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Unread 12-28-2006, 02:38 PM   #1
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Default Strangest Thing, or Family Dinner lessons learned

This is a follow-on post to the "turkey troubles" thread below. Thought I'd start a new one since this has some new ideas, but the compelling event (smoking a turkey for a family dinner) is the same.

1st, the good - my new NuTemp 701 therm. AWESOME! The probe cord is long enough to reach the bottom shelf on my 'dera, so I don't have to do wierd things with the sensor, the base station is super easy to use, and the wireless xmitter range seems to be infinite! (every bedroom in the house, and the front yard posed no problems). Seemed to be quite accurate as well, compared to the probes I had sitting in the 'dera. really excited to get a second probe unit - one for air temps and one for meat temps - I'll never have to leave the couch!

Now, the interesting. If you read the thread below, you can skip a few lines. I bought an 11lb turkey from HEB, butterball, and thawed it overnight in cold water (as per the directions). When I opened it in the AM, there was still some ice around the giblets, but the turkey seemed thawed and we went on our way. On the smoker, avg teemp about 300, three, four, five hours. A temp probe that I had stuck deep into the breast read no more than 140 ... checking the thighs, legs, etc read 175-180, as was proper. I came to the conslucion that the turkey hadn't thawed all the way, and that the resulting ice was impeding the cook. No worries - as per Thillin's suggestion, I pulled the legs, thighs and wings off (because they were done, and they were GOOD), and put the breast/body of the turkey back in the smoke. At this point I also kicked up the temp, to around 330+.

The end result? At the EIGHT HOUR mark, I gave up, and the probe in the breast still read only 145. I took the turkey inside, and cut through the middle of the breast to find some cooked meat, and some uncooked meat. I still can't believe that - eight hours at 300+, and there's still uncooked meat. I don't care how frozen it was, that's enough time to thaw and then to cook, probabaly twice over. Anyone ever seen this? Wow ...

Gotta finish on a high note, however - the dark meat from the legs + thighs was the best turkey I'd ever had. Ours is a turkey-eatin' family - roasted, fried, baked, etc, and this was very seriously the best I'd ever had. Now I really want to try another turkey and over-do the thawing, just to prove to myself that that was the problem in the first place. If I can get the easy-to-dry-out white meat to match the dark meat from yesterday's bird, I'll be the family hero, no lie.

Anyhow, interesting times. I also learned that burning wood makes the 'dera seriously easier to control. Makes sense - more control over the igniton of the wood, and the size of the fuel added (split the logs once or twice, fi you need to). I also had my first experience cooking in windy conditions - I didn't have major spikes, but keeping the temps level was definately harder. Also, it seemed to accelerate the fuel consumption something fierce - I went through an entire 2 cu ft bag of splits (the kind from academy) in a 7 hour cook last week. Good times :).
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Unread 12-28-2006, 02:48 PM   #2
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That does seem strange. My sister-in-law cooked a partially frozen one on Christmas eve. It was a 20 pounder though and was done in the oven. It finished somwhere around 1030 that night after everyone had left (we ate my smoked ham), I think she started it around 11 for a 6pm dinner. The sad thing was I spent about an hour when I got there trying to figure out what she had done wrong before it hit me, I was checking the temps with my thermo pen. There was no doubt that her's had a little more than just some ice crystals on the inside.

I am going to have to get me one of those Nu-Temps, they sound like good product.
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