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Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:10 PM

Looking for your proven success with roast turkey secrets!

I've got a 12 lb Whole Foods bird, it is thawed, in the fridge. I don't want to brine it, and I don't want to deep fry it....and we don't stuff ours (stuffing is done separately).

So - right side up or upside down? Or start one way then flip? Oven temp on entry and throughout? Cover or not cover? Oil or butter or salt or season the skin or not? Baste or not baste?

We plan to roast it tomorrow to make the big day easier - so also looking for the best way to reheat turkey (will put the whole roast bird in the fridge and cut the meat off to reheat on Thurs).

thanks....there are so many ways - ours always comes out good enough, but I am hoping if you share what you do that works great, I can pick up some must-do hints!

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply Looking for your proven success with roast turkey secrets! (Original post)
NRaleighLiberal Nov 2012 OP
Viva_La_Revolution Nov 2012 #1
OffWithTheirHeads Nov 2012 #2
northoftheborder Nov 2012 #27
grasswire Nov 2012 #3
grasswire Nov 2012 #4
Rhiannon12866 Nov 2012 #5
Lex Nov 2012 #18
Rhiannon12866 Nov 2012 #22
mercuryblues Nov 2012 #30
The empressof all Nov 2012 #6
Tesha Nov 2012 #7
noamnety Nov 2012 #8
msanthrope Nov 2012 #10
noamnety Nov 2012 #11
msanthrope Nov 2012 #21
msanthrope Nov 2012 #9
Robb Nov 2012 #17
Fortinbras Armstrong Nov 2012 #19
msanthrope Nov 2012 #20
Robb Nov 2012 #26
msanthrope Nov 2012 #28
Aerows Nov 2012 #25
greatauntoftriplets Nov 2012 #12
LaydeeBug Nov 2012 #13
Major Nikon Nov 2012 #15
Aerows Nov 2012 #24
woodsprite Nov 2012 #14
Kali Nov 2012 #16
Aerows Nov 2012 #23
Thor_MN Nov 2012 #29

Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:22 PM

1. since you refuse to brine

you heathen..

Breast side up, with 1/4 cup softened salted butter slipped between skin and breast.
2 lemons and 2 oranges, quarter and squeeze juice over the whole bird, stuff the empty rinds into the cavity of the bird. seal with tinfoil (the bags work, but less crispy stuff. I like the crispy stuff for gravy.)

325degrees for 3-4 hours, till the meat is about to slide off the bone. rest 20 min before uncovering and carving.

It won't be the prettiest bird, but it will taste great. to be divine, you would have to brine it

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:59 PM

2. An unbrined bird is like an unexamined life you Philistine

Fortunately, it's yours to choose, however, breast side down for half the cooking time so the juices flow that way for awhile, then flip it to finish.

I always slip a combination of butter and herbs between the skin and the meat. Epicurious has lots of ideas for what exactly. The fruit salad above sounds good and I always throw a shot of brandy in the cavity in the mistaken idea that it helps to insure death to any microbial thingies in there. It probably doesn't really do anything but I've been doing it for decades now so it is at least partly tradition.

Oh, yeah, baste a lot and tent if necessary.

When all is said and done, soak a pkg of dried white beans overnight. In the meantime, boil the Turky carcass until all the meat falls off, strain out the bones and use the stock the nezt day to make white bean soup. Yummers!

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Response to OffWithTheirHeads (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 05:34 PM

27. Lynn Roseti-Casper on Splendid Table suggested the breast side down first, then turn up to finish

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:42 PM

3. Martha Stewart recommends cheesecloth and lots of butter

...over the breast. Remove toward the end to brown. I don't think anyone recommends basting any more. It lowers the oven temp every time.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 02:43 PM

4. oh, and it's true about resting time

Letting your hot bird rest for half an hour, tented, will make a huge difference in succulence.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 03:24 PM

5. I use an oven bag.

Maybe that's not acceptable to true cooks, but it's always worked for me and it's awfully easy. Celery and onions on the bottom, butter on the bird and some flour in the bag and that's it. And I do stuff the bird, my mother's recipe for giblet dressing, wouldn't be a holiday without it.

After hearing all kinds of horror stories about dry Thanksgiving turkeys, I was a little anxious when I was about to do it myself for the first time, mentioned it to my doctor and that's what she suggested. Works for chicken, too!

http://www.reynoldsovenbags.com/

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:22 AM

18. This is what my mom does

and I do it too. Despite what people think, the bird does get browned. It is a no-fail way to make sure the bird is moist.



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Response to Lex (Reply #18)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 05:43 PM

22. Exactly!

Since I do stuff the bird, it's not always easy to remove from the bag, LOL, but it really is a fool proof way to end up with a moist turkey. Don't know how I'd manage without it...

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 07:56 AM

30. oven bags

are great for a ham.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 03:25 PM

6. I cook mine in the beer can tradition

I have a vertical roaster that will hold up to 15 lb bird though mine is your size this year. I fill the well with white wine, juiced onion, thyme, pepper, salt and a bit of sage.

