How much turkey can you cook in the BHC?
You can cook up to a 20 lb turkey in the BHC.
How long does it take to cook a turkey in the BHC?
A fully thawed turkey will take about 15 minutes per pound to cook. The recommended cooking temperature should be on the higher side (see "What temperature should the BHC be at for cooking a turkey?") for better flavor and moisture retention. Ideally, a 20 lb turkey will be finished in 4 to 5 hours. Since turkey doesn't have the same tough collagens to break down as other meats, it is not recommended to cook a turkey "slow and low".
What temperature should the Barrel House Cooker be at for cooking a turkey?
To get the barrel cooker to the ideal temp for turkey, let the charcoal burn for 25-30 minutes before putting the barrel back on the base and placing the turkey in the cooker. The thermometer on the top should read around 300°F before putting the turkey in. The temperature will drop 50+ degrees after putting the turkey in. Keep in mind that the thermometer on the top shows a lower temp than what the barrel is actually cooking at because the thermometer sits above the exhaust points. If the thermometer is still not quite reaching the 300°F mark after 5 minutes with the lid down and no meat in, then lift the lid for 5 minutes so that it sits slightly ajar to allow more air into the cooker. You can also open the intake an additional notch to keep the temp in the right zone.
Can you cook a turkey on the grates or does it have to be hung?
We strongly recommend hanging a turkey (see instructions for hanging methods) for best results; however, you can use the grates to cook the turkey. The cooking dynamics of hanging allows for even cooking.
Do you need a drip or water pan?
You do not need a water pan but can use a drip pan. The cooking dynamics of the barrel trap in moisture so there is no need for a water pan. A drip pan can be used to regulate the amount of smoky flavor produced from drippings hitting the hot coals. We recommend placing a disposable pan (about 6"x 8" and 1" deep) on a grate at the lowest level of the cooker to catch some of the drippings to limit the amount of smokiness in the turkey.
Can you use wood chips for extra smoky flavor?
Absolutely! Wood smoke will add a nice smoky flavor. Just toss 3-4 wood chunks in after the charcoal has been lit. The kind of wood chunks you use is entirely based on personal preference, but fruitwoods tend to produce great results.
How do you know when the turkey is done?
We strongly recommend investing in a food thermometer to guarantee food is not only perfectly cooked, but also safe to consume. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast to get a good reading. Turkey (and other poultry) should not be consumed until it has reached at least 165°F. We recommend taking it out of the cooker when it's reached 160°F in the deepest part of the breast, then letting it rest uncovered for 5-10 minutes (no longer than 30 minutes for best results). The temperature will rise the additional 5°F during the resting period. Any food thermometer will work, but if you need one, the Javelin Instant Read Thermometer is convenient, fast, and accurate for a great price.
How do you season a turkey?
If you look up turkey recipes online, you'll find thousands of them. What you end up choosing depends on your personal preference. For a simple, yet delicious option, use your favorite rub/seasoning under the skin and then lightly coat the outside of the skin in olive oil and more of the rub. Using some wood chips will add even more delicious flavor to the meat itself.
How do you cook a turkey breast by itself?
Season under the skin and the outside, insert a hook through the breastbone, and hang it in the cooker. Make sure the cooker temperature is at 275°F or higher on the lid thermometer. Take the turkey breast to about 160°F in the thickest part of the breast before removing to let rest uncovered. It will probably take a couple hours, but use a food thermometer to monitor the temperature of the meat.