I’ve seen several methods and orientations for cooking a turkey in a Dutch Oven. However in 13 years at Camp Chef….I’ve never prepared one, in one. I’ve deep fried them, used the Ultimate Roaster, Keg Roaster, Smoke Vault, standard oven methods but never in a Dutch/Camp Oven. So come along while I give this a whirl and we will see how we do.
I thawed a 12 pound turkey (11.77 to be exact) slightly butter the inside of the Camp Chef Deluxe 12 inch Dutch oven. I chose this oven because it has a taller lid and deeper well. The bird just barely fit with the lid resting on the bird. I laid the bird breast down since that is where the volume of the meat is and the most direct amount of heat coming from the burner. I used the Camp Chef Somerset two burner patio stove. Each burner puts out 30, 000 BTU’s. And I used the Dutch Dome.
My thoughts going into this was to do the bird “straight up” no fancy stuff. Basically we stuffed the bird in the pot breast down. Placed the Camp Chef thermometer in the breast, set on the lid and the Dutch Dome, turned the stove to medium heat and got out of the way.
The thermometer you can set to go off and tell you the temperature inside the meat you want to achieve. We set it at 165, knowing the bird would continue to cook another 5 to 10 degrees if we shut off the oven and allowed it to rest before carving.
Well it turned into a bit of a group project. I got side tracked on the phone. Customer service was watching the temp gage. The engineer had to double check the gauge with his laser (that is what engineers do). While I’d sprinkled a little red based seasoning on the back of the bird for color. The plan had been to remove the lid about the last 15 minutes and replace the dome and see if it browned like the dome does on cobblers. We missed that communication and the engineer. Used my old top browning method by heating the lid over the other burner and then replacing it to get some color to the skin cause, that is what engineers will do.
Customer service and the engineer has been probing the dickens out of the bird with the thermometer to check doneness on different parts of the bird. That kinda threw off the thermometer timing accuracy. When I got out to take a look at it, the wings were split with the bones showing which usually means it is done and it was. It had gotten to 175 in the thighs and the thick front of the breast where the wing bones attach. We had to look at the breast and see what that looked like and while it was brown it wasn’t brown all over. Flopping the bird on its back and replacing the lid I ran to the store for rolls. So the bird rested for 20 minutes. When I pulled the bird to carve it the breast had gotten to 190 degrees (which is the temp where the little thermometers pop up that come with turkeys) The back was really nice and brown from laying in the hot drippings and from the sugars in the seasoning.
So what did we learn? If I were to do it again…and I will…I’d do this. I’d add about 1/3 cup of olive oil and I’d brown the back of the bird first and then I’d turn the bird breast down. Having the oil should cause the moisture from the bird to pop as it drips into the oil and that should self base the breast and up the sides much like it does in the Ultimate Turkey Roaster we used to sell. If the bird is well thawed I’d start with about four minuets per pound and then check with a meat thermometer as I reached that time (4 minutes x 12 pound bird 48 minutes). I wouldn’t put any seasoning on the outside of the bird just to keep the sugars in it from burning.
Even though the bird finished at a higher internal temperature than I’d have liked, it still was pretty moist even though I called it over cooked. Carving the breast with cross cuts after removing it in one large chunk helps with the tenderness.