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For rackless turkey roasting....

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Ruth Reichl's new show had a segment in Italy in which a duck was roasted without a rack - it sat directly on the oven rack, with the roasting pan on the oven rack one slot lower. This certainly made a mess of the oven, but it allowed for wonderful browning of the bird, with the bottom getting as crispy skin as the breast had. If you didn't have a rack, and were planning on cleaning the oven anyway, this would be an option. I imagine the bird cooks faster, too.

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  1. Did you happen to see, greygrious, whether it creates an inordinate amount of smoke? (Maybe that depends on whether the oven has closed versus open elements?)

    I don't know what it is about me, but whatever house I've lived in, and no matter how careful I am about laying out the fire detectors, it seems like the prevailing winds have drawn oven smoke directly to my smoke alarms and, hence, the fire department ;-).

    I can see can see, although one wouldn't have the benefits of *turning*, that this method would offer the benefits of a rotisserie, or the rack, in roasting, instead of steaming, the entire bird. Sounds a little scary for the aforementioned reasons, but also delicious.

    Is it Jacques Pepin who roasts birds on their sides (turning once) to ensure the bottom isn't steamed? I think he uses a rack though...

    1. I Loved that episode! They were in Venice. sigh.

      To answer Normandie...I don't have a convection oven but the oven the duck cooked in had a fan at the back (of the inside). I'm assuming that's a convection apparatus. Anyway, I didn't see any smoke.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        TY, Gio.

        I never see any smoke, either, until I open the oven door, LOL. (Maybe I should clean the oven window, huh?)

        1. re: Normandie

          When the duck was ready to come out of the oven...the door was opned. Now, bear in mind this was a TV show so they may have let the oven clear of any smoke there may have been. But as I say, I didn't see any traces. I'd love to try that technique but I'm afraid to.... that duck was the best looking roast duck I've ever seen. Plump with stuffing!, and crispy skin... you could almost smell it. The chef, Ruth, and Diane Weist swooned all over the table whilst eating.

      2. I'll be making my turkey this Thanksgiving with a brand-spankin'-new range, so I don't know I'd be able to bear trying this. Stupid, I know. But it makes so much sense.

        I actually quit using a rack several years ago, and instead roast my turkey on a bed of vegetables. No, the bottom skin doesn't get crispy, but I never really had much success at that with a rack either. And when the bird is on the vegetables, they get much more flavor, in my experience.

        7 Replies
        1. re: dmd_kc

          The bird or the vegs get more flavor?

          1. re: c oliver

            The vegetables -- sorry, wasn't clear!

            1. re: dmd_kc

              My Miele oven suggests cooking directly on the oven rack when using the thermostat you can insert into the meat/poultry. This gives a rotisserie effect and works well.
              Doug

          2. re: dmd_kc

            But aren't the veggies pretty mushy once the turkey is all done? And where do you get your gravy from?

            1. re: Yorkiegirl

              There are strong opinions about this, but I definitely would not want to eat those vegetables that have essentially been steaming in turkey grease for a few hours. Just a very strong personal preference.

              1. re: c oliver

                Don't most folks discard the vegetables that have been in the roasting pan? I regard them solely as flavoring for the gravy to be made from the fond/drippings. They are quite spent by the end - but the dogs eat them up without hesitation!

                1. re: greygarious

                  My dad picks out the onions and the carrots.. The onions are atually quite tasty. Sometimes I use a rack, soemtimes not (for pork roast, whole chickens etc..) but I always scatter vegetables and the herb strippd herb sticks in the bottom. For smalled roasts I use a pre heated cast iron frying pan, the vegetables are carmelized on impact and they make tasty gravy!