Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dutch Oven Turkey

We did one of our Thanksgiving celebrations early this year.  My father came into town from Indiana, and since that doesn't happen very often, we decided to invite over my sister and her husband and call it a holiday.

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.

The Brine

  • 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!

And here's some informative articles

And don't forget to make some stock and soup after its all done!

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,


  1. Ok, that sounds seriously good, but instead of using traditional mashed potatoes, since you used brown sugar, what about doing maple or sweet potatoe mashed potatoes and have you ever tried cooking or broiling it in halogen ovens like the flavorwave oven?

  2. Yummy! I cooked a Turkey breast in the DO Sunday. I should have CPRed it instead of turning it on it's side LOL It was good though. It was the Orange Honey Ginger Turkey Breast in "The Field Guide to Dutch Oven Cooking"

  3. I enjoy your site. I really like the Turkey. I'm hooked on Dutch Ovens and use mine regularly. Keep up the great blog. I'm sure I'll be back. It keeps me motivated.

  4. From your concern of safety:

    The brine is safety enough. The high concentration of salts and sugars prevents bacteria and spores from growing and or proliferating.

    This is why the pioneers cured fish, pork, beef in a brine...

  5. You always share best recipe for all food and it's really amazed me. I have also seen your some dessert recipe in your few contents. All of dessert I always like baklava and nowadays baklava online has also become very famous. So, anyone can order this online by sitting down at home.

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