Slow Roasted Turkey

Roast Turkey and Gravy-1-20 Roast turkey is the star of the show on most Thanksgiving meal tables. We can all picture that glorious sight, as the turkey is finally brought in from the kitchen, and placed for all to admire and eat. Most of us are used to serving a whole turkey and then triumphantly carving it at the table.  Let me suggest a turkey recipe that will bring you great results and minimum work, by roasting the turkey in parts, not whole. When you prepare a turkey this way, the carving will be mostly completed, and you can bring it to the table beautifully arranged and ready to be served.

The results are incredible, and I love it so much, I make it all year round, not just on Thanksgiving. The meat is juicy and flavorful all the way through and the skin is golden and crisp, just as it should be. 

For those of you who would like to serve a whole turkey, in the traditional way, I shared a recipe last year.

IMG_8978 (550x366) I still think it’s wonderful, but brining a turkey takes more time, more room and more equipment. You do need to find somewhere to stash that large turkey for hours while it’s brining, and, as we all know, space is very limited around the holidays. Also, you’ll need a roasting pan for the turkey, while roasting the turkey in parts only requires a rimmed baking sheet, which most of us have on hand. The skin gets really golden all around, since the heat has a chance to hit every angle.

If you’re looking for simplicity and incredible results, roasting a turkey in parts is the way to go. Besides, I do think it looks lovely, already carved and arranged on a plate.

If you’re going to host a huge Thanksgiving gathering and will be cooking more than one turkey, you may wish to roast the additional turkeys this way, while serving one turkey whole.

It’s also a great option if you bought or will buy, several turkeys on sale and will be cooking them in the following months.

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

Ingredients:

1 turkey (12-15 lbs)

2-3 onions, chopped

2-3 carrots, chopped

2-3 celery stalks, chopped

1-2 lemons, sliced

thyme, parsley

1 Tablespoon table salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 cup chicken or turkey broth

4 Tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roast Turkey and Gravy-1-8 Cut up the whole turkey so that you end up with 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, a whole turkey breast and section the 2 turkey wings into 4 pieces. Here’s a great tutorial on How To Cut Up a Whole Turkey. You should be left over with the neck, wing tips and backbone. I usually make a delicious turkey gravy with all these leftover turkey pieces. Yum. You can also buy the turkey already cut up at the grocery store.

Roast Turkey and Gravy-1-2 Chop all the vegetables into coarse pieces. It doesn’t really matter how you cut them, since the vegetables are only there to add flavor, you won’t actually be eating the vegetables. Arrange the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet. IMG_9013 Season them with salt and pepper. Add the herbs and pour in the chicken broth. Place a wire rack over the vegetables on the baking sheet.

Season the turkey pieces with 1 Tablespoon of table salt and 2 teaspoons ground black pepper. Place the turkey pieces on top of the wire rack. Brush the melted butter all over each piece of turkey.

Roast Turkey and Gravy-1-23

Roast Turkey and Gravy-1-5 Turn the turkey breast and the thighs skin side down. This will help keep the turkey moist.Roast the turkey in the preheated oven for 1 hour and then turn the turkey breast over, skin side up. Roast Turkey and Gravy-1 Keep roasting the turkey until it reaches 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit in the center of the breast meat and 175 degrees Fahrenheit in the center of the thigh meat, 1-2 hours more, depending on the size of your bird. Take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. The turkey won’t look pretty at all, it will be flabby and ugly. Don’t worry, we will fix that soon. At this point, all we care about is having the turkey cooked all the way through and resting it while we make the gravy. Roast Turkey and Gravy-1-10

Why is it important to let the turkey rest?

Any big piece of meat needs time for the juices to redistribute back into the meat. If you cut into it right away, they will leak right out and your bird will be dry. Since the turkey is so big, you don’t have to be concerned that it will get cold. Even after an hour it will still be hot when you cut it.  Roast Turkey and Gravy-1-10 Meanwhile, prepare the gravy. Strain the juices and vegetables through a fine mesh sieve. Roast Turkey and Gravy-1 Wipe out the rimmed baking sheet. You may wish to line it with aluminum foil, to prevent it from smoking, since we will be crisping up the turkey at a really high temperature. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

When the turkey has rested for at least 30 minutes, it’s time to put some color on that skin and make it beautiful and deliciously crisp.

Place the turkey back in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes, until the turkey is golden brown.

