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hmm...first turkey, I guess a roasting pan would be helpful

Well, I am planning my first big turkey dinner to serve on New Year's Eve and I figured it'd be best to start planning ASAP - grocery list, timeline, etc. I just realized that I do not own a roasting pan but of course have seen the piles of aluminum which grace the shelves every holidays. Is it OK to just grab one of these disposable pans? Any tips for using it? Do I need a rack as well?

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  1. They are fine, but you do need to set them on a sturdy cookie sheet, or you will have a hard time getting the birdy out of the oven without the foil collapsing.

    A rack is a good idea.

    Oil the rack and pan before you put the bird in.

    1. While you can roast in a disposable pan most are not sturdy enough to handle the weight of even a small turkey so make sure you put the pan on a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan first. You don't have to have a rack but some believe you get a more even cooking with one,

      Making gravy can be tricky too and your chances of burning the drippings are higher with such a thin pan.

      Honestly? If you plan on making another turkey soon, roast a chicken or make a pork/beef roast I would buy a sturdy roasting pan with rack. With all the after Christmas and "White" sales at chains like Bed Bath and Beyond, Macy's etc you could easily find a nice roasting pan for little money. While there some as low as $19.99 if you can swing it get a good mid range one ($40-$50).

      2 Replies
      1. re: foodieX2

        While we do have a small (medium?) sized roasting pan for general occasions, the turkeys on the table around here once or twice a year are usually too big (22- 25 lbs). The largest aluminum disposable pan is a super convenience on those occasions. And afterwards, throw it away! (Don't clean it/ don't store it!) Another "real" roasting pan in the cupboards year-round just would not fit.

        1. re: foodieX2

          I have several pans I could use to roast a turkey, but I'm a fan of disposable. There's always lots of stuff to clean up after a turkey dinner, so just getting rid of the pan is a treat. (Plus, we roast turkey in the grill - removing pan for about the last 30 min - and I'd rather not crud up my good pans in the grill.)

          The disposable pans with attached rack/handles cost a little more but work well without other support.

        2. You don't need a rack unless you want to purchase one for future roasting....

          A simple disposable aluminum tray, 2-4 inch sides, or the specific oval roaster disposable is suffice. You can make a faux rack by placing carrots and celery underneath the turkey....you can also elevate the bird by making a base out of crumbled aluminum foil.

          To make the tray sturdy so it will not collapse, keep a sheet pan or cookie sheet underneath for easier removal.

          To make for easier removal of the turkey from the pan, tie double strength twine under the wings and back...and legs and thighs and back. You can do this diagonally or straight,,,,or truss the bird in a fashion where you make the twine easily to pick up....No need for a rack.

          Depending on the size of your turkey...a pyrex lasagna dish will also work if you have one.....but the high heat blast to crisp the skin will probably create grease splatter...so you would want to use a sheetpan underneath as well to catch the splatter.

          1. I've successfully used a disposable turkey pan both when cooking one from scratch, and warming up a cooked whole turkey (from a restaurant).

            The way we've generally done it is to use two pans and double them up in the oven. Seems to help with insulation.

            Also, putting the pans on a cookie sheet will make them easier to get into and out of the oven.

            I've never bothered with a rack. But you can use carrots and celery on the bottom of the pan to similar effect, and then use those veggies in the delicious stock you'll make with the turkey carcass!

            1 Reply
            1. re: allgimbel

              I do the same, double the foil ones, put them on a strong cookie sheet, and have never had a problem. It does help with the insulation and prevents burning. Some of the disposable pans also come with a rack already installed in them.
              Another trick I learned from a newspaper article years ago is to make slings for the bird before you put it in the oven. IF you take a length of heavy duty foil, fold it up until it's about an inch wide, and place it under the bird (with enough sticking up to grab onto later) before cooking (with the foil folded back so the bird can brown), you can just grab the ends and lift the bird out of the roaster and onto your platter. Place one sling near the tail of the bird, another toward the neck. Give it a test run before putting it into the oven to make sure of your sling placement - don't want that bird slipping out and splatting on the floor or kitchen counter when you're trying to get it transferred.
              I realize this is late, but figured I'd throw my 2 bits in anyway.

            2. I'd try to gather up a roasting pan and rack. Costco had the combo for about 30.00. If you go the alum route, you'll have to remove the drippings to a sauce pan to make gravey.

              1. Fortunately, I am not entering the gravy making territory as I was able to steal several quarts from my mother who roasted a turkey for Christmas and kindly donated the gravy.

                16 Replies
                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  how big is your turkey? If its small you may even be able to use a 9X11 cake pan. I did that for years before my dinner and therefore the size of the turkey expanded. I agree that a doubled foil plan, with acookie sheet, will work just fine for you.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    It's 18 lbs. I was hoping to get a 12 lber, but my SO thought we should go bigger and have more leftovers.

                    Great, thanks for the tips. I will just use a double foil roasting pan with some mire poix in the base on a cookie sheet. I don't intend to roast much else for a while so investing in a roasting pan is not on the top of my list right now, but perhaps in the future.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      If it's a frozen one, have you started to thaw that big turkey? Today (Friday) is the day to put it in the fridge so it's ready for cooking Monday. And may even be a bit late. Check it Sunday night and look up the instructions for cold water tub thawing, just in case.

                      1. re: MidwesternerTT

                        Yup, I started to thaw early yesterday.

                      2. re: fldhkybnva

                        An 18 lb turkey would be a big challenge for a rackless aluminum foil pan-do you have someone you could borrow a real roasting pan with rack from? like that parent you stole the gravy from??? (LOL)

                        1. re: LJS

                          great suggestion! Hit up the folks

                          I agree that even a double foil pan will be treacherous for an 18lber! If the folks are too far away can you borrow from a neighbor or one of the guests?

                          1. re: foodieX2

                            Yea, unfortunately the parents are a few hours away. Perhaps I will inquire with one of the guests though they are a bunch of non-cooking medical residents or I'll just suck it up and buy one.

                            1. re: foodieX2

                              A quick Google search and I discovered a lovely cheap, sturdy-appearing Graniteware roasting pan which actually looks exactly like the roasting pan which has been in my family's oven every Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. Would this work?

                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                of course it would work. my pan is a granitewear rectangle and is ample for an 18 lber. Its also good for lasagna and such for a crowd.

                                1. re: jen kalb

                                  What size pan do you have? It seems that they are available at any of the big stores around here (at least online at Target, WalMart) and so I think that'll be be the best option for me.

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    my pan is 12x16 on the top and 11x14 on the bottom

                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                      Yes, the GraniteWare pans will work very well! That's how I roast all my turkeys, in that pan, with the lid on. I only remove the lid for 15-20 minutes at the end to finish browning the skin if it's not "there yet". The dark finish inside will create that wonderful crisp skin without the need for tons of basting, tent foiling, ...

                                      For a 18# bird, the larger oval pan (19", which is outside handle measurement, not interior dimensions) should be OK. Your other option would be the square covered roaster, but it will be much larger to store afterwards. Walmart usually has the oval pans in stock, just check your specific store zip code.

                                      1. re: rewok

                                        Ahh, covered. I had not planned to cover it. Thanks for the tip.

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          check your oven size before buying a pan. A 19 inch would not fit easily in my wall oven for example.

                                          Also, there is a ton of advice here and elsewhere about turkey roasting methods. Brining is a great help in producing a non-dry bird.

