Roasting a turkey at the typical 325°F takes forever and it ties up the entire oven right when it is needed for other things (like pies). All those hours under heat takes its toll, and you’ll frequently find yourself saying “Well… I think the breast turned out a little dry”.
But at 375°F, it is a completely different story. The bird gets crispy on the outside but remains moist on the inside because the roasting is done in half the time. It is so fast and easy you’ll wonder why you ever did it any other way.
|WHAT YOU NEED
||WHAT TO DO
|1 (15 pound) frozen turkey
||Place in a big, shallow bowl, breast side up, in original packaging. Defrost in the refrigerator until all sides of the turkey feel soft (rule of thumb is supposed to be 1 day for every 4 pounds, but I find it takes 1 day per 3 pounds).
||Breast side down deforms.
Refrigerator thawing takes a long time, but it is very safe.
||Place an oven rack in the lowest position; preheat convection ovens to 375°F (verify with an oven thermometer).
||Ovens often run hot or cold, or preheat slowly.
|1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
|For the wet rub: In a 1-cup bowl, whisk together; set aside.
Place turkey (and bowl) in the sink; remove packaging. Extract neck, tail, and giblets from the leg and neck cavities; set aside. Rinse turkey inside and out with warm tap water. If the limbs are not moving freely, finish defrosting by soaking in salted tap water (2-4 tablespoons) 10-15 minutes. Thoroughly drain the bowl and the turkey.
|Oil based “wet rubs” reduce dehydration during roasting.
A bowl protects the turkey against sink bacteria.
Rinsing removes blood and helps warm cold spots to promote even roasting.
||Transfer turkey, breast side up, into a 12x15x2-inch roasting pan. A roasting rack is only needed if the goal is to transfer the roasted bird to a presentation platter. Dry exterior with paper towels; gently separate skin from the breast meat with your fingers. Evenly coat every inch of the bird with wet rub, including the breast meat under the skin. Stretch skin back down to cover the breast; insert a toothpick deeply to secure into place.
||Omitting a rack helps cook down back fat.
Dry skin promotes superior browning.
||Remove neck, tail and giblets from packaging, coat with wet rub and enclose in a tightly sealed foil packet; place in a corner of the pan.
||Foil keeps the giblets moist.
|1 small onion, halved
6 cloves (1 1/2 ounces) garlic (no need to peel)
1 carrot, broken into pieces
1 celery stalk/rib, broken into pieces
|For the aromatics: Place one onion half in the neck cavity (rounded side out), fold the neck flap over; tuck under the body. Place the remaining aromatics as flatly as possible inside the body cavity. Fold the wing tips up behind the shoulders (imagine crossing your hands behind your head). Tying (trussing) the legs together with kitchen string is optional. Cover the breast with a rectangle of foil to decrease moisture loss.
||An onion in the neck cavity reduces breast dehydration.
Placing aromatics flatly allows interior heat circulation.
Tucking the wings reduces the risk of burning.
||Insert a barbecue thermometer probe (long probe, long cord, digital display) parallel to the breast bone being careful to avoid touching the bone itself.
||Bone transfers heat and gives falsely high readings.
||For the first half of the roasting, position the turkey so that the thermometer side faces away from the door. Roast 60 minutes.
||The turkey will have to be turned for even cooking.
||Rotate turkey 180 degrees so that the other shoulder is facing the door. With a pair of tongs, carefully pull off the foil. Roast until breast is browned and the thermometer registers 165°F (50-60 minutes).
||165°F kills poultry bacteria and loosens connective tissue. Higher than 165°F dries out breast meat.
||Remove pan from oven to confirm that inner thighs and breast meat above the wings have all reached 165°F (an instant-read thermometer works well). Cover tightly with foil; rest at room temperature 60 minutes before carving.
||Resting allows moisture to redistribute.
Covering retains moisture.
TO CARVE: Carve turkey right inside the roasting pan while still warm and easy to manipulate. Starting with the thighs, drumsticks, and wings, gently pull limbs away from the body, running a thin boning knife along bones and joints to separate. Carve off slabs of thigh meat, but leave drumsticks and wings intact. Next, face the neck cavity towards you and run the knife along each breastbone to remove slabs of breast meat. Slice breast and thigh meat across the grain at a 45 degree angle; arrange in an oven safe dish by meat type (white, dark, drumsticks). Drizzle with 1 cup Turkey Stock (see below) and cover tightly.
TURKEY STOCK: Makes about 4-quarts. After carving, add bones and aromatics as flatly as possible to a 5-quart stockpot; add water to 1 inch from the rim. Cover and bring to a simmer (195-205°F) over high heat; promptly reduce burner to hold at a simmer 1 hour. Turn off heat and rest stock 1 hour, still covered. With tongs, transfer bones to a sheet pan. With your fingers, remove meat from bones and shred; divide between freezer safe containers. Ladle stock through a mesh strainer (to catch small bones) into the containers. Discard bones, cartilage, gristle and aromatics.