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Slow Roasting This Year - Brest Side Down or High Sear

I've traditionally done by turkey with a High Sear, Breast Side down - "normal high temp" roasting.

This year, I'm going to give it a whirl at the slow roast approach.

For all you slow roasters out there, do you give still give it the intial high sear or not ?

Second....do you still roast breast side down. I'm inclined to roast it breast side up this year, minimizing the heavy *rack marks-indents* you get when it's roasted breast side down.

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  1. I don't quite slow roast (I do a sear at 425 and then the rest of the roast at 300), but my breast-side-down bird gets flipped to breast-side-up about 90 minutes before the end of the cooking time. The rack indents magically disappear by the time the turkey is done. Works every time!

    1. I wouldn't bother with the breast side down. The point of slow roasting is that it keeps the entire bird moist and juicy, so the flipping would just be a wasted effort.

      1. With low and slow roasting, you still need to to do an inital browning/searing in the oven for 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the poultry. This is done to kill the surface bacteria. Whether you choose 425 or 450 is a personal choice....I choose the latter.

        I slow roast my turkey and never flip the breast and back....but I do rotate in the oven 4 times.

        9 Replies
        1. re: fourunder

          To kill the surface bacteria? I was always under the impression that the sear was to get the skin cooked enough to keep the moisture contained in the bird during the long cooking time (like when you sear a steak).

          1. re: travelmad478

            Alton Brown proved that's a myth. Searing doesn't hold in moisture at all.

            1. re: acgold7

              Not trying to be combative, but if Alton Brown is correct about the moisture issue and you are correct about the bacteria-killing issue, why do 90% of all turkey recipes call for searing? Serious question.

                1. re: travelmad478

                  Same reason so many people still don't wash their mushrooms.

                  1. re: travelmad478

                    I dunno about 90%. In fact I think most recipes call for a constant oven temperature since anything beyond that is likely too confusing for the average home cook. Roasting poultry at high temperature is generally good for browning, however. And it's good practice to sear other types of roasts like beef since they are often cooked to lower internal temperatures.

                    1. re: travelmad478

                      Searing is for caramelization/color and taste, which are good things.

                      But there's a lot of misinformation out there. Most Turkey roasting recipes in newspapers still say 30 minutes a pound. Some still say cook to 185F. Both couldn't be more wrong.

                      The FDA, USDA and publishers want a simple number they can give you because they assume you're stupid and they don't want to get sued.

                      1. re: acgold7

                        OK, fair enough. I've always had fine results with my sear. And I certainly don't cook a turkey for 30 minutes a pound or to 185 degrees! Good gracious.

                        1. re: travelmad478

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4666...

                          This was a knowledgeable poster who's information and opinions I respected.....I have since read similar things....I don't consider it searing, but browning in the beginning. I do so for any oven roasted meats

              1. Yes, do it breast down. No, you don't need the high sear in the beginning. 20 minutes at 137F will kill any nasties. You will be roasting much higher than that.

                200F. Breast down, then when the breast hits 120F internal, flip it.

                Here's how:

                http://youtu.be/4xFOd6QicAU

                You can sear at the end if it isn't brown enough.

                1. Reverse sear is better.

                  1. I do an initial twenty minutes, breast side up, at 425, turn the bird over for another twenty minutes to half an hour at 425, then turn the temp down to 325, flip the bird breast back up about two thirds of the way through through. If necessary I turn on the broiler at the end if the browning is insufficient.

                    I think the breast side down for part of the cooking really makes the breast meat juicier. Since I carve in the kitchen, I don't worry about the rack marks.

                    1. I roasted slow at 225F last year and it was fine breast side up.