Roasting a Turkey
Planning a Thanksgiving turkey? Or maybe one for Christmas? If you've never done one before, relax. There's a little bit of work at first, but once in the oven,
you're free for some time to do other things.
First you want to make sure your turkey will be big enough to adequately serve your family and guests. If you want leftovers, you need to buy an even bigger one.
For the sake of discussion, let's discuss a 12-14 pound turkey. Make sure the turkey is thawed at least one day in advance. Check to make sure you have butter,
salt and pepper and your favorite stuffing mix.
- The oven should be preheated to 325-350 degrees F.
- After taking the turkey from its wrapping, remove giblets and the neck from inside. These can be used later for gravy if you like.
- Rinse the turkey, both inside and outside, with cold water before you prepare it. Pat it dry with paper towels or leave damp.
- Use an oven rack on the lowest place in the oven.
- Stuff the neck and body of the turkey with dressing. Close up the openings with skewers and string.
- Stick the turkey in a large baking bag which you can get at the grocery store. Make sure the bag is plenty big for the size turkey you have.
These bags speed up the inner cooking of the turkey while helping to keep your oven clean.
- Put dabs of butter on top of the turkey after inserting into the bag. Be sure to salt and pepper it good, both inside and outside.
- To let steam out, pierce the bag in several places. Tie the bag to keep the juices inside.
- I bake mine for 30 minutes for each pound because I like my meat rather dry. Bake for shorter period of time if you like your meat juicy.
- A meat thermometer will help you tell when the turkey is done. Insert it into the thickest part of the thigh. Bake it until the thermometer says 175-180 degrees F.
- Technically you shouldn't cover a turkey (or any roasting meat, for that matter). You'll want the outer skin to take on a deep brown color all over and you don't want
it to steam in it's own juices. But with larger birds, it's easy for the turkey to brown too soon. If that happens, cover the turkey lightly with aluminum foil on top,
but allow plenty of open places for steam to escape.
- Some people will buy two large aluminum roasting pans. They put the turkey in one pan and follow the directions above. They use the 2nd pan to sit on top of the turkey
while it is baking to prevent it from browning too soon. You can buy cheap roasting pans at your grocery store or even at the $1.00 stores.
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