I won’t lie. My hands down favorite way to cook turkey is to head outside and plop that bad boy into peanut oil. However, that’s not an option for many of you. Since turkey is running at $0.69 lbs and my 6 year old has a hollow leg, I call that a bargain I can’t pass up.
When it comes down to it, a turkey isn’t much more than a giant chicken, don’t be intimidated. About an hour before cook time set the turkey out to begin coming to room temperature. You do remember our recent conversation about not jumping food past a temperature stage, right? While the turkey is getting comfortable find a long piece of cooking twine, a large square of aluminum foil, 2 – 3 TBSP of butter, and Cajun seasoning. You’ll also need a large roasting pan with either a rack, or in my case an inverted 8″ cake pan. While you’re at it grab:
- a carrot
- an onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a rib of celery.
Double check to make sure the giblet packet has been removed from the flap of skin where the head used to be and that the neck and tail are no longer in the body cavity. Crank the oven to 500F. Just as a warning, you’ll get a little bit of smoke with this method, but it’s only the butter dripping onto the super hot roasting pan, NOT the turkey burning. I promise. Leave the door shut, I’m not making this stuff up.
Scout’s honor. I was one, once.
Wash, but don’t peel the carrots, onion, garlic, and celery. Cut the vegetables into large chunks (except the garlic, leave that whole) and toss them loosely into the cavity of the turkey.
Truss the bird. I thought about doing a tutorial, but I found my hero Alton Brown has one that can’t be beat.
The point of trussing the bird is to ensure the most even roasting possible.
Now you’re going to give the turkey a rubdown before putting it into the oven. Grab the 2 – 3 TBSPs of butter and grease it up.
Generously rub the bird down with the Cajun seasoning, too. Be sure to rub under the skin where possible, get into all the nooks and crannies.
Place the seasoned bird in the roasting pan, on the rack or cake pan and place on the lowest level in the 500F oven.
This works best if you have a thermometer you can leave in the thigh of the bird, but I broke mine. . .
Set a timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, place the large square of aluminum foil over the bird, but do not tuck it into place, this just keeps the breast from getting too brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and cook for a total of 2 – 2.5 hours for a 14 – 16lb bird. If your turkey is larger than 16lbs, it will take approximately 20 minutes per lb longer, but begin checking the temperature 30 minutes prior to the expected time. And if your turkey is on the small side, begin checking it 20 minutes early for each pound under 14lbs.
Remove the bird from the oven when the temperature reaches 161F. The temperature will continue to rise for a while after removal. Let the turkey rest, covered and undisturbed for 30 minutes before carving.
Now, ooh and aah over your accomplishment.
I told you this was something you could handle.