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roast turkey breast down question

Anybody roast their turkey breast down, then flip for last hour to brown? Heard this ensures that the breast is super moist via being in a constant state of "baste", but I haven't tried it yet.

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  1. I have always done my turkey upside down wnd flipped it for the lat 1/3 of the cooking time. It turns out wonderful.

    1. Upside down is the best way to cook all poultry, start out the oven on 500 degrees for the first 20 - 25 minutes, then lower the heat to about 350 - 375 for the remaining cooking time. this helps to sear and seal in the wonderful juices.

      When you cook your bird upside down you use gravity to your advantage.
      Only in Norman Rockwell pictures does anyone successfully carve a turkey at the table.

      1. I have done both ways with success. I prefer the high heat method to start and then low. I don't like the grooves in the breast that starting it breast down gives it.

        BTW I was in Whole Foods yesterday AM and found a new turkey lacer. It looks like and is a large coil. You just screw it round the opening like a cork screw. No more pins and twine. Fox Run produces them.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Candy

          RE: grooves
          I use celery ribs (and/or onions) under the breast while it is down as a barrier so it does not get the rack marks.

          1. re: Weazie

            I use a cake/cooling rack in a roasting pan, and oil it first. if one oils the rack no marks. I use a compound butter under the 'breast skin' (that's why I start underside up @500 degrees - 10mins.), (season each side when up) then when u flip it (I broil 15- 20 mins, until color of seasoned skin looks good), remove the rack, and add diced onion for a bed. I don't use celery because I take the pan juices w/onion and then make a mushroom gravy. Pic is just after I added the onion, and the rack removed. Then I tent, add 1/2 C vegetable broth, reduce heat to 300 and set the timer for 25 mins. Then u have a perfect gravy base and a perfect turkey breast. All in about an hour.

            1. re: ghostman

              Finished, with mushroom & onion gravy.

            2. re: Weazie

              I do this too & it works very well for me. Also, the vegetables roast is drippings & turn out wonderful, if caloric.

          2. I cook breast side down, then flip. The breast meat is always juicier this way; it is sometimes difficult if the bird is big, but the results are worth it. And lots more crispy skin!!

            1. I always do this. Not only does it keep the breast moist, but it also allows the back skin to brown nicely. Most of the dents disappear after a while. A few years ago, I invested in a pair of silicone oven mitts, and that makes the process much less cumbrsome. Also, I never buy a turkey larger than 12 pounds. If I need to feed lots of people, I roast two small birds.

              1 Reply
              1. re: phofiend

                Ditto on buying smaller birds and roasting 2 if needed. They don't take as long and are less likely to dry out from overly long time in the oven.

              2. I tried the breast side down method for the first time this year. Flipped it over after the 1st hr. Really great results. The 'grooves' disappeared and I really loved the browning of the skin on the underside.

                1. There's a much easier way. Butterfly the turkey and roast it breast up, spread out so that all skin is exposed. If you put the bird on a mound of dressing, it'll taste like it was stuffed inside.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: embee

                    Sometimes, when I need more turkey, but don't want to roast another entire bird, I cover dressing with extra dark meat turkey parts, as embee does. I would do this all the time, but the dressing absorbs all the drippings, hence no gravy makings. So I only do this in addition to roasting a whole bird. For me, turkey is just the means to the end, being gravy.

                    1. re: phofiend

                      The difference with my method is that the bird completely covers the dressing and forms a barrier around it. Ergo, plenty of drippings in the dressing (I use a butter-injected President's Choice turkey from a Canadian supermarket chain) and plenty of drippings around the bird for gravy. If the turkey doesn't completely surround the dressing then, as you say, no drippings for gravy.

                  2. Over the years, I tried breast down, one side down, then the other, finally breast up, do the hokey pokey, until I finally had had enough.
                    Now I rub a mix of olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper all over the brined turkey and between the skin and the meat. You have to loosen the skin and get your hands really up in there to do this right.
                    I no longer stuff the turkey. Add a bit of the drippings to the dressing which I cook separately and get the same flavor as if it had been cooked inside the turkey.
                    The turkey goes on a rack breast side up at 350 and I don't touch it again until it's done. The skin is crackling crisp because it's been oiled from both sides and brown as it can be. I don't care about the backside because it's down on the platter. The white meat is perfectly juicy every time.
                    I do think my convection oven helps but not constantly opening the oven door and playing with the bird to turn it and baste it keeps the heat even. Cuts down the work as well.
                    Works perfectly with other roast fowl as well. Never fails.

                    1. Another approach is to roast the bird on one side, then the other before turning the breast up. That assures both self-basting and even browning, with less chance of a flattened breast.

                      1. I use celery ribs (and/or onions) under the breast while it is down as a barrier so it does not get the rack marks.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Weazie

                          Has anyone used celery or other vegetables on top of the rack to help prevent ridges in the turkey breast? Did this work?

                          1. re: goodeatsgal

                            I laid 4 long celery stalks on the rack and placed the 21 pound turkey on top, breast side down. We flipped the bird about 2 hours later. There were some ridges, but they weren't too deep. The celery was, of course, cooked and limp. By the time the turkey finished roasting 3 hours later, the ridges were gone.

                        2. I don't buy the claim that putting the bird face-down bastes the breast meat. But I always start roast poultry with their backsides in the air. My theory is that cooking breast down prevents the breast meat from getting overcooked.

                          At least in my oven, the bottom side of whatever's in the roasting pan cooks more slowly than what's on top. So with a breast-up roast, the white meat is woefully overcooked by the time the thighs and the oysters (my favorite bit) are done. Since dark meat wants a slightly higher finished temperature, cooking breast-down for most of the roast period makes it more likely that all the parts of the bird are done simultaneously.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: alanbarnes

                            A recent ATK episode dealt with the overcooked breast problem with 2 steps:
                            - chilling the breast to 36deg with ice packs, while letting the legs warm to room temperature (about 1 hr)
                            - starting it breast side down.

                          2. l take it a bit further, do 25% of time on one side, thus leg up, 25% on other side, 20% with breast down, then finish with breast up works perfectly, regardless of bird involved.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              Mine's close to that -- the big bird that's waiting right this second (resting) was 1/3 on one side, 1/3 on the other side, then 1/3 breast side up. It's golden and crispy all the way round.

                              Joy of Cooking (1997) has the recipe -- it's called Turned Roasted Chicken.

                            2. It seems to be working for me. Looked beautiful, but when I flipped it over the breast skin stayed on the bottom of the pan.

                              1. I always cook my turkey breast side down on a roasting rack. I don't bother flipping it, I don't chill the breast, i don't baste it. I start out at 400 for 1/2 hr, then switch to 350 for an hour, then finish at 225. All the meat is moist and cooked. I only open the oven to make sure there is broth on the bottom of the pan so that the drippings don't burn,.

                                1. to answer "spencer" question. . .


                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: tamamaysuebelle

                                    I'm trying it too... in about an hour! I have a 12lb turkey and no rack. I'm putting onions and celery under it. Wish me luck!

                                    1. re: PJCherry

                                      This is my first time.cooking a turkey.should the legs be in the up position or down position

                                  2. Yes, always.


                                    Turn it breast up for the last hour, or when the internal temp hits 140 or so.