Years ago I put together what I thought was the most stress-free roast turkey picture book recipe available. That recipe produced terrifically tender results because it required roasting the turkey at consistently high heat (450℉/230℃) mostly with the bird in a breast-side down position. Leaving the the turkey breast-side down for most of the roasting time protects the more delicate breast meat from direct heat and also allows the fat in turkey’s legs and thighs to baste the rest of the bird naturally by gravity. That technique, though, has two significant drawbacks: high heat roasting works well only for turkeys weighing up to 15 pounds and consistent high heat roasting temperature creates a lot of smoke in the kitchen.
This year I came up with a hybrid technique that uses high heat (the same 450℉/230℃) for the first 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I turned the heat down to 325℉ /165℃, kept the bird breast-side down for about another hour, and then turned the turkey breast-side up for the last 50 minutes. The result was as equally tender as the consistent high heat method and can be used to roast any sized turkey (I recently roasted a 17 1/2 pound turkey using this technique) and creates far less smoke in the kitchen.
Here are all the ingredients you need to make a stress-free roast turkey.
Here’s the equipment you need. As noted in the picture book recipe you can get by clicking any picture on this page, I highly recommend using an oven-proof meat thermometer to ensure roasting the turkey to the proper doneness temperature.
The most difficult part of this recipe is turning the turkey from breast-side down to breast side-up, but the picture book directions show how to do that as easily and safely as possible as shown here.
Click any picture on this page for a complete, newly revised step-by-step picture book recipe.