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Recipe File: Classic Roast Turkey
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Joined: 18 Nov 2007
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought what was labeled as an 11.5 pound turkey. Inside the neck cavity were the standard giblets. So what was in the two bags tucked in the plastic with it? More giblets! 1 1/2 more livers, a second heart, a CHICKEN heart, and two more gizzards. Sigh. So the cats have lots of gizzards for treats (and the chicken heart), the turkey hearts went into the stuffing/dressing, and I made pate.

I unwrapped the turkey on Tuesday, dried it thoroughly, rubbed it lightly with salt and Bell's poultry seasoning, and put it in the fridge draped with paper towels. Today I stuffed it, brushed it with olive oil and more herbs, foil-wrapped the wings, and baked it, the first 20 minutes at 425F, followed by 2 1/2 hours at 325F. The first 45 minutes I had it on its side (wing up), then 45 on the other side, then I turned it breast up and unwrapped the wings. It came out a with the skin a deep red/gold color, and the meat was lusciously moist.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:57 pm    Post subject: convection oven turkey Reply with quote

i use my convection oven for the best roast chicken ever. i rub it with kosher salt and butter and cook it on 400-425 for an hour or so, yielding crisp skin and moist meat.

is there any reason this wouldn't work for a turkey if it is cooked for a longer time?
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:43 am    Post subject: 40 lb turkey Reply with quote

I came to this site because I noticed the comment on the 40lb turkey back in 05'. No one ever replied to that person, and I have the same problem. We raised this turkey from spring till nov.23 and it is 40lbs! No we didn't try to make it this big, we just fed it everyday with pellets and fruit and veggie scraps. So still nobody knows how you cook a bird so big? I guess we will have to cut it in half... Hope it doesn't come out to dry. -Lily New Hampshire
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:07 am    Post subject: Turkey roast Reply with quote

A great help for me - an unenthusiastic cook. The best turkey I have ever had. I covered the bird with foil for the first 3 hours, cooked for most of the time breast side down. I took off the foil and browned it then rested it for about an hour on the bench while the vegies cooked and browned. It was great to have Christmas dinner in early December on a coolish day in a Sydney summer.
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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 3:42 pm    Post subject: Simple roast turkey Reply with quote

Can't understand all this fuss over such a simple dish. I learned this recipe from my mom, and I have been using it for over thirty years without ever having a mishap.

I don't bother with brining. I do stuff my turkey with a sausage/bread/onion mix, but I cook the sausage first separately to ensure it's done (I throw the onions in with the sausage as well). No one has ever gotten sick. I don't even find it necessary to truss the turkey - there's usually a flap of skin at the back you can tuck the drumsticks under, and using a V-rack, I don't see a need to tie up the wings either. I do use a skewer to close off the front cavity (which I also stuff).

Here's where I change from what everyone else has posted - first, I rub the bird all over with a mix of butter and canola oil. Next, I soak a triple layer of cheesecloth in canola oil, and spread that over the breast, making sure it's completely covered. This slows down the breast, and lets the dark meat and white meat be ready at the same time. Roast depending on weight, basting every 30-40 minutes, but with 30 minutes to go, slowly (you don't want to tear the skin!) remove the cheesecloth. This allows the breast skin to brown and crisp up. I baste every ten minutes after that (and if the breast isn't browning, I'll turn on the broiler for the last five minutes, but you'll have to watch it like a hawk during that time so that it doesn't burn). As recommended, remove from the oven, tent with foil, and let rest for at least 20-30 minutes. (Remove stuffing first, if you stuffed your bird.) The only drawback I've found is the pan juices are full of fat (from both the bird and the oil), so you need to get a good "fat separator" pot, and/or refrigerate the juices for a few minutes to encourage the fat to rise to the surface. The leftover juice makes a great pan gravy.

The result - crispy skin, juicy breast meat, succulent dark meat, flavourful stuffing (and I always make too much, so I cook a batch separately in the toaster oven - this gives people a choice between a "wet" and "dry" stuffing), and a beautiful presentation. I've probably cooked turkey this way over 50 times, and it has never failed me.

