Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How-To: Roasting the Turkey

This year I'll be visiting my family in Tennessee for Thanksgiving.  As I'm not testing recipes this year, I wanted to provide you with some tips and my favorite tried and true Thanksgiving recipes.

I hope you enjoy them, and find something new to try.

Up first, the main event, the turkey.  Here are some great tips about roasting turkeys, sizing, and getting them to come out juicy.  I've also included 2 of my favorite turkey recipes.  Try one of them this year!

Roasting the Turkey

The information that follows includes general guidelines for roasting a turkey.

What Size Turkey to Buy
To ensure ample servings for Thanksgiving dinner as well as generous leftovers, allow for 1 to 1 1/4 lb. of turkey per person.

What Size Pan to Use
For best results, roast your turkey on a wire rack in an open roasting pan. Because of the turkey's weight, a sturdy pan with good handles is recommended. If you use a foil roasting pan, double it for extra strength and take special care when transferring it into and out of the oven.

Turkey Weight
Minimum Pan Size
Up to 12 lb.
14" x 10" x 2 3/4" high (small)
Up to 16 lb.
15 3/4" x 12" x 3" high (medium)
Up to 20 lb.
16" x 13" x 3" high (large)

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. Do not leave the turkey at room temperature longer than 1 hour.

Roasting an Unstuffed Turkey
The times listed below are calculated for an unstuffed turkey brought to room temperature and roasted at 400°F, breast side down, for the first 45 minutes, then turned breast side up and roasted at 325°F until done.

Turkey Weight
Approximate Roasting Time
10 to 12 lb.
2 1/2 to 3 hours
12 to 14 lb.
2 3/4 to 3 1/4 hours
14 to 16 lb.
3 to 3 3/4 hours
16 to 18 lb.
3 1/4 to 4 hours
18 to 20 lb.
3 1/2 to 4 1/4 hours
20+ lb.
3 3/4 to 4 1/2 hours

Roasting a Stuffed Turkey

Stuff the turkey just before putting it in the oven (do not stuff it earlier). Spoon the dressing loosely into the body and neck cavities. Do not overfill, as the dressing will expand during roasting. Truss the turkey (see related tip at left).

To facilitate removing the stuffing, first line the inside of the cavity with a double layer of cheesecloth, allowing it to extend beyond the cavity by a few inches. Then spoon the stuffing inside. After roasting the bird, gently pull the overhanging cheesecloth and the stuffing will slip out easily, neatly tucked inside the cheesecloth.

To ensure that a stuffed turkey cooks evenly, roast the bird slowly, breast side up, at 325°F, covering the breast loosely with foil for the first two-thirds of the roasting time. Using the chart above, add about 30 minutes to the total cooking time for stuffed birds weighing 16 lb. or less, and about 1 hour for birds weighing
more than 16 lb.

Additional Tips
1. After taking the turkey out of the oven, let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes. This allows time for some of the juices to be absorbed back into the meat, which makes it easier to carve and more moist.

2. If roasting a stuffed bird, remove all of the stuffing at serving time.

3. After dinner, remove any remaining meat from the bones and refrigerate the leftovers

article and picture curtesy of Williams-Sonoma

My Favorite turkey recipe....the compound butter is the secret ingredient!

Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter
By Tyler Florence
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 3 hr 0 min
Serves: 10 to 12 servings

1 (12 to 14) pound fresh turkey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sage Butter, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and remove the top rack of the oven.

Rinse the bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cavity and skin liberally with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with stuffing and, if required, truss the legs. Cover the turkey with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Push the sage butter under the skin of the turkey, being careful not to puncture the skin.

Put the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan, and into the oven. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F. The thigh juices will run clear when pricked with a knife, about 3 hours total (15 minutes per pound). If the legs or breast brown too quickly during roasting, cover them with foil.

Sage Butter:
2 sticks butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped sage
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients.

Another great turkey recipe to help you get the turkey on in a short time.  The secret is to cut the turkey in pieces prior to roasting!
Roast Turkey with Wine and Herbs
by Cooking Light
Time: 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
· YIELD: Serves 10 to 12

·         1 turkey (12 to 14 lbs.), cut up by butcher*
·         1/4 cup olive oil
·         1 tablespoon minced fresh sage, divided
·         1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary, divided
·         1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, divided
·         About 2 tsp. kosher salt
·         1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
·         2 cups white wine, divided
·         1/3 cup marsala
·         3 tablespoons red currant jelly
1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a bowl, coat turkey with oil, 2 tsp. of each herb, 2 tsp. salt, and pepper; turn to coat. Pour 1 cup wine into a roasting pan. Add legs and wings. Roast 15 minutes, skin side down.
2. Turn legs and wings over; add thighs and breast to pan, skin side up. Pour in remaining wine. Roast 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast and thighs reads 160° and juices run clear.
3. Transfer meat to a cutting board; tent with foil (any slight pinkness will fade as meat sits). Strain pan juices into a saucepan.
4. Add marsala, jelly, and remaining herbs; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes; season with salt. Spoon off fat. Pour juices into individual pitchers for serving if you like.
5. Carve thighs and breast meat into chunks or slices and arrange on a platter with legs and wings. Garnish with olive sprigs if you like.
*Ask your butcher to cut turkey into 7 pieces (leave breast whole) and bone out thighs and breast.


  1. thanks for this post found many useful tips thanks
    come see me at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

  2. These are great tips! Both of those recipes look fantastic. While we are headed to my inlaws for Thanksgiving this year, I think we are going to roast a turkey anyway just for the leftovers. Hope you have a wonderful time with your family. Happy Thanksgiving!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...