule the tiniest bit and fry his too - doesn't a 10 pound bird fry in like 30 minutes?? There's no tending. Just make sure he's got it defrosted!! Or he'll be inviting himself over :rolleyes:

This is sounding like the easiest for you in the long run. It seems that you somehow have become entwined in his dinner making and this would seem to retain the most control for you. Doncha' think??

In fact, one year my neighbor suggested that I get a turkey that she could fry for me in her oil, since it would be all hot & ready.

gobble gobble :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

JPW, everything i've read suggests using only one burner, which i suppose approximates indirect cooking.  any idea on temps and times?

Internal temp will depend on outside temp, wind etc.

In winter it may require front and back (my Weber has three) burners to maintain high enough temp. If the grill has a temp gauge it helps a lot.

On something as big as a turkey (good point on a big one maybe not fitting a small grill) one burner may lead to uneven cooking even if you use a pan (which I would recommend). I have an elCheapo pan and rack from Ikea that I use for the grill. For 3 burner go front and back. For two burner use both.

I generally treat it just as if it were just another oven. Preheat up to 500 cook bird for 30 minutes, reduce to 350 cover breast with foil and cook until done.

Edited to add -- for an average bird 2-3 hours

Edited by JPW (log)

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tommy, I've grilled many turkeys. I prefer to do them in a charcoal Weber, but I've also done them on a gas grill. Indirect method either way. I butterfly mine & rub it every half hour w/ a a half a lime. Just like w/ a chicken in the oven, butterflying gets it done quickly, evenly, and ensures a nice crispy skin.

Timing (butterfiled) is about 1 1/2 hours for a 12 lb. whole turkey & 2 1/4 hours for an 18 lb. turkey. Be sure to trim off the excess fat around the edges of the turkey or it will flare badly.

Don't throw away the carcass after diiner. The carcass from this turkey, mixed w/ a few fresh turkey wings, makes incredible stock for soup. Slightly smoky, very flavorful.

Edited by marie-louise (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is the play for your neighbor. Tell him to go buy an oven. I use this by choice when doing small birds. Easy to use, easy to clean, and versatile as hell. They come in handy for all kinds of stuff. I even invested in the "buffet rack" thing and it works great as well. I have this one, and I also have one that is, no doubt, 40 years old and has seen more church lunches and holiday buffets than it would be possible to count. They work. THey are cheap. And they will keep your neighbor on his side of the fence.

For that matter, you could just buy one and loan it to him. Holiday spirit, and all of that rot.

Humbug.

Brooks

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We grilled our Thanksgiving turkey for years, using a Weber charcoal grill with a top, so that it ends up being a bit smoked as well since you close the top. My husband takes care of the details, but I do recall that he had to add charcoal (pre-started) during the cooking time.

We've done it with quite large turkeys (one year we hosted a total of 26 people) and don't do anything special like butterflying, etc. The turkey is generally moister than when we do it in the oven. The smokiness enhances the turkey's flavor as well.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

does anyone have any experience using a grill to make a 12 lb or so turkey? 

We've done it in the Weber for several years, Tommy. Just cook it breast down on top of a sheet pan to catch the juices (if you want to catch them for gravy) at about 300-350 degrees until done, which should be like 3 hours. It doesnt come out photogenic if you are all into the presentation, but it comes out very juicy that way.

We typically do it with a Kosher turkey because its already brined.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What kind of gas grill does your neighbor have? If it's a Weber, I highly recommend the Weber rotisserie. It can be tricky to get a bird precisely balanced around the spit (truss it tight!) but actually the result is very moist, evenly browned, and almost completely unattended. The rotisserie is a little under US$100, and is very useful.

Walt

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

for 36 bucks i'll buy 2. (10 dollars a month on your sears card) :laugh:

this thing rules. out of stock, though.

lots of great ideas here. i'm getting all sucked in to the smoking and spatchcocking and whatnot, and then i realize who i'm dealing with.

i'll probably just deep fry it for him if the timnig works out. short of that it's going in a pan in the weber in his yard. nice and easy.

thanks!

