Friday, August 6, 2010

Buying a Dutch Oven to Cook a Turkey

Warning:  Shameless Affiliate Promotion Ahead

I just got an email from someone asking about buying a dutch oven to cook a turkey.  There are a lot of options, and which you’ll end up using depends a lot on what you want to do, especially how big a turkey you want to cook.

My first thought is to get a deep 14” dutch oven.  It’s surprising, but that can actually cook a pretty big bird, if that’s what you want to do.  I have two 14” deep dutch ovens, from some minor name brand.  My preference is to cook turkey hens in them (which are usually around 10-14 lbs).  That gives you plenty of room around the bird for air circulation and some veggies, like potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, etc...

I have, however, also used them at times to cook bigger birds, even up to 22 lbs.  Once, when cooking a big one, I had to give it CPR to get the lid to close, but it works.

The Amazon link, here, is a spot where you can buy one, and yes, if you do, I’ll make a commission.  The picture in the link is a generic dutch oven, and doesn't really show the size of the 14".  I hope that all comes across as legal disclosure instead of begging.  But then, again, I’m not above a little begging.

There are some additional options for cooking large turkeys.  One is the Maca oval dutch ovens. This link is not an affiliate, link, BTW.  These are really nice and huge.  They are heavy.  I’ve used one before, because I was cooking for all of my wife’s family at Christmas.  I had to borrow it, and I’m really glad I did.  It worked really well, and I’m grateful to the trusting soul that loaned it to me.  It will cook a really, really large turkey.

Another option is the Camp Chef Ultimate Turkey Roaster.  This is also not an affiliate link.  This is kind of an oddity in the dutch oven world.  It turns the turkey on it’s end, rather than resting on its back, as usual.  It’s like having two big pots, and you’re stacking one on top of the other.  I’ve never used one, but I’ve seen people do it, and I’ve seen them cook 20+ lb turkeys in it.

So, all three options work with large turkeys, although the Maca and the Camp Chef UDO would probably work better.

After all of my experiences cooking turkey, I think the way I’ll do it from now on, honestly is to stick to smaller birds in my 14”.  I think the smaller turkeys are juicier and tastier.  Alton Brown, of the show “Good Eats” on Food Network agrees with me. That is also not an affiliate link.  He says that the bigger turkeys are raised in small cages, pumped with hormones or other chemicals, and can barely stand to support their own weight. 

If I’m cooking for a crowd, like my in-laws, I can do two 14 lbers, cook them with different, unique seasonings and flavors, and actually have more meat than one 22 lber with one flavor.  Or, I can do one turkey and one ham.  With two 14” dutch ovens, I have more flexibility and better meat.  Win-win!

So, once again, we have a $75 answer to a $10 question.  By the way, here’s a link to my best turkey in a dutch oven recipes


Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: A Spiritual Epiphany

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