Convection Cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey
I recently got a new Dacor 30" dual-fuel range (http://www.dacor.com/Our-Products/Ran... ). So far I have cooked on the stove top and baked in the oven and really love it. (This was by far the best kitchen appliance decision I've ever made!)
However, I'm not yet used the convection features (Convection Bake, Convection Roast, etc.). In fact, I've never cooked in a convection oven and I really won't have the opportunity in the next 3 days. But I have been planning to use the convection feature to roast our Thanksgiving turkey this coming Thursday.
So, does anyone have any tips? Should I play it safe and just use the traditional bake cycle? Or should I try the convection feature on Thanksgiving? And if so, other than reducing the bake time and dropping the temperature a little, and tips?
Thanks in advance.
I decided to roast a turkey today using my new GE Profile with convection and a probe, and this thread helped me to get started. After I put the turkey in, I read the users manual (I know) and they said to put the turkey on a broiler pan. I put in in my usual roasting pan with a rack. How much difference does this make when convection roasting a turkey?
I think the biggest misconception about convection versus conventional cooking is the idea that it's a whole different cooking process. It's really not. I've had my oven for about ten years and have not used anything except the convection setting for both baking and roasting since I got it. The cooking time MAY be shorter -- but not all that much since you are cooking at a lower temperature. Basically, the convection oven simply circulates air with fans so that the cooking is more even. Use it the same as you would a non-convection oven, and don't worry about it. Don't expect it to cook dramatically faster--I find that it cooks a little faster, but not so much more than variations I might find in conventional cooking. In the beginning, until you figure out how YOUR oven works, lower the temp by 25 degrees (I usually don't do this anymore), and use doneness tests rather than a timetable until you're familiar with your oven. In other words, cooking is no different, but the results are better with the convection oven. Roasted meats are more tender and juicy, and tend to cook a little faster. Baked goods come out perfectly even--you never have a lopsided cake again, and every cookie will be uniform, and best of all, you can do three trays of cookies at a time and they will all be perfect. Oh, and you don't have to preheat the oven.
I guess one more thing I might add is that maybe the inside gets hotter faster than a conventional oven would. I DO find that I take things out of the oven sooner than I would with a conventional oven because things seems to cook for a longer period after they're removed from the oven than with a conventional oven. For instance, I take baked goods out of the oven when they are still very, very soft, because they seem to cook more AFTER removal than they did with my old oven.
Tomorrow I am making a crown roast pork for Christmas dinner. The biggest problem I have is deciding whether to use roast or bake, because I have to put other things in the oven. I'm having a manicotti course before the pork, and I think I should bake those. I think I'll put the pork in first, let it finish roasting, then take it out and put in the manicotti to bake. If the pork isn't ready by the time I need to put the manicotti in, I think I'll just switch it over to convection bake at that time.
With a big roast or turkey, I find that I can take it out over an hour before I'm ready to serve it (and when it is 15 degrees lower than "done"), cover it with foil, and it's still piping hot when I slice it later.
The only complaint I have with my GE is that the probe thermometer cord is almost always too short to reach from my meat to the socket!! And somewhere along the line I mixed up the oven probe with the microwave probe, so I'm not sure which is which or if it matters.
Your manual suggests convection roast with the turkey on a rack set in a shallow pan. Pretty much the same thing the manual says for my GE. My oven automatically reduces the standard recipe temperature 25 degrees for convection unless I disable this feature.
Baking with convection saves electricity. Use your oven's probe thermometer to determine when the turkey is done instead of focusing on the bake time.
The computer in my Kenmore stove sets up the convection bake and convection roast settings to fudge the reading of the internal stove temperature in such a way that you just plug in whatever temperature and time you'd use for a traditional bake or roast cycle and the food will come out correctly.
Can't say I notice a huge difference between convection or not when I roast a chicken or turkey, but I do love how convection seems to make a couple sheets of cookies come out perfectly evenly baked.