Dutch Oven Cooking Instructions for a Turkey

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Outdoors, whether camping or just for fun, nothing beats Dutch oven cooking. A Dutch oven, along with charcoal, can be used to cook just about anything a conventional indoor oven can; a small turkey can be roasted quite easily in a few hours. The key to cooking a turkey, or any meat or poultry in a Dutch oven is to keep the oven at a minimum of 325 degrees F.

Things You'll Need

  • Charcoal
  • Charcoal chimney
  • Small turkey (6 to 10 pounds)
  • 1 onion, cut in quarters
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp. softened butter or oil
  • Measure cups
  • Camp shovel
  • Turkey baster or brush
  • Insure that the Dutch oven you have chosen is large enough for the turkey. The turkey should fit completely inside the Dutch oven and the lid of the oven should close tightly over it.

  • Determine the number of coals you will need by using the "4 up/4 down" rule. If your Dutch oven is a size 12, you will need 12 plus 4 for the top of the oven, and 12 minus four beneath the oven to maintain 325 degrees F inside the oven.

  • Fill the charcoal chimney with charcoal briquettes and start the burning process. The ideal coals to use for Dutch oven cooking are uniformly white with ash.

  • Rinse the turkey, inside and out, with cool water. Place the onion, garlic and bay leaf inside the turkey cavity and rub the outside of the turkey with softened butter or oil.

  • Place the turkey in the Dutch oven, breast side up and add 1 cup of warm water to the pot.

  • Spread out the proper number of coals beneath the Dutch oven and place the lid on the oven. Cover the lid with the correct number of coals using a camp shovel.

  • Allow the turkey to roast in the Dutch oven for 1 hour. Remove the lid and baste with the dripping in the pot. Put the lid back on the oven.

  • Replenish the coals as necessary to keep the 4 up/4 down hot coal ratio to the oven.

  • Cook the turkey for 20 minutes per pound, basting every 30 minutes. An 8 pound turkey will take approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours to fully roast.

  • Check the internal temperature of the turkey at the end of the cooking time. The USDA recommends that turkey reach a minimum of 165 degrees F.

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References

  • "The Complete Book Of Dutch Oven Cooking" by J. Wayne Fears, 2004
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