It’s so easy to serve this turkey, since the carving is practically done. Slice the turkey breast meat, by making a long, thin cut along the breastbone, right in the center. Keep cutting on one side, keeping the knife right next to the ribcage. Roast Turkey and Gravy-1-22 Repeat with the other side. Slice each side of the turkey breast into serving sized pieces. You can cut the thigh meat and drumstick meat off the bone as well, but I usually just serve them whole and cut them at the table if necessary. Serve the turkey with the Best Gravy on the side. Roast Turkey and Gravy-1-20

Roast Turkey and Gravy-1-24

Slow Roasted Turkey
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 1 turkey
Ingredients
  • 1 turkey (12-15 lbs)
  • 2-3 onions, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1-2 lemons, sliced
  • thyme, parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken or turkey broth
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut up the whole turkey so that you end up with 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, a whole turkey breast and section the 2 turkey wings into 4 pieces. You should be left over with the neck, wing tips and backbone. I usually make a delicious turkey gravy with all these leftover turkey pieces. You can also buy the turkey already cut up at the grocery store.
  3. Chop all the vegetables into coarse pieces. It doesn't really matter how you cut them, since the vegetables are only there to add flavor, you won't actually be eating the vegetables. Arrange the vegetables and lemons on a rimmed baking sheet. Season them with salt and pepper. Add the herbs and pour in the chicken broth. Place a wire rack over the vegetables on the baking sheet.
  4. Season the turkey pieces with 1 Tablespoon of table salt and 2 teaspoons ground black pepper. Place the turkey pieces on top of the wire rack. Brush the melted butter all over each piece of turkey.
  5. Turn the turkey breast and the thighs skin side down. This will help keep the turkey moist. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven for 1 hour and then turn the turkey breast over, skin side up.
  6. Keep roasting the turkey until it reaches 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit in the center of the breast meat and 175 degrees Fahrenheit in the center of the thigh meat, 1-2 hours more, depending on the size of your bird.
  7. Take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. At this point, the turkey won't look pretty at all, it will be flabby and ugly. Don't worry, we will fix that soon. At this point, all we care about is having the turkey cooked all the way through and resting it while we make the gravy.
  8. Meanwhile, prepare the gravy. Strain the juices and vegetables through a fine mesh sieve. Wipe out the rimmed baking sheet. You may wish to line it with aluminum foil, to prevent it from smoking, since we will be crisping up the turkey at a really high temperature.
  9. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  10. When the turkey has rested for at least 30 minutes, it's time to put some color on that skin and make it beautiful and deliciously crisp.
  11. Place the turkey back in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes, until the turkey is golden brown.
  12. It's so easy to serve this turkey, since the carving is practically done. Slice the turkey breast meat, by making a cut a long, thin cut along the breastbone, right in the center. Keep cutting on one side, keeping the knife right next to the ribcage. Repeat with the other side. Slice each side of the turkey breast into serving sized pieces.
  13. You can cut the thigh meat and drumstick meat off the bone as well, but I usually just serve them whole and cut them at the table if necessary. Serve the turkey with the Best Gravy on the side.

 

 

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Comments

    • says

      Poultry served the next day will never taste the same. I usually serve poultry cold the next day. No matter how you prepare the turkey, it will not taste “fresh out of the oven” the day after. Are you hosting a party on Thanksgiving? I’m also working on Thanksgiving, (I do almost every year), so I make Thanksgiving dinner another day, not specifically on Thursday. Nothing wrong with celebrating it on a different day, if it’s with just your immediate family.
      Also, if you’re planning on serving this on Thanksgiving day itself, you can do all the prep ahead of time and then just stick the turkey in the oven, and that will be the only thing to do on that day. (You can also have someone else put the turkey in the oven for you. Season it ahead of time, have it all set to go, and have someone place it in the oven, flip it over after an hour and bake for another 1-2 hours. This recipe is easy enough to do that.)

    • says

      It’s actually 2 smaller racks. I bought mine in Publix, a local grocery store, a few years ago.
      Actually, it’s much easier to find it as one big rack, that fits inside a half sheet pan size. They are sold in all stores that sell kitchen supplies. I see them all the time.

  1. Ann says

    I like to cut the breast in half. It makes for more even cooking times with the smaller pieces. I also remove the smaller pieces as they cook so they don’t overcook. I’ve found that a foil tent helps with moisture and I cook mine around 200°, very slow, but works great for keeping the breast moist. Thanks for posting!

    • says

      You’re welcome, Ann.
      Although, I’ve never had turkey breast cook quicker than the drumsticks and thighs. Dark meat needs to cook to a higher temperature than white meat. Besides, dark meat will remain moist and juicy, even when it’s cooked longer. I like to keep the turkey breast whole, so it stays more moist.

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