Turkey baking analysis

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Last year I got a 15lb Butter Ball and use Snoop Dogg's recipe. Turned out too salty because I didn't realize ButterBall is already brine and Snoop Dogg ask me to dry brine it with 2 tb of salt.... Other than being too salty it taste real good with the herb butter under skin and orange / onion stuffed in the cavity roasting method.

This year I got a 8.14lb unbrine Whole Food young turkey (no family gathering) and I use a combination of Snoop Dogg's herb butter under skin, and Jean-Pierre's recommendation to roast at 325F till the thigh joint is 160F, and internet's recommendation to wet brine.

The turkey turns out dry on the breast and the thigh is pink (I feel like it is under cooked with pink liquid at the bone and between skin and meat. I suspect I did something wrong. Any suggestion on what might have happened? What I did is the following:

1. bird not frozen
2. wash in cold water
3. brine in a 6 qt pot (with the breast face down and the drumstick sticking above water, because it won't fit and this is the largest container I have). Brine is 3 qt water, 1/3 cup of salt and 1 tbsp of sugar boiled then ice cooled to refrigerator temperature.
4. brine 24 hr
5. wash in sink
6. dry uncovered in fridge for another 16 hr
7. 6 tbsp of butter mixed with thyme, sage, and tangerine zest, stuffed as much as i can under skin, about 1/2 of that, the other half goes on the turkey skin on breast thigh and leg.
8. stuff 1 small apple, 1/2 large onion, 3 tangerines' peel inside the cavity with some thyme and sage.
9. make a bed on baking tray with 20 small apple's peel and core (the apples went to 2 apple pie) and 1/2 large onion
10. put apple core and onion between breast and wing to keep wings moist and not overcooked
11. put turkey on the apple core + peel + onion bed, wrap aluminum foil on the turkey (4 layers on breast, 1 layer on leg and wing.
12. Pre-heat oven to 400
13. Put bird in low rack, adjust temperature to 325 (exactly that when I adjust it, seems like opening and closing the oven door will drop 75F).
14. Bake 1:15
15. Take bird out, preheat oven to 400
16. Remove aluminum foils
17. Put bird back and bake at 325 again (exactly this temperature again when the bird goes in)
18. Remove bird after another 1:15, thermometer read 155F on one hip joint and 150 at another.
19. Rotate bird left side right, back in the oven for another 10 mins.
20. Remove bird and check temperature again, this time it is 158-165 on both sides.

passed lunch time, kept on table for 4 hrs, then put bird back in the oven at 150F for 15 mins to warm up, take it out and carve.

It is tougher than last year but the turkey is just right saltiness wise. I felt like either I made a mistake or that's how unbrine / young turkey / insufficient water to brine / too little salt / too long of a bake time / reheat a bird again / 325F baking for a longer time instead of 350F for a shorter time / whole food turkey is supposed to taste like.

Any suggestion on what I could have done better? Jean-Pierre recommend instead of brine use 3/4 lb of butter and orange wedges in large bird cavity instead, and bake with thermometer stick to the joint and use that instead of a timer approach to decide how long to bake for. I personally do not like to have too much butter flavor so I cut out some butter, and didn't use those fancy stay with the bird thermometer. Nor did I baste the bird or flip it.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
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Oklahoma
Well, I'm no good at baking a turkey but here's what I can offer...

Last year I got a 15lb Butter Ball and use Snoop Dogg's recipe.
This doesn't exactly give 99.9% of readers any confidence right out of the gate.

passed lunch time, kept on table for 4 hrs
This sounds like a perfect recipe for extra bacteria seasoning.


So where did you go wrong? You didn't fry it!
20201130_024736.jpg
 
Joined
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That's alot of work I believe is not necessary
1 brine ok
2 skip all that butter bs
3 don't stuff celery onions carrots bottom of roaster ok oil bird rub with dry sage dry rosemary salt pepper 16oz chicken stock bottom of roaster
4 thermometer in thickest part of breast we want 170F
5 oven bake 325 I always keep at this temperature slow and low is key. With covered foil reaching a temp to 150 uncover baste carefully with the fat that has come to the very top of roaster that is key only the fat in the baster. You may have to pull some broth that has collected on bottom.
6 in oven now uncovered till 160 pull and baste again repeat as above now looking for color on bird and crisp skin back in oven with cover loosely or uncovered if needs browning.
7 170F no more is what we pull it at out of oven let rest lightly covered at least 30min.
8 you can make gravy when bird is resting.
9 carve eat.
 
