Cooking a Turkey in a Dutch Oven


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.of the most asked questions about our Smoke Vaults is how to make jerky. I have found that it’s pretty easy and think that by the time you read this you will agree.
I have to admit that I was a little nervous the first time I gave it a try, so I did what any reasonable person would and called someone that would know what to do. The fine folks at Hi Mtn Seasonings know their way around jerky and met my questions with solid answers. The method has now been tried numerous times over the past few years and works very well.

I was told to start by getting eye of round roast; I guess it’s a great combination of muscle and marbled fat. Most butcher good butcher shops will slice the roasts for you, if not you can get a kit to do it. I like thicker cuts of jerky and request it to be sliced at about ¼”. From there I slice thin slabs into strips, preferably against the grain. Slicing it against the grain will make it easier to eat, think of the long stringy pieces you have had before.

Once sliced follow the directions in the jerky seasoning packets. I was told to follow them closely and not deviate too far from the weight recommendations. The included detailed instructions give two options based on the type of jerky, whole muscle or ground. Measurements are given in pounds, so try and get your roasts close to full pounds.
Hi Mtn makes a bunch of flavors, I try to stick to 3 or 4 of them, Original, Hickory and Cracked Pepper & Garlic. Mix the seasoning and cure together in the included shaker bottle, and then spread evenly over the sliced meat. Place the seasoned meat in a gallon freezer bag and put into the fridge for 24 hours. It’s not a bad idea to take the bag out on occasion to “knead” or mix the meat and seasoning around.

After a good 24-hour chill take the jerky out of the bag and put it into the smoker. The Smoke Vaults come with one jerky rack; you can buy others to maximize your space in the smoker. Place the strips evenly on the racks then smoke for 2 to 2.5 hours at about 225 degrees.

When the jerky is done turn the smoker off and let everything cool for 10 minutes, then place warm jerky into a new gallon bag and seal it. It will keep the moisture from the meat in the meat, simple but very effective.

Lastly, either consume or vacuum pack and freeze to be shared later on. Hi Mtn has done a masterful job in shortening the learning curve for making your own jerky. Give it a try, your friends will thank you!