Here’s my no nonsense, super easy method of cooking turkeys:
What you’ll need:
- Roasting pan – either a real one or a disposable one
- Paper towels
- butter or margarine – stick butter is best
- aluminum foil
We’ll be cooking Tom Turkey the night before the big day so plan in advance.
Now for the steps:
- Get one turkey.
- Thaw out said turkey. In the fridge for a couple of days is the safest way, but there are quick thawing methods in the event that you forget.
- Wash out your sink really well. Lots of hot water, a little soap and then a really good rinse. You’ll be using your sink to prepare the turkey.
- Prepare your roasting pan. I have an actual roasting pan now, but in years past I’ve used one of those aluminum throwaway things. If you’re using a real pan, line the bottom with aluminum foil to make clean up easy then place next to sink. If you’re using a disposable, just put next to sink.
- You’ll want a strip of aluminum foil to “tent” the bird. Pull off a piece that is a little longer than the length of the pan. Set aside but close to the pan.
- Unwrap the bird, put into the clean kitchen sink, and pull all the giblets and other goodies out of the body cavity. You can throw them away or save for giblet gravy or making stock later.
- Give the bird a good washing with cool water. Wash the inside and out.
- Using one or more paper towels, dry off the bird. Skipping this step won’t be a deal breaker but will make the next steps more difficult.
- Using an ample amount of butter or margarine, use your hands to really grease up the bird. I also butter the inside of the bird and leave little dollops of butter inside. To prevent cross contamination, I use stick butter for this step and throw away the rest of the stick when I am done. Really grease that bird up. You should see the bird turn yellow you put so much on. If you’ve done it right, Paula Deen will approve*.
- Salt and pepper the inside and outside of the bird. I’ve known folks watching their sodium to use Mrs Dash but I think that’s a sacrilege.
- Place bird, breast side up, in the roasting pan.
- Wash those nasty birdy hands!!
- Then, take the piece of foil you’ve set aside and create a tent for the bird. Fold it in half and lay over the bird. DON’T press down. It should rest lightly over the bird.
- Cook the bird overnight in a 275 degree oven. Yes, 275. Yes this is too low for safe cooking. Trust me. There’s more. I usually start my turkey before I go to bed.
- In the morning, the house will smell WONDERFUL. BEWARE. You’ve cooked this bird with the low and slow method so we need to deal with any bacteria. DO NOT DECIDE TO EAT BIRD WITHOUT COMPLETING THE NEXT STEP or you’ll spend the next couple of days regretting it!**
- Remove the tent. This will allow the bird to brown.
- Crank up the heat to 375 for 1-1/2 hours.
- Remove turkey from oven. Let rest for about 20 minutes and then lift out of juices and serve. The turkey will be perfectly done and delicious.
*Paula Deen loves butter. Everyone of her recipes requires a stick of butter or more.
** Salmonella poisoning is no fun.