                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                            I checked it today after I bought the pan and it fits great - vertical so I can put the legs toward the back.

                        2. re: fldhkybnva

                          Please don't discard your drippings, fat and all. Pour into a container, put in fridge, let the fat rise and it will be easy to remove later. Pour the rest into your stock pot if you plan to make stock. Or you can make gravy later when the pressure is off!

                        3. Ikea has a big roasting pan with a rack -- it's heavy stainless, sturdy, and will hold up to a bigass turkey like you have.

                          Don't fiddle with the aluminum ones -- they'll collapse at the perfect moment to baste you and your kitchen with hot, greasy drippings.

                          1. You could borrow one from your local church that has a kitchen possibly. I'd advise to stay away from the tin foil ones..even doubled. The old fashion speckled blue ones are cheap cheap and you'll be amazed at how often they come in handy for all sorts of things in the kitchen.

                            1. You don't need a roasting pan if you follow the techniques shown on this short video
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXESqk...
                              {;-/)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: porker

                                Now that there's funny. Leave it to human beings to do the dumbest things imaginable. ;(

                              2. I'm a fan of recycling (thrift stores & yard sales). Those "old-fashioned" enamel/speckled oval pans are often on the shelves... not next to nothing. As long as in decent shape, would be easy enough to clean up any unknown crud. You're not gonna serve the turkey IN the roasting pan, so what does it matter what it looks like!?!

                                My brother uses an "unattractive" rectangular pan (with rack for lifting) that his MIL gave him when she moved in with them. Works GREAT! His SIL uses throw-aways?? Usually double thicknesses but she has NO cookie sheets to go under?? It's always a little (LOT) shakey getting bird out of oven, since it barely fits to begin with.

                                1. I have referenced several other posts and timetables to estimate cooking time, but thought I'd ask here before I plan my final schedule. Obviously, the time will be determined by a thermometer but approximately how many minutes would you estimate to cook a 18 lb bird? Ideally, I'd like to have dinner served between 5 and 6pm, though if the turkey is ready early I imagine I can just serve it at room temperature with hot gravy?

                                  14 Replies
                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    Depends on your method, of course, but for a medium sized bird you should plan on about 12 minutes per pound at about 325F, so allow about four hours including resting time. The bird is done when the internal temp in the thickest part of the breast meat hits 150F. At that point take the bird out of the oven and turn the oven down to whatever temp it holds at, usually somewhere between 140 and 170. While the oven adjusts the bird will go up to 160 or so. When the oven stabilizes, you can put the bird back and hold it safely virtually indefinitely.

                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                      Joy of Cooking says to roast at 325F 10-12 minutes per pound if NOT stuffed, and 12-15 minutes per pound if you're going to stuff it.

                                      Baste every 30 minutes.

                                      They say the stuffing must be 160F on an instant-read thermometer to be safe -- and the thickest part of the thigh should register 175-180F.

                                      If the turkey is cooked but the stuffing is still cold, pull the stuffing out and bake it separately until it comes to temperature. (the bird should stand 20-30 minutes anyway; tent it with foil)

                                      I've been using this for years now, and I always have a moist, juicy bird.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        Thanks, so my 4.5 hour estimate is probably a bit on the too long side. Perhaps I should schedule 3.5 hours. This is not calculating in the rest time. I plan to roast at 450 for 30 minutes and then roast for the remainder of the time at 325 if that helps with your advice.

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          schedule a little extra time...if you're shaving the time too close, I guarantee it won't be done (just Murphy's law...)

                                          I'd count on 4 hours, and if it's done a little early, resting doesn't hurt it at all.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            Agree. Turkeys can rest a good long if needed. Better to have it done early than late to avoid anymore added stress.

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              It's a free range bird, does that matter at all?

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                Hi:

                                                Yes, it matters. Far less breast mass, relative to thigh and drum. More robust leg tendons.

                                                You might consider roasting upside down for at least the first half to 2/3 of the time and then flipping to brown the breast. And there are Jacques Pepin's turkey tricks of: (a) lopping off the drum ends (so you can pull the tendons when done); and (b) slitting the drum/thigh juncture so the thigh cooks a little faster--equalizes better with cooking the breast.

                                                On your original question, I think disposable pans work OK. The better grade ones with handles will probably do fine if you're careful. Two cheapies nested works, too. I'd hate to spend $50 on a fair-quality roaster, and then feel bad about shelling out real bucks later for a good one.

                                                Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (HNY),
                                                Kaleo

                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                  Thanks. My plan was to roast 450 for 30 minutes breast side down, turn down to 325 and flip breast side up, then continue until done. I imagine that a good estimated time is 3.5 to 4 hours?

                                                  I picked up a Graniteware roasting pan and rack this morning which has made the meal that much more nostalgic as it's identical to the pan my grandmother's has used forever.

                                                  Also, it's a good thing I just checked my oven. I have an in-oven thermometer for the meat but just realized I don't have an oven thermometer to check oven temperature. I went back to the ol' sugar trick and at 350, sugar melted like a champ, so I guess the oven is running a bit hot which I'll keep in mind.

                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                    I think we're all pulling for you, you know! You'll have to come back with a play-by-play the day after. :-)

                                                    1. re: Violatp

                                                      Yea, I am bit anxious with all of the coordination and hope to be able to sleep some tonight, but I might have to just settle for a nap tomorrow.

                                                      If the bird is done early, how long can I let it sit?

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        Excel spreadsheets are my friend to coordinate big meals.

                                                    2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                      See my post below. Do it breast up.

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        Hi, fld,,,

                                                        You, know, all things considered, turkey is a marvelously forgiving bird when it comes to cooking. If turkey cooked like duck, almost no one would eat turkey. So I'm sure your plan will work. And in the age of instant-read thermometers, abject turkey failure is a rare and dubious achievement--it's almost like you have to TRY to screw it up.

                                                        If you have the time (and since you have the big covered graniteware), you might Google Pepin's steamed turkey recipe to see that covered, slow-n-low can be good.

                                                        Please remember two things: (1) It is YOUR turkey and your meal, so don't let anyone push you around or judge; and (2) It's the love of cooking for loved ones that rules, not the sweat or the outcome.

                                                        Whatever you do, have fun and make some memories.

                                                        HNY,
                                                        Kaleo

                                          2. Don't skimp on pan or rack; you will have them for decades.

                                            Also, you MUST get a turkey lifter (chains with 2 handled) that you put under turkey so you can lift it.

                                            Most turkey recipes cause you to dry out the bird. Here is the trick:

                                            1. Blistering hot oven for first 25 - 30 minutes (450 - 500 degrees). This is a German oven. It blisters the skin, sealing the pores so no juice can get out.

                                            2. lower temp to 375 for remaineder.

                                            3. Baste, baste, baste.

                                            4. Cover with aluminum tent if looks like buring,

                                            5. Butter.

                                            6. Water in bottom of pan to catch drippings and stop smoke (another reason for rack)

                                            7. When bird done, leave it alone for half an hour so juices redistribute.

                                            8. Really check how to carve/dismember bird. I love my poultry shears.

                                            9. Enjoy.

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: law_doc89

                                              If the skin blistering "seals the pores so no juice can get out" why do you baste, baste, baste? I would assume if no juices can get "out" then they can't get "in" either?

                                                1. re: law_doc89

                                                  how does basting keep the turkey from burning? serious question.

