Stress-Free Roast Turkey

Here’s how the 15 1/2 pound turkey I roasted last night (Thanksgiving Eve) turned out after 2 1/2 hours of high heat roasting. After misreading a recipe and making adjustments years ago, using high oven heat (450°F/230°C) at 10 minutes per pound is my favorite stress-free method for ensuring a moist and tender turkey.

The keys to this method:

1. Not stuffing the bird. Stuffing a bird means having to overcook the bird to ensure the stuffing inside the bird’s cavity is cooked to a safe temperature.

2. Using high oven temperature: 450°F/230°C from start to finish.

3. Cooking the turkey breast-side down for all but the last 30 minutes of roasting. As explained by an excellent anatomy teacher, the roasting pan and top bony part of the turkey protect the lean breast meat from direct heat. At the same time fat from the less lean leg meat drips down and keeps the breast meat basted. This is how the turkey last night looked after 2 hours of roasting. The blackened areas aren’t burnt skin but instead seasoning I’d sprinkled on generously that got charred. No problem.


4. Turning the turkey breast-side up for the last 30 minutes of roasting. Last night some of the breast meat skin got torn off from turning. Again, no problem.

5. Using an ovenproof meat thermometer placed in the thick section of breast next to the turkey’s thigh WITHOUT the thermometer tip touching any bone. Turkey meat is safely cooked at a temperature of 180°F/82°C.

6. Allowing the freshly roasted turkey to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes after taking it out of the oven so that the meat juices settle and the turkey cools just enough for safe handling while carving.

Click any picture on this page to link to the Gotta’ Eat, Can’t Cook Thanksgiving help page complete with a fully detailed recipe showing how to make a Stress-Free Roast Turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bruce Tretter



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