Oh, and I don't bother with kosher, organic, Butterball, or other special turkeys - I just get a regular Canada Grade "A" frozen bird, thaw, and cook.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:21 am    Post subject: re: brine Reply with quote

an easy way to prepare a brine is by placing an egg in the bottom of your nonreactive container (i use a five gallon bucket for turkeys). Slowly stir salt into the solution until the egg begins to float. That's it!
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:27 pm    Post subject: The BEST! Reply with quote

I love roasting a turkey every year. It is the most work of anything else I make probably. Well, maybe not the Italian Easter Pies! It's my stuffing that takes a lot of prep. I follow my grandma's recipe. It's THE BEST!! (lots of eggs and butter and hand broken Italian-French bread, plus a much more....) I tried the Diestel one year. I thought it no better than any previous. Then came last year. I discovered the brined turkey at Trader Joes. AND I followed someone's tip, on food show, on how to gently separate the skin and rub in some herbed butter. So between these two new changes, WOW! that was some turkey. Never has the breast meat been so moist, and I'm talking about the left overs, as well. Days later... still moist. Unbelievably wonderful!! So, I'm just hoping I can repeat what I did last year and nothing less. Brined turkey and getting under the skin. I was really hesitant to do the under skin thing. And I roasted it, not in my traditional deep Magnalite roaster, but my large, square Magnalite 2" deep roast pan. Only wish I could remember who gave it as a wedding gift...48 years ago. So, that's the deal of the "BEST EVER".
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Confused in California

PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:01 am    Post subject: Forget the bags, forget the brine forget everything you read Reply with quote

Look people, all you need to do is forget about all that worrying about whether the turkey should be brined in a bag or a bucket or whatever! I jus put er in the toilet downstairs for a day or so and flush it a few times to keep it cool. No fuss no mess! you can add salt to the water if you want, but again, it's no problem! Just make sure that your family knows that the turkeys downstairs and not to use the toilet. I remember that one year.....

Anyway, seriously though, it's great. It works fine and as long as you wash it out really good beforehand, it's totally good.
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Wayne Bengston

PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:07 pm    Post subject: Branigan's Turkey Farm Free Range Turkey Reply with quote

If you live in Northern California, you owe it to yourself to try a Branigan's Turkey Farm free range turkey.

I've done turkeys in my convection oven the past 5 years. I've used Tony Chaceres Cajun Butter and Jalapeno Butter injected marinades instead of brining, and wound up with tasty, juicy turkeys each year. I've settled on the Tony Chaceres Jalapeno Butter as my favorite, and had no complaints from the dozens of people who have tried my turkey.

The past 3 years, I've used Diestel turkeys, which are superb, and pretty widely available.

The method I've evolved to is to inject the marinade 12 hours before roasting. Just before roasting, I dust the turkey with Tony Chaceres and spray it with olive oil. I put it on a V-Rack over a very shallow pan, so that airflow is unimpeded. More traditional deep pans impede airflow and the result is an unevenly cooked turkey.

I cook it on at 300F using the Convection Roast setting, and rotate the turkey 180 halfway thru cooking. I do not baste or cover the turkey.

I use a remote probe to measure the internal temp. Got it at Walmart for $10 and it has an alarm for when the setpoint temp is reached.

I pull the turkey when it hits 160F in the coldest spot. This results in a beautiful bird with a golden brown coloring and some crispy skin. The meat is always juicy and tasty.

This year, I purchased a Branigan's Turkey Farm Free Range Turkey at Nugget in Vacaville, CA. Other locations are listed here; Nugget also had several varieties of injectable marinade, including my Tony's Jalapeno Butter.

They claim to raise the turkey about 10 weeks longer than others do, resulting in a juicier and tastier bird. I found that to be true.