                                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                                    maybe because every time the door opens you lower the temp of the oven?

                                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                                      Simple physical chemistry.

                                                      Liquid boils at 212F, combustion takes place at higher temp. So long as skin stays at low enough temperature, it cannot burn.

                                                      1. re: law_doc89

                                                        I must somehow defy physics. I never baste and have fabulously moist turkey with crispy, crackling skin that doesn't burn. But my turkeys seem to be done faster than many, maybe because I don't open the door?

                                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                                          There are several different processes at work. Crisping skin versus cooking the carcass, keeping natural juices inside versus drying. Once you have blistered the skin at high temp, you are in a very different situation.

                                                          Anyway, not physics, but physical chemistry, a good intro:

                                                          http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/20...

                                                          Speaking of which, Go Skins! 14 to 7.

                                                          1. re: law_doc89

                                                            Nah, no need. I'm good. I start with a really hot oven for about 20 minutes or so, turn the temp down and leave it alone until the internal temp is right. Leaves me plenty of time to cook sides and even relax. Comes out the oven and rests while I take care of finishing touches. Thats what I love about turkey-no fussing around and perfect every time.

                                                            1. re: foodieX2

                                                              Well you have figured out a good balance. No one needs to know the physical chemistry of crisp poultry skin to pull it off.

                                                              And, 21to 10; go skins!

                                                          2. re: foodieX2

                                                            I'm right there with you. I rub mine with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and get raves every year.

                                              1. BTW, chestnuts or peanuts get soggy in stuffing. Walnuts, which look like little turkeys, stay crunchy.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: law_doc89

                                                  I use chopped toasted pecans and water chestnuts for a little extra crunch and texture. My stuffing always gets rave reviews.

                                                2. God how I love all this turkey-cooking advice. Good luck.

                                                  While you can certainly peruse & digest what everyone here has told you, quite frankly the only way you'll find your way to the best way to roast a turkey is going to be simply to do it.

                                                  Wading through all the "this is THE best & ONLY way to do it", is nothing but nonsense. Everyone has their own BEST way, & you're going to have to find yours all on your own.

                                                  Look online & in basic cookbooks, digest all the info, & plunge in. It may turn out perfect; it may not; but you'll have harvested a boatload of experience to use to your advantage next time.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Bacardi1

                                                    Absolutely, that is part of the excitement. I guess there is always Domino's...or a heftier plate of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and stuffing.

                                                    1. re: Bacardi1

                                                      Barcardi1--good advice! I read and read and read before trembling in fear before making my first T'giving turkey. All that angst for nothing: turned out just fine, without a lot of fussing.

                                                      It's now nearly 40 years later, I fuss even less, and the danged bird turns out beautifully. Hope it went well, fidhybnva!

                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                        Indeed it did, and everything turned out wonderful.

                                                    2. OK, would ideally like dinner ready to serve up at 530pm. Is 1230pm probably a good time to put the turkey in the oven? I just fear it will finish on the shorter end of the cooking spectrum at 3-330pm and then have to sit too long or is that probably a good amount of time given first timer issues?

                                                      10 Replies
                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        Start as early as you can. Turkeys do well sitting around so juices can redistribute.

                                                        And 28 to 18, go skins!

                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                          Just like beef or pork, turkey need to be rested as well. I like to roast at 275 for birds 14 pounds and under. a large bird like yours at 18 pounds, I prefer a longer and slower roasting using 225* for more consistent cooking and ensuring the meat does not dry out...as it can do so with a higher temperature. It's simple reasoning that a thicker breast will take more time cook near the ribcage, so you do not want to rush it with a higher temperature and drying the outer layer before the center gets cooked.

                                                          Get your roast into the oven sooner at 11-11:30 and expect a minimum 4.0-4.5 hours to hit 150*, but 5.5 hours would not be uncommon. If the roast hits sooner than expected, simply rest it @ 140* in the oven, or until you need the oven to complete your sides. Just before serving you can place the roast back into the oven to crisp
                                                          the skin.

                                                          You can read here another first time experience with low and slow roasting for turkey to possibly give you inspiration to give the the method a try.....courtesy of (tacosandbeer)

                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/883472

                                                          1. re: fourunder

                                                            Oh no, now I'm utterly confused. Anyone else recommend the low and slow method? I don't mind starting earlier but most of the advice I read suggested the high heat, then lower for the remainder of the time.

                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                              Fourunder's advice is excellent, especially for a beginner. It will give you more latitude, more margin for error and less chance of drying it out. I have had great success with the low and slow method and we use a similar method in my Turkey-only restaurant. Everyone wonders how we keep our Turkey so moist and I am only too happy to tell them, knowing they won't believe me and will never try it themselves.

                                                              I've actually prepared a short video that goes over the process in detail: http://youtu.be/4xFOd6QicAU

                                                              1. re: acgold7

                                                                ac,

                                                                Thanks for the kind words....as always...

                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                fldhkybnva,

                                                                .... but most of the advice I read suggested the high heat, then lower for the remainder of the time.

                                                                I advocate the same advice....the difference being....the first 15-20 minutes at 450*, then reduced to 225* until done instead of 325
                                                                .
                                                                Rest for a minimum one hour, though two is better...then finish with a high heat blast for 10 minutes if you want crispy skin......

                                                                Everything is basically the same except for the 225 opposed to 325....and the total roasting time is increased 90-120 minutes........but where the difference ends is the lower temperature roasting will result in a far more moist turkey with evenly cooked white meat & dark meat....

                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                  Hmm, this is intriguing. Will of course use a thermometer, but estimated time for an 18 lb bird for planning purposes? If I carve at 5pm it should probably be finished around 4 pm. I calculated 10-15 minutes per lb since it's a free range bird so that'd be 2 3/4 to 4.5 hours so it seems that planning 3.5 to 6 hours would be ideal. So bird in the oven at 11-1130 as suggested above?

                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                    I like the idea of sooner, rather than later....it's far easier to hold a fully cooked turkey, rather than rushing it....also my experience the longer the resting period, the better the results will be.....or another way of putting it is, two hours rest is better than 20 minutes. Roasting at a low temperature ensures two things....higher yield and a superior moist and evenly cooked end result.

                                                                    Just to give you some peace of mind, when commercial kitchens cook turkeys, especially large ones like yours...they start the day before by having the night kitchen staff put the kitchens into the oven before they leave for the night in ovens known as cook and hold.. When the turkeys reach temperature, they shut down and hold at a temperature of 140* until need...often for over 4 hours.

                                                                    Get that turkey out of the refrigerator when you wake up and into your oven between 10:30-11:00.

                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                      OK, that's the plan - out of the fridge at 930am, into the oven at 1030am. If it's ready early it's not big issue it seems.

                                                                      1. re: fourunder

                                                                        For what it's worth, that is almost exactly what we do. Our 30lb birds go in around 8 pm, are done cooking around 3 am or so, and hold at the legally required 165F until 8am when the staff arrives, and are still shockingly moist and juicy when they are taken apart shortly thereafter.

                                                                        I wish we could hold at 140 but they won't let us.

                                                              2. re: fourunder

                                                                Morning fourunder, I'm roasting a bird today. It's 14 lbs and change with neck and giblets included so 13 lbs or so. Would you recommend 225 or 275? Time is not an issue.