Joined
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That's alot of work I believe is not necessary
1 brine ok
2 skip all that butter bs
3 don't stuff celery onions carrots bottom of roaster ok oil bird rub with dry sage dry rosemary salt pepper 16oz chicken stock bottom of roaster
4 thermometer in thickest part of breast we want 170F
5 oven bake 325 I always keep at this temperature slow and low is key. With covered foil reaching a temp to 150 uncover baste carefully with the fat that has come to the very top of roaster that is key only the fat in the baster. You may have to pull some broth that has collected on bottom.
6 in oven now uncovered till 160 pull and baste again repeat as above now looking for color on bird and crisp skin back in oven with cover loosely or uncovered if needs browning.
7 170F no more is what we pull it at out of oven let rest lightly covered at least 30min.
8 you can make gravy when bird is resting.
9 carve eat.
20181122_183444.jpg
 
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20. Remove bird and check temperature again, this time it is 158-165 on both sides.

passed lunch time, kept on table for 4 hrs, then put bird back in the oven at 150F for 15 mins to warm up, take it out and carve.
You cooked the bird to temp, removed it from the oven, let it rest at room temp for 4 (!) hours, then stuck it back in the oven to warm it up?

That's a problem. Leaving prepared food at room temp for that long isn't safe. Resting poultry for that long and then reheating is basically making leftovers.

The thermometer is king. 165 is safe to eat. Seeing some pink, especially deep in the bird near a bone, is normal. Those areas have higher concentrations of myoglobin, which will give the meat and juices a red/pink look. Strong muscles, like thighs, need lots of oxygen. Myoglobin carries and stores oxygen, so seeing it in higher concentrations in those muscles is normal. This is especially true of older, wild, or free-range turkeys, which tend to have more freedom and movement than your typical factory-farm birds.
 
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Wow, sounds like way too much work.
I buy a butterball and follow the instructions on their website.
Thaw the turkey
Bake the turkey
Eat the turkey.
KIS

Been buying Butterball for years following the instructions that come with the turkey, and it comes out great every time. I do stuff mine with Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned stuffing that I prepare according to the instructions. I make two packs, stuff the turkey, and then bake the rest in the oven.
 
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Way too many Cirque du Soleil gyrations going on. Brine or no brine, stuff or no stuff, your choice. An 8 lb. turkey should take approx. 2.5 hours to cook to reach internal temp of 165 - 170. First is to take it out of the fridge for 1 - 1.5 hours before cooking, allow it to warm up a bit. Cook it, then let it rest for 1.5 hours before carving. The turkey released its juice, then you put it back in. I would say that's the problem. Cook it, and resting is just as important as coking.
 
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I fried a 17lb for the first time this Thanksgiving. Came out excellent! I liked it. Also did a 18+lb bird in the rotisserie. As good as the fried method is nothing IMHO beats the rotisserie. I brine my birds 12 hours in a cooler with 1lb salt and 1lb brown sugar per bird and a bag of ice. The fried bird really locks in the salt. That was the drawback for me on the fried bird. I don't eat much salt.

I was lucky to grow up with a grandfather who retired Chief from the Navy after WWII and was the head of a culinary department at a well known university. Easy way to cook a bird in an oven: Clean; brine; onion, fresh black pepper, carrot, celery, fresh thyme, rosemary, sage in the cavity. Put in roaster bag with some light flour. Cut a steam hole in bag. Cook breast down 3/4 of the way. Remove bag, flip breast up, and brown the skin until about 10 degrees F before the breast reaches cooked temp. Remove and rest for 30 minutes. Meat will be nice and juicy.
 
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My turkey recipe is:

Buy turkey, butterball and store brand taste the same, did one of each this year
Inject both turkeys with 1 full jar of creole butter each
coat both turkeys liberally with tony's seasoning
fry 3.5-4 min per pound
 
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We cooked a 11 or 12 pound butterball purchased unfrozen from Costco. We stuck an internal meat thermometer deep into the thigh with a easy read temperature guage outside the oven connected to the turkey with a wire. Put some seasoned salt on it and cooked it to exactly180 degrees in a 325 oven, per butterball's instructions with foil on top the last third of the cooking time.

