The turkey I did was unique for two reasons. One, I brined it the night before. I've never done that before with a turkey, and I was really pleased with the results. Two, it was a pretty large bird, and I cooked it in our 14" deep dutch oven. I was initially skeptical that I would be able to do it. Previously, I'd only done a 16 lb turkey in it, and I thought that was the maximum.
The turkey did fit, but in order to be able to fit the lid on, I had to do CPR on the turkey and crunch it up a little. That also meant I didn't stuff it. That also meant that I didn't do any veggies around the turkey like I usually do.
- 1lb salt
- 1lb brown sugar
- lots of water
The night before, I made up this mix. I started with some hot tap water (maybe a couple of quarts) and dissolved the salt and sugar. I let that cool. I put the thawed turkey into a big storage tub that I had cleaned really well, and poured cold water around it, ending with the salt/sugar water. I also put in some ice, though that wasn't probably necessary. I put that whole thing, with the lid on, in my garage. It was supposed to be down in the 30's all night, so I was reasonably assured of its safety.
The next day, About 4-5 hours before dinner time, I started up some coals. I mixed up an herbal rub, kinda like what I did that first year (see below), and basted that over the top of the bird. I usually stick it all over with a knife to make holes in the skin for the baste to seep through.
Then I put it on the coals, and roasted it for a very long time. In roasting, I try to maintain an equal amount of heat from the bottom and the top. The rest of the time was spent cooking the other dishes and maintaining the heat.
I like the extra zing that the the brining gave the turkey meat. It really added to it. It was a bit subtle, but it made a difference on my palate...
So, here's a reference list to the other times I've done a dutch oven turkey. There are quite a few variations in the seasonings and the approach. You tell me if you use any of them this Thanksgiving or Christmas, and let me know how it goes!
Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.
Mark's Other Blog Posts: The Armor of God - Mormon Games, Making Money From a Blog, Alleluia