                                                            2. 645am-wide awake and ready to continue this adventure. Thank you for all of the wonderful advice. Hopefully I will report back with news of a delicious dinner. If not, I won't beat myself up, practice makes perfect and every cooking experience is a learning opportunity.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                you'll be fine -- you've already shown that you're interested in, and dedicated to, a good meal...and it will show.

                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                  You see that many of us have worked out different techniques that we favor. The way you will get there is by cooking, so no matter what, there is no failure, only learning. Enjoy the adventure.

                                                                2. Just a quick check...is this the thickest part of the thigh?

                                                                   
                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                    Yep -- just make sure it's not lying next to or touching a bone.

                                                                  2. Ok, all looks well so far. It's been 5 hours including 20 minutes at 450. The breast and thigh seem to be at the correct temperature and the juices are running clear. Dinner is in 2-2.5 hours so I turned the oven to 175, can I just keep it in there until I need to use the oven for sides?

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                      If you have reached your target temperature...then drop down to 140*. If you cannot go lower than 170*, then you can crack the oven door open. ......or you can simply leave it inside the oven with the thermostat of. the bird will stay hot/warm. You can monitor with the digital probe. when you need to do your sides, remove the bird and tent with foil. When you sides are finished.. you can crisp the skin with a high heat blast for 10 minutes. You will not cook the bird any further and a second resting is not necessary.

                                                                      If crisp skin is not a priority for you...or presenting at the table is not needed, then you can slice the turkey while your sides are being finished when you remove the turkey from the oven

                                                                      You also have the option of the high heat blast before you place your sides into the oven....rest or not, then slice....depending on how long you need to finish your sides.

                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                        Yep, just bear in mind it's going to cook just a little bit more.

                                                                        Next time subtract the time between now and when your sides must go in the oven. When the bird comes out, tent it thoroughly with foil until you're ready to carve.

                                                                        Did you have fun?

                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                          Absolutely, it's actually been a join. Now time to whip up sides and throw in the oven. Most are already prepared so just need to bring to room temperature and reheat

                                                                      2. Wow! THANK YOU!!! No offense to the generation of women in my family who have much more experience than me, but that was quite possibly the best turkey I have ever had. It was succulent and moist, the white and dark meat were both perfect. Thank you for helping me with my first dinner, it was quite the success. I have now joined the low and slow crusade.

                                                                        69 Replies
                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                          Now THIS is where we need a like button!!

                                                                          Woohoo. it just gets easier from here. Congrats!

                                                                          Now get back to your guests! LOL

                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                            Nice job and great to hear your success....
                                                                            Two questions.....

                                                                            * At what temperature did you roast the turkey

                                                                            * How long did you rest, or hold the turkey before slicing.

                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                              I roasted at 450F for 20 minutes then at 250F for 5 hours and rested for 2 hours. It was very warm when I carved and insanely moist.

                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                So glad it was a great success!! Kudos to you & your first roast turkey! :)

                                                                                1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                  Thanks so much! Now...I need to make a plan for all of these leftovers. That is, if there are many more at the end of the day since I can't keep to stop picking at them.

                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                    1) turkey pot pie
                                                                                    2) turkey a la king (a surprise hit at my house - hadn't made it in years and years, and it was devoured)
                                                                                    3) freeze it for later
                                                                                    4) soup -- don't forget the bones -- just simmer the bones with vegetables to make a good stock -- there will be plenty of meat on the bones to pick and add to the soup.
                                                                                    5) turkey sandwiches with salt and butter on soft white bread -- one of the few times I ever willingly eat Wonder-type bread.

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      Congratulations. The key is the searing up front and the resting at the end. You can also freeze the turkey meat, so don't feel compelled to eat so much that you become sick of it.

                                                                                      Next year try a smaller turkey (10 - 12) and cooking for shorter time at higher heat. The skin will separate from the meat and become a crisp dish all its own, You will have fewer leftovers, too.

                                                                                      1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                        Oh well, I actually love turkey so the idea was to have plenty of leftovers to freeze.

                                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        Yes, King's rolls have been acquired for sandwiches and I think tonight we might do nachos and then whip up some turkey soup and freeze the rest for later.

                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                          that's the one really nice thing about turkey -- there's so much you can do with it, and it all freezes well if you want to extend it (or just get tired of turkey after a few days!)

                                                                                          Ham's the same way, incidentally -- hambone soup, added to beans, casseroles, hash, freeze it, etc., etc., etc.

                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                            Congratulations on your first turkey dinner! I wish turkeys were available year around!

                                                                                            Make Eggs Benedict using some of the breast meat and Canadian bacon. That's what we're doing right now. Hau'oli Makahiki Hou and Happy Year of the Water Snake!

                                                                                          2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            Yes - "Turkey a la King" is one of the first things made with turkey leftovers here. It's one of my husband's favorites. I serve it over those Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry "patty shells" you can get at pretty much any supermarket. Just a plain white sauce (sometimes I add in a little cheese) with bite-size turkey pieces & some frozen mixed vegetables. Sometimes I sub in my dear mother's favorite - canned "Veg-Al", which is actually quite good for a canned vegetable product.

                                                                                            Two other favorites are cold sliced turkey sandwiches with sliced Swiss cheese, mayo, salt, & pepper on white bread; and hot open-faced turkey sandwiches - I put turkey slices in a large skillet with a jar of turkey gravy (or you could use your own) & heat; then I put slices of Swiss cheese or a sprinkle of blue cheese over the turkey & cover until the cheese melts. Serve over a couple of slices of toast.

                                                                                    2. re: fourunder

                                                                                      OK, fourunder it's turkey time again and this time for the actual turkey holiday rather than New Year's. I pondered a different method, but I decided that this method was so amazingly perfect that I shouldn't mess with greatness. Last time I bought a ready to cook turkey rubbed with herb butter but I'm thinking that this year I'll season it myself. Just a question - is there anything else I need to do to prepare it for cooking other than decide on a seasoning and mix up an herb butter? Otherwise I imagine they didn't do much other than cleaning the bird to make it oven ready. It hadn't been brined at all so I'm planning to not bother as your method was great. I'm really looking forward to my second bird.

                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                        To be honest, I really think all the fancy recipes are overkill. Outside of brining, I really do not see how the herbs and any butter butter can penetrate. If you rub under the skin, it will melt away quickly and way before the 4-6 hours needed to roast the bird and hold it. I do believe adding butter or oil aids in browning the skin...but flavoring, not so much.. If you want to try to impart flavor to the meat itself, I would suggest you take the Cajun Fried Turkey Route and inject it with the melted flavored herb butter.....let it rest to solidify and then start your roasting. At least this way, the many pockets of butter will keep it moist from within and will resemble sort of a Chicken Kiev when sliced.

                                                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                                                          OK, thanks. So do you just clean it and put it in as is? I think the turkey will be about the same size as last year. I wasn't planning to brine as the last one wasn't brined and was fine.

                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                            I've never brined any bird of any kind, and my roasted poultry (quail, Cornish game hens, poussins, chickens, capons, ducks, and turkeys) have never, ever been dry.

                                                                                            I agree it's not necessary.

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              OK, I always almost going to just go for the dry brine but not having to do it would be great. Also I bought an heirloom bird this year which isn't a full-on heritage but I really wanted to focus on the taste and just cooking it well without other "distractions." So you think just sticking with some salt and pepper and maybe butter/oil with the low and slow is the best idea?

                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                Yep. That's the way mine will be roasted this year.

