I had a 11lb Butterball turkey, a cheapo store-bought aluminum roast pan, and a friend due who does not like dry turkey. Of course, I can’t stand dry turkey either, but it’s good to have an excuse to try another recipe. Although, I guess, cooking turkey is less of a recipe, and more of a technique, but I felt like experimenting.
My normal method is to roast the turkey at 350F, covered in foil, or in my large roaster if the lid fits (sometimes it does, I don’t get giant birds). Only removing the foil during the last 20 minutes to brown.
Here’s what I did with the bird this Thanksgiving.
After removing both bags of giblets which I save aside for gravy, I tucked the wings under the bird, sprinkled outside with salt, pepper and random herbs. I put a whole onion and a whole peeled apple inside the cavity – for extra flavor, and another source of moisture. I chopped up a 50g stick of margarine and spread it on top, not in… not sure it helps the bird, but it does add to the drippings for gravy. Then I tented it well with foil.
I found this link on how to cook a turkey. I didn’t follow all the guidelines – like inserting butter or herbs under the skin. I figure Butterballs are already pumped up. But I preheated the oven to 475F, and cooked the turkey at high for 20 minutes, then lowered the temp to 250F and cooked at that temp for 20 more minutes per pound, which for my bird, was about 3 hours and 40 minutes. If you go to the website at the link above, you’ll find the full technique and a chart of cooking times. At 3hrs and 20mins, I removed the foil and cranked the temperature up to 375F to brown the turkey – it was also the temp that I needed to cook my dinner rolls at for 15 minutes, so it was a good time to multi-task!
The turkey turned out to not only look beautiful – which is not usually my priority, often my turkey falls off the bone – but it is a bonus when the turkey is pretty too, but it was very juicy and delicious. Apologies to my friend, who did not make it due to a sick child, but this was an exceptionally moist turkey! The breast meat had that lovely pink tinge around the edges, and was so full of flavor. We didn’t even get to the dark meat at our first helping of this bird!