Came out perfect, breast still juicy and the thigh cooked through with the faintest hint of pink deep near the bone. Legs and wings were also perfect. It was far and away the best we ever cooked.
 
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My turkey recipe is:

Buy turkey, butterball and store brand taste the same, did one of each this year
Inject both turkeys with 1 full jar of creole butter each
coat both turkeys liberally with tony's seasoning
fry 3.5-4 min per pound
I noticed you said "jar" instead of bottle. (y) C.I. is the only way to go.

That green and yellow trash doesn't belong anywhere near a bird. I'll allow the rub in a pinch when C.I.'s Cajun Shake can't be had.

I used to use 3.5-4 minutes per pound on the large birds (20+lbs.), but I've found that using slightly smaller birds (15-18lbs., doubled up if necessary) and 3-3.5 minutes per pound is much better. When doubled, it also allows for more than one flavor. Ultimately, whenever the breasts reach 160 degrees, it comes out to rest. It always gains 5-15 degrees while resting, satisfying the 165 recommendation.

Propane is the only way to go, but there are those times where weather requires you to dig out the electric fryer. Another reason I prefer to keep the birds under 18lbs. Even with a 14-pounder, the electric never recovers it's ideal oil temperature during the entire cook time. The skin always ends up soggy.

I asked several newer people in my circle this year if they've ever had fried turkey. ALL of them said no. It's a crime. Needless to say, I've converted several new households.
 

PandaBear

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For those of you frying your bird. What do you do with the oil afterward and do you use the fryer only once or twice a year?
 
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For those of you frying your bird. What do you do with the oil afterward and do you use the fryer only once or twice a year?

I've got a little electric pump with a strainer on the end of it. It cleans it so well I've used the same oil again the next year with no issues. I use an electric for turkeys and it only uses a couple gallons of oil. My gas frier is huge and it takes 4+ gallons to cover the bird. I usually have a fish fry or two throughout the year though and get fresh oil for thanksgiving. This year I fried 2 turkeys in the same oil, then fried a bunch of shrimp and a couple 'bloomin' onions so the oil is pretty nasty now.
 

gathermewool

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We wet-brined and spatch-cocked the turkey this year and it was one of the best I've ever had, though admittedly a little salty.

1. Transfer bird from freezer --> fridge a few days before cooking
2. Wet(bag)-brine overnight, then drain
3. Break breast bone and lay bird flat on tray (on raised, grate actually)
-----This required a lot of knife and a lot of force
-----No stuffing - all this does is waste time --> cook it separately
4. Shove temperature probe into bird breast, all the way into the thickest part
5. Bake @ 350F for 2:15, which is how long it took get to 165F on the monitor
-----buttered the bird over the last bit, as well as added some extra herbs
-----No cover was necessary while baking for shut a short period of time --> the skin came out great!
 

PandaBear

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3 don't stuff celery onions carrots bottom of roaster ok oil bird rub with dry sage dry rosemary salt pepper 16oz chicken stock bottom of roaster
So you leave the cavity empty? or did you put herb inside?

I saved the 3 tangerine peels, and 20 apple peels and cores etc from the week's worth of fruit we eat and pie baking, so it was just scrap anyways so I though we might as well use it to "perfume" the bird. It does smell pleasant (fruity, not greasy) though.
 

gathermewool

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So you leave the cavity empty? or did you put herb inside?

I saved the 3 tangerine peels, and 20 apple peels and cores etc from the week's worth of fruit we eat and pie baking, so it was just scrap anyways so I though we might as well use it to "perfume" the bird. It does smell pleasant (fruity, not greasy) though.

I feel like stuffing the bird just adds that much more mass to heat, resulting in prolonged cook times. Soaking or dry-rubbing the bird ahead of time adds way more flavor than from the inside.
 
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So you leave the cavity empty? or did you put herb inside?

I saved the 3 tangerine peels, and 20 apple peels and cores etc from the week's worth of fruit we eat and pie baking, so it was just scrap anyways so I though we might as well use it to "perfume" the bird. It does smell pleasant (fruity, not greasy) though.
Correct I have just been rubbing bird with herbs and vegtibals and herbs in bottom of roaster. Anytime you stuff it just prolongs cooking.
 
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