Roasting the Perfect Turkey

Roasting a turkey may seem like a daunting task, but it’s really not that difficult.  It’s just a matter of making sure it’s cooked all the way more than anything, and making sure you don’t over-cook it.  Under-cooked turkey is a health hazard, and over-cooked turkey can be dry.

My method is as follows.  I use a roasting pan.  If you don’t have a roasting pan, I would recommend using the oven bags for turkeys, and following these similar steps.

Wash your turkey.  I open mine in the sink, then rinse it off.  That way, I can bleach out the sink without worrying about contaminating the counters.

Pat it dry with paper towels.  This is an important step.  If you don’t dry it off, the skin will be slippery and the butter won’t stick.

Take about a stick of softened butter and smear it all over the turkey, making sure to get in the creases of the legs and wings.

Salt and pepper.

You can put something in the carcass if you want – and it can be to your taste.  You could put onions and celery in.  You could put fresh sage.  Play around with flavors and see what happens.  Anything you put inside there will just very mildly flavor the bird.

I used lemon, more butter, and fresh parsley.

Once I put it in my roasting pan, I added about 2 cups of water, set the temperature to 350° degrees F, and put the lid on.

About an hour into cooking, I installed my own thermometer.  The little popper thing looked about halfway out to me, so I didn’t really trust it.  I made sure the tip of the thermometer was in the thickest part of the breast and nowhere near a bone, then set the alarm for 180º F.

As soon as the alarm went off, I turned the roaster off and removed the cover.  The bird is so hot at that point, it’s going to continue cooking.  It probably sat for about 2 hours before I served it.  The total cooking time for the 17-pound bird was about 3 hours.

The meat was perfect, moist, deliciously flavored.

Low in sodium
No sugar
High in niacin
High in phosphorus
Very high in selenium
High in vitamin B6
High in zinc

I would love to hear any feedback about this method. Did you make it? Did you enjoy it? Did you make any adjustments to it?


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