I then shove some small pieces of bacon under the skin.

I stick it on the thingie and let it do it's thing.

You may be able to recreate this with one of those huge tall can's of beer. You can drink the beer and fill the can with whatever.

The bird is always moist and juicy and the gravy from the drippings is delish and no need to baste or brine.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)


Response to Tesha (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:22 PM

8. Seconded!

Normally I stuff my turkey but if you are going unstuffed, spatchcocking is the way to go, to avoid dry white meat while you wait for the dark meat to cook.

I have a hard time flattening it - I've resorted to wrapping the turkey in a large plastic bag and jumping up and down on it while grabbing onto the counter so I don't land on my ass. (Do that part when nobody's watching.)

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Response to noamnety (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:48 PM

10. You want to break the keel--use a meat tenderizer, or your elbow. nt

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:00 PM

11. Hmmm, I think I need sleep.

I looked at that for a while, wondering how in the world sprinkling meat tenderizer on it would help.

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Response to noamnety (Reply #11)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:29 PM

21. That's pretty damn funny! nt

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Response to Tesha (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:47 PM

9. I've done the spatchcock method...it works. I lay the turkey on onion and lemon slices,

and it soaks up grease and gives good flavor.

Break the keel, it's easier.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 10:13 AM

17. Late to this. I'm brining a breast-only as we speak...

...this spatchcocking intrigues me greatly. I expect I can do it still with only the breast? Maybe a bit of foil?

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Response to Robb (Reply #17)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:51 AM

19. I'm with you

Since it's just going to be me, my wife, and our youngest son, we are going with a turkey breast. It is brining as I write.

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Response to Robb (Reply #17)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:26 PM

20. Yes--you just want to get it as flat as possible. I find I don't really use foil with this method

because the bird cooks so evenly....with a whole bird I also pop the joints at the wings and thighs, so I can tuck the tips under.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #20)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 04:06 PM

26. Just wanted to say thanks!

Epic bird in record time, I snuck a small hill of stuffing underneath and put the flat bird on a rack a half inch over -- many happy drippings, many fans.

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Response to Robb (Reply #26)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 08:01 AM

28. Awesome!!!! I had a great Thanksgiving, too!! My brother deep fried the turkey,

I made a sausage stuffing and whipped sweet potatoes, other people brought stuff---it was fun!

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Response to Tesha (Reply #7)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:18 PM

25. Its the initial flattening

that makes it retain moisture no matter what you baste it with. God that sounds good I'm doing Cornish Hens, but that sounds like turkey to die for!

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:51 PM

12. Make certain it's thawed and then cook it!



Seriously, I am not certain how my family's is going to be cooked. We are invited to the triplets' house, but their oven is on the fritz. The repairman has been called and set up several appointments, then not shown up. They're hoping he shows tomorrow.

We'd move the venue, but there will be too many people for anyone else's house. We may instead get dinner from the restaurant where the triplets' father is the chef.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:55 PM

13. Brining *is* my secret. nt

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Response to LaydeeBug (Reply #13)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:43 PM

15. Mine is in the brine right now

Tomorrow night it will be smoked and I'll finish it off in the oven on Thursday.

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Response to LaydeeBug (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:15 PM

24. Soaking of any type

You can brine, or you can buttermilk. I have some delicious little Cornish hens soaking. Your bird must be moist - flatten it, then soak and it will be juicy and delicious.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:17 PM

14. We do breast up w/ celery, apple, onions and herbs stuffed in the cavity.

Oh, don't forget the butter massage, sprinkled afterwards with salt and pepper.

I miss my Mom. We would get to laughing sooooo hard over massaging the darned turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Giddy is a good way to put it, but then again, we put the turkey a 23lb turkey in the oven about 3am and by 7am everyone was waking up hungry. We always had a thanksgiving luncheon rather than a late dinner.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:00 AM

16. if you don't need a show piece for the table and don't care about crispy skin

roast breast down, covered, at 325 until meat falls off the bone. you won't really be able to slice it either but it will be tender and juicy and such good eating.

if you need it to look a little better and slice neatly roast breast down for at least the first half and then turn it over to finish. baste a time or two just to get some of the grease on the skin to crisp it up, but not often.

microwave is good for reheating or wrap in foil and bake

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:13 PM

23. I'm cooking Cornish hens tomorrow

Moist bird is the most important thing.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 09:24 PM

29. I use stuffing under the skin to insulate and slow down the breast

I use the apple maple butter recipe from allrecipes.com, but I substitute in some cranberry juice for some of the apple cider. My challenge is in getting a done bird to my sister's house 40 minutes away. Roasting pan cover goes on as soon as I pull the turkey from the oven, into a waiting nest of blankets in the trunk of the car and off I go. Turkey is well rested by the time I get there.

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