It always surprises me when I hear how many people have never roasted a turkey. And what surprises me more is the astonishment when I say how easy it really is to roast one. Sure there are many ways to make it more complicated, taste insanely great or juicy but to basically roast a turkey is no biggie. Promise. You don't even need any complicated tools, turkey pots or pans. A bachelor with little in his kitchen could accomplish this. I promise! I say this, because The Fireman is not known for his cooking skills (I know, he is a fireman but hey...not all of them cook) and he has cooked a turkey before that I promise was edible. Really.
If you have NEVER cooked a turkey before and are a little overwhelmed by it, this is the post for you. I will take you step by step and you will be amazed how easy it can be. Once you get a little confidence with the basic version, you can start changing it up!
Easy Roasted Turkey
Turkey (Pick you size, I'm cooking a little 12lb bird)
1 package of celery
1 package of carrots
2 lemon or orange
1/2 box Turkey or Chicken Stock
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven 400 degrees
When you first get your turkey, it should be frozen. I ALWAYS buy frozen. You can get on any organic kick you want but buy it frozen. These birds get tossed around like you wouldn't believe and having a frozen bird ensures you wont get a bird that was dropped and bruised. Bruised meat usually ends up being not so go.
Leave the bird in your fridge for about three days to defrost. DO NOT DEFROST ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER.
Unwrap your bird in a CLEAN sink. Rinse the bird with cold water. Your bird hopefully has a bunch of STUFF inside the bird. Pull it all out and save it. The neck and organs can be used for gravy. I like to have a stack of paper towels to dump the bird onto. Pat the bird dry. PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND WATER AFTER EACH TIME YOU TOUCH THE BIRD.
If you have a Turkey pan with the racks, then great but if not then just use a deep cookie sheet. Line the bottom of the pan with celery, carrots and onions (1 onion)
Now take the lemon or orange and stuff it inside the front and back of the bird.
oil the outside of the bird and sprinkle salt and pepper all over the bird. Most birds come trussed already with a plastic ring holding the legs together. That is fine. Leave it on. If you do not have the plastic holder on your bird, you can take some kitchen twine and tie them together. If you have none, don't freak out! it can be cooked without. It just isn't as pretty. Take turkey stock and pour in the bottom of the pan. When I find this in the store, I usually will buy up every container.
I cook my bird BREAST SIDE UP. You will see all these recipes where you turn the bird. This is the EASY recipe. So need to worry about any of that.
Here is the technical part. I cook my bird at 400 degrees. Cook the bird 15 minutes per pound. If the top of the bird gets too brown, cover (tent) with foil for the remainder of the cooking. I will baste the bird every 30-45 minutes. But you could baste only once an hour and it would still taste great!When the timer goes off, have your meat thermometer ready. I like to stick the thermometer first in the breast, not touching the bone! It should read 165 and not less, not more. Then I stick it in the thigh, again not touching the bone. It should read 175.
Let the bird rest for 15 minutes.
You can tent with foil. This is usually the perfect amount of time for me to make the gravy. Transfer to a serving plate if you desire. I don't put it on a serving plate uncut like you see in the movies. I cut it on a huge cutting board and transfer the meat to a serving plate. I barely got this picture! I had two teenage girls that were trying to pick at the skin. Skin is a hot commodity in my house.
How I cut my bird;
I take the entire breast off the bird and slice it into perfect pieces.