I’ve got a confession, I HATE science projects! Yes, I know, this makes me a terrible parent, but it doesn’t change the fact that I really dread them! So when two of my kids came home for Christmas break with a tri-fold board I almost started to cry. I decided if I had to do a science project I was at least going to do a project that I was interested in.
I’ve always wanted to try to cook a turkey in my SunOven and I have never taken the time to do it. I’ve cooked a lot of different things in my SunOven but I haven’t experimented a lot with meat. I figured cooking a turkey was the ULTIMATE test. Especially daunting in the middle of winter. The first turkey we tried to cook didn’t finish so we ended up putting it in the oven to finish cooking. We learned some important lessons on the first turkey and were more determined than ever to succeed with the second one.
One of the first obstacles we ran into was defrosting the turkey. Usually when I cook a turkey I know what day I’m going to cook it so I know when to defrost it. Using a SunOven in Utah in the middle of winter is problematic because you need a clear day, as in no clouds and no smog, to cook it. Not always an easy problem to solve. Knowing three days before hand if it’s going to be a clear day without physic powers is a bit of a challenge. Just be sure you can be flexible on what day you want to EAT your turkey. Second challenge, you need to dedicate yourself to this project. The first turkey (10.5 pounds) we put into the SunOven about 10 a.m. and it didn’t finish cooking so we knew we needed additional time. The second turkey (11.5 pounds) went into the SunOven at 8:30 a.m. It was super cold outside (28°). The Windex froze on the panels as we washed them (another thing I decided might help our turkey was to make sure the panels and glass on the SunOven were clean). I inserted a thermometer into the turkey so I could track the internal temperature and make sure the turkey was cooked all the way through. Every half hour my son went outside and turned the SunOven so it was getting the most sun possible, checked the temperature inside the oven and also recorded the internal temperature of the turkey. Like I said, “DEDICATION!!!” Our SunOven temp. reached a high of 265° (I had another SunOven outside at the same time with nothing in it and it reached 325° – I thought that was interesting). Our turkey reached 172° at 2:30 p.m. I left the turkey in the SunOven until we were ready to eat to keep it warm.
I failed to mention that I cooked the turkey in an oven bag and ended up using a round piece of stoneware for my pan (my 9 x 13 pan with handles wouldn’t fit inside the oven). As you can see from the pictures, the turkey skin doesn’t get as dark in the SunOven as it does when cooking in the oven.
So to answer the question, YES, you can cook a turkey outside in the middle of the winter! I’m pretty excited that we were successful. It took us a couple of tries but we figured it out. We also used the Wonder Box to cook our mashed potatoes and cooked brownies in an apple box oven. I’ll post more on those later. I’m also excited to try cooking another turkey in the SunOven this summer. I don’t think I’ll have to babysit it quite as much. I know I must be a little bit crazy to find this experiment fun – but hey, now I know it can be done and best of all… the science project is DONE!!!
Let me know what things you like to cook in your SunOven!