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Nov 7, 2006 04:03 PM

HELP! Need advice for cooking a Turkey in a small oven

I live in a typical NYC apartment with a small kitchen and oven. What is the best way to test the oven temperature before I actually cook a turkey for Thanksgiving? I was thinking about cooking a chicken to test it but I'm sure there is a better way. HELP

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  1. I hear your pain (tiny kitchen, Boston). Buy an oven thermometer -- they're only a few bucks and most grocery stores carry them. Baking anything and checking the actual temp against the given temp will give you a sense of how off your oven is (and in which direction). If you've never roasted a bird before, testing a chicken would be a safe start.

    1. Not to sound trite, but you should start with a good oven thermometer. Back in college, I had occasion to cook my first turkey in a tiny, and very old, oven. It was then that I learned--much to my good fortune--that old ovens burn hot. Because we were forced for other reasons to move up eating time by about two hours, this turned out to be a very good thing. The oven was so hot that the turkey was actually cooked through in the shortened time frame. The other fortunate accident was that I had nary a clue which was the breast side, so I cooked the bird breast side down. Had I not done so, in an oven that hot, I would have ended up with a turkey breast the consistency of shoe leather. As it happens, it was cooked perfectly. Better to be lucky then good. (Best to be both.) So good luck to you.

      1. Agree..oven thermometers are just a few dollars and I've never been persuaded to buy a 'fancy' one. Once you are secure in oven temperature, cook the turkey to time - and loose wing. I annually prepare Thanksgiving dinner for 14 in a 20" standard issue apt oven.

        1. I will join the chorus; no matter how new or reliable you think your oven is, a separate oven thermometer is a must if you want to control the temperature at all times. I do recommend you spend a few bucks more and buy one that will last, is grease resistant and can withstand higher temperatures. You won't regret it.

          (I paid $6 for a Polder 550 and so far it works great. It revealed that my new oven runs 50 degrees hotter than the dial setting.)

          1. yes yes, for sure an oven thermometer
            AND check the temp periodically over a long period of time -- my ancient stove not only runs hot, but ramps up temperature over the course of time . . .