Question for experienced cooks

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by schmoo, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. schmoo

    schmoo Songster

    May 7, 2007
    West MI.
    I cook alot of foods but not alot of turkeys.

    Please help me with this turkey dilemma. Okay I have made turkey several times and my MOM who I love dearly, always taught me the same thing.

    Cover the whole pan tightly with tinfoil so NO air can escape, until the last 1/2 hour or so of cooking and then baste to brown the skin. (I use a meat therm. to tell when its done.)
    Now I have never made a turkey that I thought was super delicious and moist, they come out okay but not GREAT that is the only reason I question this method.

    Now ALL the cooks I see on TV (from Martha to EVERY cook on the food network) never ever covers the whole bird tightly, if anything maybe just the breast. Is this a better way?

    What do you experienced cooks do?
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Hey Schmoo...I put my turkeys in a roasting pan, with the lid....yes, I have a HUGE roaster. LOL It doesnt cover "airtight" but my turkeys usually come out juicy, and browned well. Just make sure you let the turkey "rest" after cooking, for at least 15 minutes, before cutting. This helps seal in the juices! Thats a mistake lots of people make, they cut into the meat as soon as it comes out. Let that turkey rest....same as with beef, or pork roast.
  3. debashan

    debashan Songster

    Aug 11, 2007
    Oquawka, IL
    I always use a turkey size cooking bag. It covers the bird but lets steam escape [ you have to poke holes in it so it doesn't pop] I first lather the whole guy up with real mayo, then salt and pepper him inside and out, stuff him and let him go. I do this is the oven or a electric roaster and it is always fantastic. It also helps with cleanup because you slit open the top, skim the drippings you need for gravy, and the rest goes right in the garbage, leaving your roasting pan fairly clean, I'm always the one who is asked to make the bird and dressing so it must have something going on they like. Good Luck Debbie
  4. schmoo

    schmoo Songster

    May 7, 2007
    West MI.
    Thanks to you both. I do let it rest and I cook it until it reaches 165 degrees in the breast meat then let it rest. I even tried brineing before. It was better but not super juicy.

    I just did some internet research and alot of people claim cooking the bird breast side down until the last hour of cooking (then flip it to breast side up) is a good way to have a juicy bird.

    Has anyone tried that?

    Also, I have not found one recipe or method that says to cover the bird completely tight with foil. Hmmm maybe mom doesn't always know best. [​IMG] It must steam the bird -maybe thats why its usually kinda dry.
  5. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    I put a quart or two of bouillon (chicken, turkey or veggie) in the bottom of the pan, baste every 30-45 mins, keep the lid on the roasting pan until the last 30 mins, then take the lid off and baste the skin with butter. I just grab the stick of butter and kind of rub it all over, every 10 mins. or so in the last half hour. Then let it rest as other posters mentioned. This WILL result in a super-juicy turkey with nice crispy skin, I guarantee it. The problem with this method is that the turkey will come out so tender and falling-off-the-bone that you will not be able to carve it normally. You get maybe three nice slices and then the whole thing kind of crumbles no matter how sharp the knife is. If your family likes turkey shreds, you're all set [​IMG]

    Also, I stuff my turkeys. Even if I wasn't making stuffing, I would put a couple of chopped onions, apples and a bunch of herbs in there for good measure. Don't know if this helps or not, but I get rave reviews on my turkeys--I'm vegetarian, so I will take my guests' words on this.
  6. schmoo

    schmoo Songster

    May 7, 2007
    West MI.
    Thanks Rosalind

    I don't have a lid, so if I covered the roaster with foil and then uncovered occasionally to baste do you think that would that work the same?
  7. 3peeps

    3peeps Songster

    Jul 4, 2007
    Well, we've had some turkey problems as well as some roast chicken problems. I'm not that experienced yet, but I do believe in having the proper roasting can make all the difference.

    We did one method (bad one) where you cover the bird with cheesecloth and baste it over and over with melted butter or some fat. That was a stinky, greasy, smokey mess. My mom had the same problem. The bird tasted good, but we were so sick of the smell by the end of it that we were not hungry, and both of us needed a shower!

    For my chickens I like to brine the bird in saltwater. It makes for a fabulous juicy flavorful bird. You'd have to look up the proportions of salt to water, but I have a large pasta-boiling pot and put in ~1cup canning salt into very cold water, and let the bird brine for 3 or 4 hours. I think I did it for a turkey once,'ll just need a very large kettle. Practice on a chicken. You'll probably love it!

    I don't have to baste nearly as much when I brine the birds.

    I also love stuffing the bird with sprigs of fresh sage, flat-leaf parsley, and then several garlic cloves.

    When I have the bird in the pan on the rack, I then put liquid in the bottom of the roaster and put a few sprigs of the sage and parsley in the liquid. As the brined bird drips the juices onto the liquid and herbs, I use it all for the basting.
  8. tink

    tink Songster

    May 12, 2007
    upstate SC
    Hey...I cook mine breast side down in a bag. I dont flip it.....always moist.

    Have you ever fried one!!! yum
  9. TransplantedTexan

    TransplantedTexan Songster

    Jul 9, 2007
    Bear Creek, Wi
    Get a Turkey deep fryer, and you will never look back.
    I have an electric one. You season, and inject the turkey and drop it in. Then you watch football for about an hour, sometimes less depending on bird size. It is crisp on the outside and so juicey you better have the bird setting in something to catch all the juice when you cut it.
  10. hoosierhen

    hoosierhen Songster

    Sep 26, 2007
    You can brine a large turkey in a cooler if you don't have a large enough pot.

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