I’m staring at a bowl of green beans that needs to be cleaned, so I’ll try to make this brief. Last night, I rubbed my bird with the Pavo al Horno rub and wrapped in plastic before placing in the fridge. I’l going to let y’all in on a little secret for getting a perfectly-cooked bird.
One of the biggest challenges on Thanksgiving is ensuring the bird gets evenly cooked. In general, by the time the dark meat is to temperature, the breast meat is dry and stringy. I’ve got a few tips to pass along that I’ve been using with great success over the past several years.
First, allow the turkey to come up to room temperature while you preheat your grill. You’re not grilling this year? Oh well, this will work for you kitchen-bound peeps also. While the bird comes up to room temp, place a gallon-sized baggie over the breast meat. This will keep the breast chilled while the rest comes up to room temp. That way, your dark meat already has a head start when it goes into the grill (oven, whatever.)
Second, well actually the night before, so you’ll have to go back in time if you missed this step. (vworp! wvorp! wvorp! /TARDIS) Halve some lemons and pack them with some softened butter. I usually put herbs in my butter. This year, however, I’ve used some of the spices from my brine and rub. Place the butter-lemons butter-side down into some plastic wrap and tighten. Pop them in the freezer.
If there are any children in the room, you may want to ask them to step out now.
Now, back in the present, slide your hands under the skin of the bird over the breast meat. You may have done this last night when you rubbed your chicken. Insert the lemons, butter-side down, under the skin. As the bird cooks, this will also keep the breast meat a little behind the dark meat. The lemons and butter will also baste the breast meat with flavorful juices as they melt.
Our Big Green Egg is set up for indirect heat and has been holding a 325 degree F fire for about an hour. I test-fitted the turkey before I brined it to make sure this configuation. However, I DIDN’T expect my lemon-breast augmentation to add so much height to the bird. So, I decided to skip the V-rack and use some onions to prop the turkey up off the bottom of the pan.
The bird went into the Egg just before 10:00 AM. I’ll check the bird in about an hour.