This year, I cooked a 18Lb Branigan's turkey for 3 hours and 15 minutes, bringing it to 160F in the coldest place. This turkey was, hands down, the best I've ever had. It was much more flavorful than any other turkey I've ever had, and the juice that flowed upon carving has to be seen to be believed.

I brought some in for lunchtime sandwiches today, and could not wait, but had them for breakfast. The meat was still juicy. The flavor was even better.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:31 pm    Post subject: Roast Turkey Reply with quote

Hey, my mom always makes the best-tasting, moist turkey by baking it covered tightly in foil and basting it every 30 minutes or so. I am sure she rubs it with butter or oil and salts it really well first. I bought a smaller, fresh turkey to try the "right" way and followed the directions on the turkey bag exactly. Which says to wash, dry, rub with oil, salt and pepper, roast on a rack til done. Yuck! The pop off thermometer was out but the turkey had NO flavor and was not moist or tender. It may have needed to cook a little longer. I am throwing it away. But, I have to say, my mother's "wrong" way sure tastes great! It is more like the method used by the Penn. Dutch lady. I brined chicken once and did not like the change in meat texture. I cooked a turkey breast last year and am guessing it was pre-brined because the meat texture was almost like pickled-kind of slimy and gelatinous. Definitely moist, but wierd.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Should I need to season the turkey with salt and pepper before I put it in the oven, or was the brining enough? I'm looking at some other recipes and it says to brine and season afterwards.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:47 am    Post subject: stuffing a turkey Reply with quote

We have been eating stuffed turkey in our home for thirty years and no one has ever been sickened from it.
I line the cavity with cheese cloth, stuff the bird loosely, and when the roasting is done, remove the cheesecloth bag and empty into an oven-proof serving dish. While the turkey is "resting", the stuffing is returned to the oven to continue heating through.
The cavity remains free of stuffing for its second life as leftovers and the wonderful rich flavor of in-the-bird stuffing is still part of the meal.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:13 am    Post subject: turkey roasting Reply with quote

Always buy a natural or organic bird that hasn't been frozen.
Supermarket brands inject stock (and who knows what else) into the meat, and when the meat roasts, the stock turns to steam and dries out the breasts. If you cook a turkey in a baking bag or wrapped in foil, you're actually steaming the turkey. Expect a stewy flavor, even if you manage to keep the breast moist. I like turkey roasted.
Freezing bursts the cells in the tissue in meats, so there's no way to get a good, fresh texture from a frozen turkey.
Brining is good! I've used stock pots, ice tubs, plastic bags, etc, without problems. The most important ingredients are salt/sugar. Other spices and herbs (except maybe rosemary) won't be very discernible, and flavorings mask the flavor of the turkey. If you want a more herbal brine, dissolve the salt/sugar in a couple quarts of water and add some spices and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Let this cool, pour over the turkey and then add the rest of the water and chill overnight.
Don't be afraid of brown! Some people put a foil tent on the turkey. I've never found that it makes a flavor difference. Dark is OK. Just don't burn it!
You can make little foil "booties" for the drumsticks to prevent the meat from separating from the bone if that bothers you.
Always use an instant-read thermometer to check the thigh meat. I remove the bird @ 160-170 b/c it will continue to cook while it's resting.
Putting cut-up vegetables in the pan makes the juices taste better when you baste. I don't tend to baste as often as is usually recommended b/c it cools the oven.
Bacon? If you use it, put it under the skin. You'll definitely taste it!
Lastly, use a carving or slicing knife. In the photos above the carver is using a chef's or chopping knife. The blade is too thick and wide and will tend to tear up the slices. I have an old Sabatier carbon steel slicing knife that does a great job. Julia Child and I don't like stainless knives.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This recipe worked great! I will use it again next year.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:33 am    Post subject: Never Ending Brining Saga... Reply with quote

I have always used garbage bags to brine my birds. I never gave consideration to leaching. Great info. I went out and got a 15 gallon tub. Thanks to all for the tip. Have a Merry.
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