A Turkey, A Weber and 1-deg-F

The weather for Christmas stunk this year; snow followed by lots of ice. But, we kept indoors and had a very relaxing holiday.

However, we still needed to cook the holiday bird. Recipes developed for barbecueing from the infamous Weber Grill Company (note the sucking up so I can be in their televeision commercial) are created based on an ambient temperature of 60-deg-F. I figured it'd be about March before we saw those temps and the bird needed to be done by 4 pm. On Christmas morning, it was only 1-deg-F (note the ice covered bush in the foreground: proof it's wicked cold out). Luckily, it wasn't windy. Wind makes temperature control nearly impossible in the cold.

I knew my Weber was still the weapon of choice for our brined bird. The 8-pounder was prepared in the same manner described previously (only it wasn't given a name). The cold posed a bit of a challenge but a relatively steady temp of about 300 +/- 40 degrees was still realized; it simply required a bit more lump charcoal than anticipated. Four hours later, we had our bronzed turkey resting and waiting for dinner. It was pretty tasty and we reached a new low in 'cue.


Anonymous said...

Hey mang,

Jeez, that is cold. We did a smoked meal on the 26th, it was cold. But not your cold. The wind started kicking up about 3 or 4 hours in and yeah, keeping the temp up and stable was a bit tough. Everything came out just fine though, meat & coals are cool that way. Where's the picture of your bird? You need that.

Dr. Biggles / http://www.meathenge.com/

Dave said...

Yeah, I'm still cold thinking about it. The picture looked just like Tom from the previous smoking. Mmmmm, just had the leftovers.

Anonymous said...

Those temperatures sure facilitate brining large cuts of meat don't they? I mean, if I put my brining turkey out my back door it would rot. Or get really "odd".
I'm not a fan of the qued turkey. Gravy is too much a part of my life, I get cranky if I get turkey and no gravy.


Dave said...

Hey Dr. Biggles,
I brine any poultry. Keeps the inside moist so I can get a good browning on the exterior and don't have to worry so much about internal temps and times.

Anonymous said...

+1 degree! That isn't too bad. A couple weeks ago, I grilled some bison burgers and I'd be the temps wasn't about -10 degrees at the time.

What do you brine your turkey in? Also, what (if any) wood do you use for smoke?


Dave said...

Hey Eric,
My brine is simple 1/4 C salt and 1/4 C brown sugar per 1 qt water. For this bird I made a gallon of that mixture. And for this, I didn't want lots of smoke flavor so I used only lump charcoal and relied on the native flavor of the chunks I was using; no external wood for extra smoke.

-10-deg-F! Impressive. Too cold for me. The dog and I are inside under blankets. Gotta draw the line somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah,

I'm in to the brining. I was just pointing out the fact I'm not able to use the outdoors as my fridge. I have to use a large cooler or use small birds/pork loin roast.

I'm a lot more fussy about my internal temperatures than I used to be. I smoked a stuffed pork shoulder for 6.5 hours on Sunday and the internal temp rose to 156 or was it 158, I cain't remember. That for me is a wonderful success. The smoke ring was about an inch thick, that's quite a bit. Most of my beef won't go past 135. For me it makes all the difference in the world. Yum.

Biggles / http://www.meathenge.com/

Dave said...

I really need to move to a warmer climate!

For turkey, I find the brining especially useful since it hits internal 170F within a couple hours but I like a good crunch on the outside and that's what the brine does for me. I can cook and cook and just not dry it out.

Leftovers - day 3 and happy as a clam. I think I'm gonna do a quick and dirty porkloin next.

Anonymous said...

Tee hee, for a crispy bird skin I rub it with butter. And just for fun take smoked bacon and slip it under the skin over the breast, two good slices per side.

Pork loin roast? Yum. Bone in, right? You gots yer brine recipe for that?

3 c. salt (kosher type)
5 c. sugar
5 gallons water
2 T black peppercorns
10 allspice berries
3 cloves
5 bay leaves
2 juniper berries

Dissolve the sugar and salt in 2 gallons hot water and let stand with all
the spices for about an hour or so until they are nicely steeped. Add 3
gallons cold water and pour over rinsed pork. Refrigerate for at least
three days, depending on the cut.

A note on brines- the meat takes them much better when it is tepid than when
it is ice cold.

note: You could surely cut down on the salt amount and maybe only brine over night.

Biggles / http://www.meathenge.com/

Dave said...

Thanks for your brine recipe. I've never spiced it. Was always skeptical about the spice actually getting into the meat. I'm looking forward to trying it.

Re: the pork loin, I was considering a high temp grilling of a boneless pork loin for a change and just something quick.

That bacon under the skin and o'er the breast sounds just unbelievable. I'll keep it in mind when the memory of the leftovers fades. Thanks Dr. B!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, high temperature grilling of a pork loin?

Might be tough, depending on the size of the sucker.

What I do for larger cuts of meat or even whole chickens (flattened or not), is to sear them first pretty darn well over the coals. This will caramelize the outside and give you the flavors you're looking for. Then toss it to the side and cook indirectly until done. This will retain the juiciness of the roast. Otherwise, if'n you ain't careful you'll cook all the fat out of the meat, rendering it dry. This is really easy to do if you don't watch the internal temp like a hawk.


Dave said...

Much better plan, thanks. I was thinking of a small one, just a couple pounds.

Anonymous said...

A coupla pounds, yeah that's a quick grill alright. By the time you sear it nice it'll be half done. I say grill the sucker. Again though, watch that internal temp and pull at 152 or so. Otherwise you'll have a pork stick.

Speaking of watching temps, I just picked me up one of these, looks like the price increased 18 bux in two weeks. Eeek!


This is a super badass rig, reads fast, accurate and leaves a SMALL hole when you poke stuff. Plus it'll read surface temps too. Foldable probe means it tucks away in yer pocket. I got me a red one, LOVE it. I take it with me whenever I go to a party, I don't trust anyone with my meat. Plus I look really cool when I whip it out to test the roast in 4 seconds.


Anonymous said...
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Dave said...

Happy New Year Mr. B.

Got one of those thermometers (similar anyway). Real fine probe tip, fast read, wouldn't cook without it. The pork loin, brined, boneless and fatside up goes on today!