turkey on farm at sunset

Backyard Turkey Cooking

Outdoors with Spice and Oil or Smoke

Sometimes cooking in your backyard just makes sense. It may feel too hot to use the oven inside, or there isn't enough room in the oven or the party is outside, so that is where the cooking and the cook should be.

For making a whole bird, deep frying has become very popular. But other backyard cooking techniques are available that produce terrific results. Each of these methods will yield a turkey with a distinct, memorable flavor.

Deep Fried Turkey:

Deep fried turkey, sometimes called cajun turkey is a popular backyard turkey cooking method - and one that can not be done safely in the house.

This method must be performed outside - well away from anything that might catch fire. For this technique, a whole turkey is lowered very carefully into a large, stable pot of hot frying oil - peanut oil is recommended because it has a high smoking point and it gives a pleasant traditional flavor.

The method works especially well with smaller turkeys (10 - 12 pounds) and cooking time usually take less than an hour.

turkey injector

To prepare the turkey for deep frying it can be wet or dry brined, and then injected with a marinade using a special syringe type injector. Special marinade mixtures for this purpose are available in most grocery stores, or they can be mixed from scratch to suite your taste.

Here is the link for deep fried turkey techniques and recipes.

Hot Smoked or Barbecued Turkey:

Another popular backyard turkey cooking method is hot smoking also known as barbecue. This can be done on covered grills or on dedicated smokers of various designs.

Because covered grills vary in design, the specific manner of cooking will depend on the type of equipment being used. The turkey is never cooked directly over a flame and a pan of water or other liquid is placed under the turkey to catch drippings and to create a moist environment.

A smoker, depending on its design, can use wood, charcoal, gas, or electricity for fuel. A smoker cooks the turkey and, at the same time, adds smoke flavor during the hot smoke process.

Cooking times can vary greatly depending on the temperature of the smoke, temperature of the coals, temperature of the outside air, movement of the outside air (wind), size of the turkey, and amount of smoke flavor desired. Temperature control is important to be sure the turkey moves quickly out of the "danger zone" for bacteria growth (between 40° F and 140° F) while being barbequed.

Here is a link for the barbecuing tips and our barbecued turkey recipe.

Rotisserie Turkey:

Smoked Rotisserie Turkey

Rotisserie grilling, also called spit roasting, is a backyard turkey cooking method which is done on a rotating skewer assembly.

Although rotisserie cooking is done over a grill, it differs from both grilling and barbecuing and produces results which are unique to this process.

Grilling is done directly over a heat source, and barbecuing or hot smoking is done in a closed chamber filled with heat and smoke. In contrast, a rotating rotisserie places the bird very close to a direct heat source for a portion of time and then moves it away as the skewer rotates. As a cooking method it is both intense and gentle.

The area of the turkey closest to the heat source is heated intensely. As the spit turns, that area moves away and gives up heat while the adjacent area rotating into position is heated next. This process gently heats the interior of the bird while the rotation allows juices to travel around the surface of the turkey so that it bastes itself.

Here is the link for Rotisserie Turkey Recipe.


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