                                                                                                I roast mine according to Joy of Cooking -- 325 for 10-12 minutes per pound if not stuffed, 12-15 minutes per pound if stuffed. The thigh will read 175-180 when done.

                                                                                                Judging by the number of clusters of notes in the margin of my tattered book, it's served us well -- for a lot of years -- there's a lot of calculations there.

                                                                                                I baste when I remember....

                                                                                              2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                hi, sunshine: "I've never brined any bird of any kind, and my roasted poultry... have never, ever been dry."

                                                                                                I am a recent convert to brining. I wouldn't say that my unbrined preps have been dry, but I *will* say that my brined ones have been more succulent and flavor-infused. I use Tom Keller's brine recipe for most poultry and I might add in a little orange juice when roasting a turkey.

                                                                                                If you haven't tried brining, I encourage you to give it a whirl.

                                                                                                Aloha,
                                                                                                Kaleo

                                                                                              3. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                Generally, the process is to get the Turkey thawed 3-4 days in advance. I remove it from packaging and give the bird a good rinse inside and out in defiance of the food police. I drain the bird and pat dry after gravity does its work on the inside. From there, I'll pull the skin a bit and season liberally both under and outside the skin, as well as inside the cavity with Kosher Salt. On day of roasting, I pull out of the fridge 8+ hours in advance of roasting.....2 hours outside, up to 4 hours roasting time and 2 hours holding time. Finished with a 20 minute warmup and a high heat blast for about 10 minutes before serving. No second resting is necessary.

                                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                  Perfect! I'm looking forward to this bird, last year's was a delight. I'm buying it fresh, never frozen so will just leave it uncovered overnight and do the same as late year, I think I did 450F for 20 minutes then down to 225-250F until breast was 150F although for some reason I remember having the probe in the thigh so I guess I went up a little higher if I was going by the thigh temperature. As for holding time, I think last year you said it was fine to just leave it on the counter covered? Can I carve and then warm it up or should I leave it whole?

                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                    A word of caution. If you are getting a fresh kill bird from a farm, make sure you get it 4-7 days in advance. The bird will need to settle out of rigor, otherwise you will have one tough turkey on the table.......

                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                      You can leave it outside, but I recommend leaving it in the oven as long as you can @ 140-170* because it is a controlled environment and no fuss. Most sides can be cooked in an hour, so you can pull it then. I would recommend you slice no more than 30 minutes before serving. Watch a video and you can learn to carve the whole bird in less than 10 minutes.... We carve out of the kitchen, not at the table. Remove the wings, thighs & leg, then both Breasts. Slice the breast, then the thighs. Use the wings and legs to shape the bird on a platter.

                                                                                                      1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                        Last year I carved in the kitchen and it's so easy, and plated looks very nice although its only 2 of us so presentation usually takes a back seat to diving in. It's a local bird but via whole foods so I imagine it will have been dead for a few days.

                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                          We usually plate and present it to the crowd (photos!) then take it back into the kitchen to carve. Too hard to try to carve it at the table.

                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                            I have a hard time staying awake when the I'm an invited guest and the Turkey is carved at the table....

                                                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                              I have awful memories of my dad with that darn ancient chainsaw of a turkey knife which was used only on this day and made awful slices :)

                                                                                                          2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                            I appreciate that you have exhibited some trust and confidence in my advice or opinions. I really think you should give the long rest a try to give you an idea of what to expect for a similar future holiday roast. Slow roast the bird and hold it for the two hours. You will be pleasantly surprised how much easier it is to have extra time to prepare and cook your sides without any stress. Your time management will allow you to actually enjoy the day ....either in solitude...or with friends and family.

                                                                                                            This year, since it will only be the two of you, finish preparing your meal and focus on your plating presentation. Hone your skills to impress the next time you host or entertain.

                                                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                              Ok so out of fridge x 1 hour, roast probably 4-5 hours for an 18 lber, then keep in oven at 140F for 2 hours? Then into the oven for 20 minutes to rewarm. I'm hesitant but was hesitant last year and I'm glad I took the "risk." My oven only goes to 170F, what do I do if the bird temp starts rising? I wouldn't mind that at all. We plan to sit around and just enjoy the day and I'll be up early anyway. Sides will be prepped the night before and just need to be warmed.

                                                                                                              We also aren't big skin eaters so perhaps I can skip the final blast.

                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                Effectively, when you reduce the thermostat from 225-250, down to 170, the cooking process halts.....only the carryover effect will happen. At 170, the needle will barely advance any higher. I like to roast smaller 12-14 pound turkeys and at 225, the most the carryover effect is likely to rise is 5-7 degrees.

                                                                                                                You only need to warm if you want it very hot or if you rest outside of the oven. The turkey will still be pretty hot, not just warm after the 2 hours inside the oven.....especially a larger 18 pounder. The larger mass retains more heat than a smaller one.

                                                                                                                With regards to estimation of time...@ 225* I've never had a turkey take more than 6 hours...so your numbers are a good guideline. hitting temperature early is a good thing....I really believe the longer resting period, by accident or design, is a good thing and produces a superior result.

                                                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                  Alrighty I'm sold! I'll be sure to report back of course! I'm excited to have the bird in at the crack of dawn and then leave it and essentially forget it.

                                                                                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                    Great, so I should probably allow 8 hours or even 9?

                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                      I think 8 is a safe bet...9 can't hurt.....but if not mistaken, you and yours are not really turkey skin fans correct? If that true, the skin is just keeping the meat from discoloring and drying out. The longer rest won't hurt.

                                                                                                                      My family usually states 2 PM as the dinner hour on Thanksgiving Day....but most always, some run late and the hour gets pushed back. I usually go to bed at late hours, so I remove the Turkey before I retire for bed. I get the Trukey into the oven between 6-7AM. It finishes around Noontime and always sits until it's ready to be carved.

                                                                                                                      1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                        Nope, I inhale the skin on a Zuni high roasted chicken but for Thanksgiving I really do love turkey so gobble that up and save my skin calories for other foods as if it's an even trade :) I just looked it up and it seems that we ate at 8pm last year which is awful especially as I remember leftovers not being really a possibility. I'd love to eat early at 2pm like you though it always jut feels weird to me but maybe I should just go with that like many others do. I like your plan. You let it sit out all night while you sleep? I'm an early riser so my usual plan is to get up early 5 or 6 am, get coffee, make a quick breakfast and get going. With this though, getting going is pretty minimal.

                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                          the turkey will sit out of the fridge about 4 hours....in the basement where it never gets above 60 degrees, usually between 57-59.

                                                                                                                          Let the food police be damned...and I'm still alive to tell you no one has ever experienced any discomfort.

                                                                                                                          1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                            My food safety threshold is so high I'm not sure where it is so no qualms here.

                                                                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                              Would you still do the 450F at the beginning or do you prefer at the end?

                                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                I used to do the browning only at the end, but then a someone on CH pointed to me to a Advisory Council study recommending browning in the beginning for 20-30 minutes to kill off any surface bacteria if roasts were not seared in the pan first.....I also brown at the end of the 2 hour hold, or resting period to crisp the skin, or char a beef/pork/veal or lamb roast.....essentially, or effectively, to heat the roast to serving temperature if it has cooled.

                                                                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                  Ok, thanks. I'll do the antibiotic early high temperature and at the end if we're in a skin mood.

                                                                                                                    2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                      wait -- what?