(although keep the suggestions coming, as i'll no doubt waffle several more times before next week).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What JPW just said. Although I try to get the temperature down even lower than 350, more in the 250-300 range. You're not taking up your oven, so it is better cooked long and slow.

Oh, btw, yes, I have done this, two thanksgivings ago in fact.

Now there two other major options to consider. First, pan or no pan. Second, breast up or down. If prefer breast down in a pan. But that only works if you aren't of the "show off the pretty turkey at the table" tradition. If you use stock to make your gravy and want a smokier more "grilled looking" bird, don't use a pan and add soaked wood chips in a small aluminum pan on top of the burners (under the grate). Make sure the drip pan is clean at the beginning of the day.

The following will result in one ugly-ass, but delicious bird:

  • (Preheat the grill, get it very hot) Start with a brined fresh free range organic, etc., premium bird. Or, just use a kosher one. That's what I do. Put it in a disposable pan, breast side down. You can use a rack or not, the breast is still going to be ugly and the skin won't crisp on top (of the breast, which is actually the bottom in my version), so I don't bother. Add things to the pan if you like them to flavor the drippins, like chunks of onion, carrot & celery. Add a cup of white wine to the pan. I like to shove flavorings under the turkey's skin, herbs like sage & stuff. Then the coup de grace: Lay several slices of bacon across the top (the dark meat area) of the bird. Yes, I know I told you to use a kosher turkey, but I don't keep kosher and the bacon adds A LOT. So :P If you keep kosher, I suppose you could just slather it with duck or goose fat or some other kosher schmaltz. But the bacon is good. Oh and shove some aromatics in the cavity. Garlic, lemon, more herbs, but no edible stuffing. Make that in the oven, you've got plenty of room.
    The whole point of cooking it upside down is that the dark meat usually takes longer to cook than the white meat. Especially when you cook it the traditional breast side up way, even more especially if you truss the bird. Notice I didn't tell you to truss the bird? You're going to carve this thing in the kitchen, and the dark meat will be done sooner because you are cooking it more exposed to the heat, so it will be done at the same time as the white meat. Finally, the dark meat side has more fat than the white meat side. So gravity combined with more fattiness + bacon will make the bird self-baste the white meat section. Not to mention the white meat will be sitting in the wine/drippings, so it will be bathed in goodness and be amazingly juicy at the end of cooking.
    Is the grill hot? OK, put the pan with the turkey on the grill (you'll probably have to remove the upper racks, I should have told you to do that when you went outside to preheat the grill, shouldn't I have, always fun doing that when they're preheated to 700 degrees, huh?). Turn the burners down for indirect heat. L-O-L (low-off-low) should allow the outdoor oven to cool off to around 300 within twenty minutes or so. You should leave the thing alone for at least the first hour. Just make sure the heat gets to or under 350. If it's too low after a half hour, you can move one or both burners to medium. If it's too high (doubtful), you can turn the front burner off, but if you do that, check to make sure the temp doesn't get too low.
    Once you've got the cooking temperature stable and in the 250-350 range, you can insert a probe thermometer in to the thigh and set it for 160 (it's not done yet). It should take 12-15 min per pound for it to completely cook, depending on the grill temp and outside weather (although that mainly effects the settings to maintain the grill temp). So the probe thermometer should go off around a half-hour before the bird is done. (if you don't have a probe thermometer, take the bird's temp with an instant read over the course of the last calculated hour.)
    Now, you can cook it the whole time in the pan, but if you want to crisp up the breast skin and make gravy with the drippings, you need to intervene around 160. Go outside with two half-sheet pans, pot holders and a roll of paper towels (or turkey grabbers if you got them). Slide one sheet pan under the disposable pan/turkey. Remove from grill. Using turkey lifters or wads of paper towel as pot holders, pick up the turkey and put it back on the grill (still breast side down). Turn up the heat and grill for 10-15 minutes to crisp the skin. You may want to turn it 1/4 turn half-way in to get pretty grill marks.
    Meanwhile, take the pan inside, strain, defat, make gravy. Put the other sheet pan on top of the grill, to heat, and be ready to remove the turkey to it when the grill marks look nice and the internal temperature reaches around 175 in the thigh. Oh, don't leave the probe in the bird when you turn the heat back up, the wire can't handle the higher temperatures (which is why we didn't stick it into the bird until an hour in, when the grills temp came down).
    Bring inside. Allow to rest. Carve. Impress.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just checked my Weber Silver C manual - according to the directions, a whole 12-14 lb turkey, unstuffed, should cook on medium indirect heat, breast-side-up for 2 1/4-3 hours. It recommends using a roasting rack set inside a foil drip pan for most of the cooking time, then placing the bird directly on the grill for the last 1/2 hour.

