Turkey timing

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chrislehrer, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    I'm thinking of convection slow-roasting (180F/82C) a spatchcocked 12-pound (5.5kg) turkey. The plan is to pull it, let it rest in a low warming oven while things like stuffing bake, then the turkey gets brushed generously with fat and goes back in at 550F/288C convection about 10-15 until crackling gold.

    I'm having some trouble estimating how long the initial slow bake will take. Anyone?

    Summary:
    - 180F
    - spatchcocked
    - convection
    - final temp about 150 breasts, 155 legs
     
  2. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Basically my smoker is a convection oven. It has in and out airflow all the time. 14 lb bird convection at 285F is about 2.5 hours. For me, there's no value in cooking poultry low and slow. I actually prefer 325+, but I can't get it that hot. That 10 min at 550 isn't going to render the subcutaneous fat as much as burn the surface. You need the 325F temperature mark over time to render the fat beneath the skin. That's key to crisp skin.

    For best texture, I'm aiming to pull at 150-155 white and 165-170 dark. I'm doing multiple turkeys that finish at who knows what time so they go to hold in the cambro at least 1 hour for carryover cooking but I can hold as long as I want.

    TL;DR - I would recommend going hotter, finishing the turkey earlier, and holding it warm in a faux cambro aka cooler. That gives you 1 - 4 hours to finish your other cooking.

    There are a lot of ways to get there. Let us know how it turns out!

    PS a chinese method for peking duck is to heat up oil and then ladle that over to get that crispy skin finish. it works.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I would think the heat transfer is so slow that you'll be in the danger zone too long at that hundred eighty degrees. But I don't know for sure.
     
  4. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    The basic method is pretty well established. An initial sear or flash-boil or whatever is supposed to kill surface bacteria. The very slow roast prevents the muscle fibers from contracting much, so they don't squeeze out juice. I've roasted whole chickens this way, and you get no pan drippings: all the moisture stays in the bird, which is ridiculously juicy.

    My rough estimate here is about 4 hours to cook, after which I can rest it as long as need be in a 150F warmer, followed by the final flash-browning.

    Guesses?
     
  5. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Start checking temps after 3 hours and give yourself 5 hours. If it's toooo slow, you can always increase the heat. One other thing I forgot... If you're cooking at 180F, expect your carryover cooking is going to be a lot less than normal.
     
  6. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Thanks! -- that's pretty much exactly what I was estimating, which suggests I'm not totally screwing up. Cross your fingers!
     
  7. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    I'm going to revise my advice based on anecdotal evidence.. I did 14 lb spatchcocked turkey yesterday at 285 convection and that took 2.5 hours + an hour rest. If you're leaving it whole and cooking at 180F, give yourself 5 hours plus time to rest.
     
  8. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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  9. Tracy Turner

    Tracy Turner

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    This is just the thread I was looking for this Thanksgiving season!