                                                                                                                      Your oven only goes to 170F? Even if it were 170C, that's still completely bizarre.

                                                                                                                      If your oven only goes to 170, you need a new oven -- even in Centigrade, that's not hot enough to cook anything.

                                                                                                                      (I let my birds rest about a half-hour, by the way -- enough time to re-warm the sides and make the gravy)

                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                        Uh it only goes down to 170f does that make more sense to you? As in to rest it at 140f I have to prop the door. :)

                                                                                                            2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                              Do you just salt as you would a steak for example, or more heavily?

                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                The mass of a turkey is quite more than most beef...so the answer is much more heavily...the skin, under skin and inside the cavity. As with most roasting, a good amount of the salt will come off with the fat renderings/drippings, or if you baste(which, I do not). Salting the cavity a little heavier will season the carcass for stock/soup... If I ventured a guess, I'd say at least 4 tablespoons, but quite possibly 6 for a larger bird. 2 for each half of the turkey on the skin and under....one each for the carcass cavity.

                                                                                                                If you feel the pan juices come out too salty....just add more water or stock to soup or gravy.....and adjust seasonings accordingly.

                                                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                  Ok, I think most full dry brine recipes call for 1 T per 5 lbs so that sounds about right. The low and slow with 2 hour rest plan is on. I just realized as you mentioned above that means the bird has to be in at 6 am :) I'll probably salt Wednesday morning and let it in the fridge until Thursday. I've already made gravy with turkey parts so won't really be using the juices. Actually, last year I didn't seem to have many drippings.

                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                    With low and slow.....you never get much in pan drippings...only fond.....the moisture stays in the meat.

                                                                                                                    One day ahead for salting is a good idea.

                                                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                      Wow, fourunder, you are a wealth of knowledge. You led me well with low and slow for the prime rib roast, I figured I would do the same for the bird this year. Very glad I sought you out and read this as we are getting a fesh killed farm bird, picking it up Tuesday. We aren't hosting, we just like to cook and always make a turkey for Thanksgiving whether we are hosging or not. so I have flexibility and will move our turkey to Saturday or Sunday.

                                                                                                                      One question, what is the target temperature to pull the bird out? if I read correctly 150, but I thought 160 was the target but I am assuming since we are going low and slow, 150 is fine.

                                                                                                                      As always thanks for the help and advice.

                                                                                                                      1. re: angelo04

                                                                                                                        First, fresh kill birds I like to give a minimum 3 days to get out of rigor...so Saturday should be good.

                                                                                                                        You want to pull 150-155.....depending on the roasting temp, you will get the carryover effect. I roast my turkey at 275, so I pull at 150ish. If you go with 225, then pull 155, but definitely before 160. Anything above 160 will get over 165, which makes for dry breast meat. You may see some pink meat near the bones, but that does not bother me. As long as the juices are clear, you're fine.

                                                                                                                        Please note, I stop the cooking process at 150, but I ALWAYS plan for a two hour hold and rest inside the oven at 140*...That allows the meat to set and the final high heat blast to crisp the skin ensures a fully cooked bird

                                                                                                                        check out acgold7's comments...

                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8834...

                                                                                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                          I think that is the key part I was not understanding, the hold in the oven at 140.

                                                                                                                          Bird was slaughtered today. Picking it up tomorrow. I will brine it on Thursday. Remove and air dry in the fridge on Friday and slow roast Saturday. Looking forward to it! Thanks for the great advice

                                                                                                                          1. re: angelo04

                                                                                                                            I really don't need to use the oven until about 45 minutes before serving, so I just leave the roast in the oven when it;s done. When you pull the roast, it will stay sufficiently hot/warm for quite some time, so it's not necessary to cover, as it's already been rested. I used to hold meat for about an hour.....then by accident, due to late arriving guests, I had to end up holding a roast for 3-4 hours one time. What i found was that the meat was actually better, but then it dawned on me...that was precisely what we did at the Country Club....and I was disappointed for not realizing the longer holding time greatly improves the roasts at home as well.

                                                                                                                            I've tried all the different methods for holding at home....outside the oven, tented, wrapped, in a cooler...etc, etc, etc. But then again, when roasts are cooked in the commercial kitchens, in what's known as a Cook & Hold ovens....when the roast reaches the desired temperature, it shuts off the oven thermostat, or more appropriately, reduces the temperature to 140, and then holds it at the lower temperature...effectively stopping the cooking process. At 140, the roast stays warm and you don't have to do anything to it.....I open the oven door for 5 minutes to let the heat escape, close the door and hold for the two hours. No wrapping, no fuss and no muss....you don't even waste any aluminum foil. 30 minutes before you serve, raise the oven to 25o* for 20 minutes, then 450+ finish with a high heat blast to put char on red meat or crisp the poultry skin. The only thing i really do is drain the pan juices or switch out the pan to make gravy.....the new pan will also not burn and evaporate any pan juices...since they have already been removed.

                                                                                                                            No second rest is needed and you can slice away.

                                                                                                                          2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                            Hi, fourunder:

                                                                                                                            I'm game to try the Slow-N-Low. Would you please give me the Cliff's Notes version for an unstuffed 21-lb bird at true room temp? I get the 225F oven until 155F internal temp, then a 140F hold for 2 hours, but can you help me dial in approximately how long it will take to get to 155F in the first place?

                                                                                                                            I other words is there a rule-of-thumb for X minutes/pound at 225F? My inlaws will probably roast ME if I'm off by more than an hour!

                                                                                                                            Mahalo,
                                                                                                                            Kaleo

                                                                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                              You can always plan to have it done perhaps a smidge early and just hold it resting.

                                                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                The short answer is 4.5-5.0 hours roasting, 2 hours hold...so 6.5-7.0 hours til on the table.

                                                                                                                                At 250, the rule for Turkey is about 10 minutes per pound, according to Alto Shaam Commercial cooking equipment. they are the Industry leaders in this type of cooking equipment. These are very well insulated and accurate electric oven.

                                                                                                                                http://www.alto-shaam.com/culinary_re...

                                                                                                                                http://www.alto-shaam.com/Portals/0/C...

                                                                                                                                For 225, you are looking at closer to 15 minutes per pound.. Over estimating time is a good thing with low and slow. If the roast hits temperature early, you simply hold the roast a little longer.....however, if somehow a wrench is thrown into the wheel....then you can bump up the thermostat to hit your mark.

                                                                                                                                21 x 15 = 315 >>>5.25 hours....I would make the first check at 3.5, then 4.0.

                                                                                                                                I usually cook 14 pound turkeys....but the last time i did a 20+, it took about 4.5 hours to hit 155*. While I recommend the longer rest, one hour is the minimum. With that said, With the initial 30 minute blast included, you should expect around 4.5 hours cooking time. With a planned two hour rest, if you need the oven to prepare sides, you can pull the turkey out after an hour.....finish your sides, then put the turkey back into the oven for a short 20 minute reheat at 250* if you like HOT, but you may find your turkey is already sufficiently warm for serving with out ....then 10 minutes at 450 to crisp the skin. You do not need the second rest and you can slice away when you remove from the oven.

                                                                                                                                Last year, Tacosandbeer used the method with a higher 275* and with a 12 pound bird. With your larger bird, I would use the lower 225* to allow for more consistent cooking for the larger mass of the breast meat.

