Perfect turkey every time
One of the parts most dreaded around the holidays by a lot of newbie cooks is the roasting of the turkey. Now this is quite understandable, after all you are dealing with a bird that weighs anywhere from 12-25 lbs! I learned long ago a few tips that mean I have a perfect, juicy bird every time no matter the size of the bird.
There are lots of good ways to guarantee a juicy bird, such as bringing, but as good as that is, a bit too much work for my tastes.
I prefer to do what I call "Shooting up the bird" I simply inject the bird with wine or juice prior to cooking:
I inject in the breast, thighs, back and wings. You can use a bespoke injector you can get in the cooking gadget aisle of the store, but I prefer to use a cardiac syringe and needle (the needle has a nice fine point that doesn't leave big holes in the turkey like cooking injectors do). I pour the liquid (I prefer white or rose wines, tho I have had fantastic results with fruit juices) into a cup and pull up the liquid for injection.
Previous to this I have rubbed the skin and under the skin of the breast with herbs. Then inject. I will then turn the turkey breast side down:
Insert a probe thermometer (a kitchen gadget I STRONGLY urge everyone who cooks to have on hand. Has saved a lot of expensive cuts of meat) into the thigh, avoiding the bone, finish rubbing with herbs and shoot up the bird with more wine. Before covering with the lid (or foil) I add water, a cup of wine and a stick of butter to the roaster. Having the turkey on a rack is also a very good thing.
I like to roast at 350F and up until a couple of years ago I usually stuffed my birds. I know there are people out there who say stuffing is evil, but if you are careful it is not. It is quite good. But since I can't find an acceptable gluten free substitute for bread stuffing, I have taken to stuffing the bird with onions, apples, lemons and herbs to add extra flavor to the meat.
I also only disturb the bird once an hour to baste it and inject some more wine (why I like using a long cardiac needle, reaches into the breasts while the bird is upside down). About an hour before it is ready I then flip the bird so it is breast side up to allow the breast skin to brown. I keep the lid (or foil) on and then off the last 15-20 minutes.
Roasting breast side down means that the fat from the back runs down thru the breast meat so it doesn't dry out. Adding the wine gives a little more moisture and flavor.
When the thermometer reads done (165F in the thigh), pull out the roaster and transfer it to a pan with a rack and cover with foil to allow it to rest while you make the gravy and finish heating up the rest of your sides that you've made well a head of time (that is another article )
When the everything is ready, carve the turkey in the kitchen, plate on a serving platter and serve.
Image Credit » Jean Crawford Evans 2015