Indirect heat was defined as having the burners around the bird on (so, in the case of the Silver C, the front & back burners would be on, but the middle burner would be off).

Does he have a natural gas grill? No need to worry about filling the propane tank.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tommy, I've grilled many turkeys. I prefer to do them in a charcoal Weber, but I've also done them on a gas grill. Indirect method either way. I butterfly mine & rub it every half hour w/ a a half a lime. Just like w/ a chicken in the oven, butterflying gets it done quickly, evenly, and ensures a nice crispy skin.

Timing (butterfiled) is about 1 1/2 hours for a 12 lb. whole turkey & 2 1/4 hours for an 18 lb. turkey. Be sure to trim off the excess fat around the edges of the turkey or it will flare badly.

Don't throw away the carcass after diiner. The carcass from this turkey, mixed w/ a few fresh turkey wings, makes incredible stock for soup. Slightly smoky, very flavorful.

Word. :cool: What she said.

Weber "grilled" turkeys rock. The indirect heat, the drip pan, the domed lid...it's an oven with wheels in your backyard. And soup from the carcass is to die for. :wub:

Your neighbor should be able to handle it. Tell him to test drive a chicken this weekend as practice.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to comment
Share on other sites

does anyone have any experience using a grill to make a 12 lb or so turkey?  conversely, has anyone cooked 2 birds in the same oil without straining?  (i'd like to avoid that option, actually, as i don't necessarily need my neighbor in my backyard dunking a turkey into a boiling pot of oil as i'm sitting down to dinner.

or, perhaps there's an option i'm missing (short of him buying his own deep-frying kit and going it alone).

thanks.

One of the luxuries/hazards of working in a law office, as I do, is always thinking about liability. No way would I allow a neighbor, especially a drunken one, to use my turkey frying setup. Too many opportunities for disaster, which would surely be blamed on you in a lawsuit. I like the grilling option best, but if you decide to go with the frying option, absolutely do it for him. If he got hurt or set something on fire, you'd get a major ding on your homeowner's or renter's insurance, and you don't need that. And lawsuits are ugly, ugly, ugly things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In reality there is very little difference between using an outside Gas Grill and your oven. I personally cook the bird exactly the same in a roasting pan to catch the drippings. The only difference is in heat adjustment due to the outdoor temp. Indirect heat is best.

I would not let your neighbor use your fryer. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen. You could of course fry his bird first early in the morning. The same oil is good for multiple birds.

Never trust a skinny chef

Link to comment
Share on other sites

all of these ideas are great. i'm taking notes on both split and upside-down versions. but i get the sense that if you give this guy any advice at all - and he has any questions...he'll be knocking on your door for help.

what if you fried his turkey first? you'd be done with him after 40 minutes...and it seems as though the oil should be fine for you when his is done.

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

Link to comment
Share on other sites

during a recent email exchange with the neighbor, where i started to lay out the options, i received this:

"you give me waaaay too much credit. I will purchase a cooked turkey and heat it on the grill! "

game over. actually, i don't know why *i* didn't think of that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

during a recent email exchange with the neighbor, where i started to lay out the options, i received this:

"you give me waaaay too much credit.  I will purchase a cooked turkey and heat it on the grill! "

game over.  actually, i don't know why *i* didn't think of that.

What a shame. He could have broadened his horizons and found a new creative outlet. Just go out so you don't have to even clean up. :biggrin:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...