                                                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/883472

                                                                                                                                If time is a factor, then you may want to consider 250 to save about an hour.....but my contention is, if it's going to take 3-3.5 hours @ 250....I certainly have the time to allow for the extra hour @ 225. In the end, it will ensure a better result....it's not any more work, just an hour less sleep to get up and throw it in the oven. The whole premise of low and slow is it cooks the meat more tender naturally...., so don't rush it with the larger bird. You don't want the outside dry and the meat near the bone not done..

                                                                                                                                Let me know if you need more info or clarification.

                                                                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                  This is fantastic information. THANKS!

                                                                                                                                  Rack or no rack?
                                                                                                                                  Blast at start or finish?

                                                                                                                                  Thanks Again,
                                                                                                                                  Kaleo

                                                                                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                    Always elevate any roast....so yes tot he rack.

                                                                                                                                    I blast at both the beginning and end. If you blast only at the end, I find the skin or outer layer on any roast has the texture of jerky..

                                                                                                                                    Good luck.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                      OK, 30 at the start and finish? What temp?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                        1. 30 minutes @ 450 at the beginning, drop down to 225

                                                                                                                                        2. If you want hot turkey, 20 minutes @ 250 30 minutes before serving.

                                                                                                                                        3. If you want to ensure crispy skin,10 minutes at 450 after the end of the last step #2....

                                                                                                                                        Please note, you should monitor step 3 to make sure the skin doesn't burn.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                          Best of luck kaleokahu! My bird has been in the oven a good 2.5 hours now and it's looking great.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                            Hi, fldhkybnva:

                                                                                                                                            Thanks. Mine's at 144F right now with about 30 minutes to go before the long 140F rest.

                                                                                                                                            My only concern so far is that the breast skin browned completely during the first 30 minutes, so it's been tented ever since. Not sure I can crisp it up at the end w/o turning it black.

                                                                                                                                            Enjoy your bird and Thanksgiving!

                                                                                                                                            Aloha,
                                                                                                                                            Kaleo

                                                                                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                              I'm almost finished the 2 hour rest. I pondered extending it to 3 hours but getting hungry and have to heat up sides. The last high blast is just to crisp the skin so if you think it's crisp/brown enough you might be able to skip it though I'm not entirely sure. I actually do the initial 450F for 30 minutes with the turkey breast side down, then flipped for the remaining cooking time. I have no idea why but that's what I did last year and decided to do it again. If you do the last high heat blast, I'd watch carefully or shield and attempt to brown other areas.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                K,

                                                                                                                                                the softer skin from tented will crisp back up...but just keep an eye on it at the 5 minute mark.....450 is safer than 475+

                                                                                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                  My bird is done so I'm about to take it out and heat up sides. Just tenting is OK vs. well-wrapped ? I think I'm gonna do the 250F rewarm and 450F blast just for kicks and maybe some skin nibbles.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                    If I recall you have roasted a larger (18) bird. The large...tented or loosely covered is fine unless you like really hot turkey... the larger mass will retain the heat. With the rewarm and blast, your just bringing back up to a better serving temperature.

                                                                                                                                                    for the record, your enthusiasm, is both refreshing and appreciated. With that said, give way a try and record on your notes like you have been doing. You will find there really will not be much of a difference. My set of rules have come down to what works best for me, I'm never early to arrive....except for my meat roasts and the extra time allows for a stress free life to finish sides. For me, I probably would not tent....the turkey would be hot enough for our table with the rewarm and blast.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                      This year's bird is a whopping 20 lbs which is a lot for me, perhaps 19lbs if you subtract the neck.

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks, again. I love this turkey adventure and really had no stress this year because I didn't have to ponder how to cook the turkey or being stressed all day. I've been sitting on the couch since I woke up and even took a nap or two. I am keeping notes on the computer with each step figuring out my favorite method. I'm sure I don't have to bother flipping the bird breast side down for I've been doing it and it works so why not.

                                                                                                                                                      If the oven is at 350F for the sides, do you think I could just pop the turkey in when they come out and turn it up to 450F so it gets rewarming time as the oven heats and then the final blast vs. turning the oven back to 250F and having to keep sides warm.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                        yes..when you open the door, the heat will escape, but the oven wall will stay hot....and the probe will not kick in unless you need to get back up to 250...which you won't....the recovery time to 450 will be shorter....also lessening the chance to overcook the outer layer of meat or dry out the breast.

                                                                                                                      2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                        If I have the time since the turkey is now in the fridge, should I salt and leave uncoveres now or too early?

                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                          I would say yes. I usually do 24-48 hours before depending on the type or size.... and what particular mood I am in. Uncovered will aid in any moisture released by the salting process and allow it to evaporate.

                                                                                                                          1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                            Thanks, now to make room for the darn thing to lay normally in the fridge. Every Thanksgiving I remember that I really need a bigger fridge.

                                                                                                            3. Why do people keep saying that an aluminum pan won't do the job for roasting a turkey...apparently the will do the job, which is why they are being sold in most stores. Obviously, if it's put into the oven without having a sturdy place to sit in which to be stable , you'll have issues. Put on a baking sheet and there will be no issues cooking in it. It's meant to be used as a one time cooking vessel unlike regular bakeware.

                                                                                                              21 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                It will do the job, to be sure. It will do a half-baked job, but it will do the job.

                                                                                                                Having used aluminum foil pans and stainless roasting pans, there really isn't a comparison, and the heavy-duty metal pan does a far better job, and is far easier to handle than even a double pan does.

                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                  I will always vote for a more stable better roasting pan over a disposable one but I have cooked more than a couple of birds in a last minute grab at the store disposable pan and it did a damn good job not just half baked.

                                                                                                                  Perhaps there was an issue with your dish?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                    what was there about my saying I've used both that you felt was worthy of scorn?

                                                                                                                    I've used both and given an option, I don't like foil pans.

                                                                                                                2. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                  There are aluminum pans...then there are aluminum pans. some are better than others...but for any large roast, they are very flimsy and can be difficult to handle when removing from the oven...

                                                                                                                  So yes a baking sheet underneath will help.

                                                                                                                  But another point to consider....while the aluminum pan is necessary for those who do not have a suitable roasting pan option....it is basically a throwaway option and only reduces clean up marginally. I'm pretty sure in most cases, the pan used underneath will be cleaned by most, so really where is the savings in time. If you do have a roasting pan, use it. If not then purchase one. My only point is this... given the option of purchasing a pan to have forever, or having to purchase disposable ones forever....take the leap and purchase a real roasting plan you can make and share memories with and pass the pan off to the next generation. Buying aluminum pans for anything other than travel is a waste of money.

                                                                                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                    or when you find yourself in the unlikely situation my SIL found herself in a few years ago -- the turkey farm called and said the turkey was a *little* bigger than what she'd ordered. It's a BIG family, and she was distracted, so she said sure! We'll take it!

                                                                                                                    The stupid thing showed up -- all 32 pounds of it (no, I'm not making this up....) The only way to end up with a pan was to Frankenstein FOUR aluminum roasters together with HVAC tape (on the outside of the pans)

                                                                                                                    It took two of us to hoist it in and out of the oven-- and it *barely* fit. Miraculously, it was moist and tender, but she swore off jumbo turkeys for life.

                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                        That's a funny story....thanks for sharing.

                                                                                                                        I would have chopped that off into parts myself.....

                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                          Wow, I would have loved to see that MacGyver-ing in action.

