Speed Roasted Turkey
If you simply want the best turkey meat with the least labor, this high-speed, high-temperature roasting method is for you. You won't have to tie, stuff or fuss with the turkey. The oven does the work.
We suggest making your favorite stuffing separately. Adding turkey drippings will give it that cooked-in-the-bird flavor.
Be aware that the internal temperature of turkeys cooked using this method tend to fall below the National Turkey Federation's recommendations. To check, insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey's thigh. Meat heated to temperatures below 140 degrees Fahrenheit may be unsafe.
PREPARING THE BIRD
Optional Salt-Water Soak
This first step is not required, but it is sure to produce a moist and tender turkey. It's called brining, which entails soaking your turkey in salted water.
You may be able to find a kosher turkey by asking at the supermarket meat counter or the local butcher shop. This would save you the work of brining the bird yourself because all kosher meat and poultry is brined to remove the blood.
If buying a pre-brined turkey is not an option, dissolve 2 cups of table salt or 4 cups of kosher salt in 2-gallon tub of water lined with a large plastic bag.
Add your turkey and four or five large clean frozen gel packs. Tie the bag and place the tub in a cool spot for four hours.
Let it reach room temperature
Regardless of whether or not you're brining the bird, allow it to reach room temperature before popping it in the oven. Depending on the size of the turkey, this may take two hours or more.
If you are using a fresh turkey, cover the bird with a moist towel to keep it from drying out.
For a frozen turkey, follow thawing instructions on the wrapper.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees
Move the oven rack to the second track from the bottom for birds weighing up to 15 pounds. For larger birds, the rack should be in the lowest track.
Create a vegetable cushion
Instead of roasting the turkey on a rack, cook it on a bed of rough-cut onions and carrots that will help keep it moist and give it flavor. The vegetables should be in large pieces--onions in quarters or halves, carrots in four or six sections.
Prepare the pan
If you are not planning to make your gravy in the pan, line your 9- by 13- by 2-inch roasting pan with foil. Grease the pan or foil and fill it two-thirds of the way up the sides with the chopped vegetables. The vegetables will gradually sit lower in the pan as they wilt during cooking.
Rinse the Bird
Rinse the bird inside and out. Pat dry with a clean, lint-free towel.
If you brined your bird, you will not need to salt it.
If you didn't, salt it on the inside only to avoid drying the meat. Many cooks pepper the turkey outside and in, add a little paprika and spread some chopped garlic or garlic paste on the inside of the bird.
Finish by rubbing butter or olive oil all over the turkey.
Placing the Bird in the Pan
Place the turkey on top of the vegetables, breast-side up.
Don't allow any part of the bird to extend beyond the pan.
If the wings are too long, trim off the two joints near the tip, leaving only 'drumettes.'
Do not add liquid to the pan.
Into the Oven
Load the bird into the oven with the legs facing the back of the oven.
ROASTING THE BIRD
Average Roasting Times
• 9 lbs.: 1 hour 14 minutes hours to 1 hour 45 minutes
• 12 lbs.: 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes
• 15 lbs.: 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes
• 20 lbs.: 3 hours to 3 hours 30 minutes
If you don't see any blood or pinkness when you insert a knife in the joint between the thigh and the body of the turkey, it's ready to come out of the oven. If you do, leave it in a while longer. These cooking times are approximate.
Do not open the oven door if you can help it. If you can see that the breast is starting to darken too quickly, cover it with a doubled piece of tin foil.
Let It Rest
After you remove the turkey from the oven, place it on a platter and do not touch or cut it for about 20 minutes. During this time, the meat will firm up and the cooking will continue.
Carve the Turkey
See our carving instructions.