                                                                                                                          1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                            It was quite the experience...but I think I can move it to the "done that" list -- no need to repeat!

                                                                                                                            We were all pretty surprised (even the two of us who were trying to roast the stupid thing) at how moist and tender and tasty it was.

                                                                                                                        2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                          One time I was given an invite to a friend's "Going Away Party" (Memorial Service) at her house. She couldn't cook for beans, but her daughters were throwing this send-off. My Dad told me we should arrive early to see if "the Girls" needed help. I asked them if it was OK for us to arrive early so I could help with last-minute details. They were excited that someone who actually knew how to cook was coming an hour ahead of everyone else.
                                                                                                                          Thank goodness that I did! One of them had looked at a the package and inferred that a big old turkey, stuffed, only took only 35 minutes at 400 degrees to cook. Needless to say, they thought that the bag of guts in the turkey's cavity was the stuffing. I made a quick stuffing while the bird was starting to cook, Then they didn't think there were any pans or dishes to use for the stuffing. Apparently I had used all of them (2) for the turkey. They also had 2 cake mixes that I had to turn into a dessert of sorts. Another story for another day.
                                                                                                                          Anyhow, long story short, I made some really good gravy, I did manage to get the turkey and stuffing done in time (fortunately many people were late!),and I also did the carving and setting the pieces on a platter with a big old gravy boat to accompany them and the sides (that I'd made up off the top of my head). I did have to throw parts of the turkey back into the oven so they could cook more,
                                                                                                                          They and their father were thrilled. The guests all loved the food. I was happy to eventually kick back and enjoy the meal. A few guests looked askance that the "kitchen help" would sit at the table with them, but then my Dad offered me a glass of wine, Once everyone had a full glass, the girls offered a toast to me. Then the other people realized that I was also a guest. I was not a well-dressed peon, but a good friend who didn't mind getting dirty in the kitchen. :-) That was probably #2 on my best turkey dinners...

                                                                                                                          1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                            That's a great story....thanks for sharing.

                                                                                                                            ....and another reason why it pays to get the Turkey or other roast in early and embrace the long resting period. Planning ahead makes everything very easy.

                                                                                                                            1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                              E, Kailuagirl, Aloha:

                                                                                                                              "One time I was given an invite to a friend's "Going Away Party" (Memorial Service) at her house. She couldn't cook for beans..."

                                                                                                                              Some cook in kino, others in uhane. Some both. You never know... Thanks to you, we know your aikane jumped off with a full opu. What more could she ask? Your makana and kokua are noted, here and there.

                                                                                                                              Aloha,
                                                                                                                              Kaleo

                                                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                Mahalo, Kaleo! The house was up on the top of St. Louis Heights so there was no running back out to the store to get anything missing. We just had to make do with what was at hand. Since they weren't a house that cooked, the pantry was minimal, as were the spices etc. At least the Girls had sort of figured out what they always ate in restaurants so they'd purchased most of the raw main ingredients. It might not have been as good as a Thanksgiving dinner that I'd spent days cooking, but with the wonderful view, and good friends to reminisce with, I think the pa'ina was a success. I know their Mom would have enjoyed herself!
                                                                                                                                Aloha,
                                                                                                                                KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                            2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                              I'll say it again- the disposible pan is a great option when you don't have kitchen cabinet space to store a large pan year-round.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                                                that's what your garage is for! :)

                                                                                                                                Seriously, I'd go buy a metal pan at Goodwill and redonate it.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                                                  If people have cooked turkeys in disposable aluminum pans and found them serviceable, then that works for them, no argument.

                                                                                                                                  For me, I did it exactly once and it was needlessly difficult balancing the damned thing on a cookie sheet. Plus when my cooking partner pierced the tray by accident when it was resting on top of the stove - almost disastrous and again, needlessly difficult.

                                                                                                                                  Those disposable pans run around 3.99. A sturdy reliable graniteware pan is about 8.99. Even when I was seriously poor graniteware was well within my budget. There really is no greater feeling of exaltation than being young and poor and realizing that you have purchased a cheap reliable tool that, unlike so many things in a life of even semi-voluntary poverty, will not let you down. Graniteware roasters were one such thing for me - the other was Lodge bare cast iron pans.

                                                                                                                                  And you can always use the roasting pan as some kind of on top of the closet or under the bed organizer in its off hours, even in a tiny NYC apartment.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                    (and TWO of the aluminum pans, which most people do to battle the handling/bending/leakage issues....are now essentially the same price as a brand new pan. More than what you would pay at a charity shop or garage sale)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                      I remember the year I was taking out my turkey (not all that big) that was cooking in a very well made disposable .. it bent and very hot juices spilled on my floor and feet. (I did not know about half sheet pans then, that would have been a good idea.) Anyway, I no longer cook with them BUT they are very useful to keep the turkey in while it's in the fridge.

                                                                                                                              2. What's wrong with using a good old 9x13 baking pan?

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                                  when the bird is bigger than the pan...which is pretty easy to do with a bird over about 8-10 pounds.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                    ah. Thanks. guess the biggest I have roasted has been only about 12 pounds.

                                                                                                                                2. My mother has just used a jelly roll pan all these years.

                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I've roasted dozens of turkeys on sheet pans. Works fine. An excessively large turkey might have more juices than you'll want to have in the pan when you pull it out, but a half sheet pan holds nearly a gallon of liquid, so it's not likely to overflow while roasting.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: dscheidt

                                                                                                                                      I was thinking about that, and wondering if she removes some of the juices during roasting. She does low & slow (overnight), don't know if that makes a difference ... also think her jelly roll pans (from the 60s) have slightly higher sides than mine.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                        I'd be very afraid to lift a heavy turkey with hot juices/fat that's been cooked in a jelly roll pan. Investing in a decent roasting pan that will last years and years is a good idea.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                          absolutely -- even if it didn't overflow, it would be hard to manipulate into and out of the oven.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                          If roasting at 325 or higher, I would not recommend a simple sheet pan. it may not overflow, but it will be difficult to handle and you may not even be able to slide the shelf out without a major mishap.

                                                                                                                                          With low temperature roasting, then there would be very little in the form of pan juices. There will be fond on the pan.

                                                                                                                                    2. Another super turkey success, thanks again! I think I'm getting the hang of this :)

                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                        How are you going to eat 20 lbs of turkey for 2 people? Guess you can freeze it.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                          We both actually really enjoy turkey and eat it throughout the year so it's more efficient to just buy a big bird and freeze leftovers. Also, unlike most we eat a lot of turkey at Thanksgiving dinner and for leftovers so can go through will go through some of it in the next 4 days. Anything leftover will go in the freezer for everyday use.

                                                                                                                                      2. Roasting pan? We don't need no stinkin' roasting pan! :)

                                                                                                                                        This year 14.5# turkey was butterflied (spatchcocked) and roasted to temp in 1:55 following Alton Brown's method. I have never been so pleased with any bird I've roasted! On the oven rack below the bird, I placed a cookie sheet.

                                                                                                                                        I don't think I will ever use a roaster again.

                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                        1. Invest in the roasting pan. a) This won't be the only Thanksgiving or Christmas in your life. b) You can also use it to bake a ham. You don't need a $ 150 pan, either.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                            This was a year ago, roasting pan has been invested in and has served me well :)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                                                                                                                                                A simple not fancy Graniteware pan. I'll probably buy a nicer one one day but for now this one is reliable.