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Tent a Turkey

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
This may sound stupid, but since I'm anonymous I'll ask anyway. What does it mean to tent a turkey? I have always covered the entire turkey for the first hour or so then removed the aluminum and finished cooking. Recently I saw a program and the host quickly placed a tent over the breast leaving the wings and legs exposed. After an hour he removed the tent and finished the cooking. He didn't go into any detail. He just kind of passed by assuming everyone knew what he meant when he said "tent". Another host of another program used a triangle of aluminum placed directly on the breast. As I understand it now, the tent is to slow the cooking on the breast while allowing the legs to cook more. Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 13
Several years ago I had the opportunity to attend Butterball University:lol:;) allong with abot 20 other food writers and editors at the Butterball turkey headquarters in Aurora IL. It was great! We roasted twenty 15 pound turkeys using 20 different methods and compared the results. We also discussed every issue you can imagine regarding the quality and safety of cooking, thawing and serving methods.

Tenting was discussed thoroughly as well as tested in different ways. We concluded that the only need for tenting a turkey was if the breast was browning too quickly. The preferred method was to loosely lay a large piece of aluminum foil over the breast to protect it from the slightly higher heat that gathers at the top of an oven. We found it best to do it after the turkeyn had cooked for a while and if it was browning much quicker than the rest of the bird.

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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the reply. I think I will try it that way this year. I also plan to buy a decent temp probe that I can read while the turkey is cooking. No more of those pop up types. I'm not sure they are very accurate anyway. I'll just add the probe to my "things to get for the kitchen" list.
I should've been a chef. Where else can you eat your work?
Searching for food nirvana!
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I should've been a chef. Where else can you eat your work?
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post #4 of 13
Make sure to spring for the extra few bucks to get a digital probe-they are more accurate than the dial type thermometers. Also, test the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh, not the breast and shoot for 165 degrees. By the time the thigh reaches 165, the breast will be perfect.

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Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #5 of 13
Hello!!!
You're not anonymous! CT can always track you down:lol:
We know where you are, In fact, we are about to deploy some special forces to your house if you screw up another batch of Kolaches.:D;)
pan:look::smiles:

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
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post #6 of 13
Scott, if you do buy a probe thermometer, check out the King Arthur Flour site. They have 'em at the best price I've found; 25 bucks versus an average of $40 everywhere else I've looked.

I just bought one at that price, in fact.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 13
I always cook turkey at the highest heat my home oven can provide. i like the crispy skin and the juicy interior that it results in. In this case tenting is necessary to prevent burning. It also causes just a minimum of steam to hover around i believe and grease that spatters up will drip down again.

about the probe thermometers. I tried many times to use them. They are never actually INSTANT read, they take a few seconds, and i just never found they told me if the bird was cooked. I use a thin knife - pierce deeply in a couple of spots where the meat is thickest - let it sit a couple of seconds and feel the temp on my upper lip as well as check the color of the juice it releases (pink is not cooked). Advantage of the knife - the whole knife registers the temp, so if you've gone beyond the thickest part into the stuffing, you can feel along the whole length of the knife - point is hot, center is cold, or vice versa. Much more accurate.

since i threw out the thermometers , i have perfectly cooked roasts (all varieties) always.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #8 of 13

Tenting is a waste!

As long as you regulate the heat well, and maintain a good brown on the breast, you should be fine... Baste it or use COLD butter to slow it if it gets too brown....
post #9 of 13
Scott,
I see you're in TX.
Be careful with all these suggestions, the fryer might boil over;)

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
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post #10 of 13
Hi Scottintexas,

When I saw tenting a turkey I thought you were going to talk about my technique.

Ever since I found this technique, I have been cooking my turkey in a brown paper bag.

Basically, I place my turkey in a high sided aluminum roasting pan then wrap the whole thing with a oiled brown paper bag and staple it shut. If the turkey is too large, I make a bag using brown kraft paper. Oiling means to paint all the paper with vegetable oil using a wide kitchen basting brush. Let the oil soak and wipe off the excess. The paper becomes translucent.

Set oven at 350F, cook for 15-20 min per pound for an unstuffed completely thawed fresh turkey below 20 lbs. I purchase fresh turkey and brine it.

The bird cooks in steam instead of dry heat. It stays moist. The juices fall in the pan and can be recuperated and the end to make a gravy. The bird comes out nicely roasted.

Caution!!!!: don't let the bag touch the heating element because it will catch on fire. (I speak from experience). Also, The air will smell of smoking oil for the first 30 min or so then that dissipates.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #11 of 13
Got mine in Target, $6. :D
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well I have been away so I had not read the replies to this post for several days. Thanks to all of you.

Panini, if you send special forces out for me for destroying another batch of kolaches, please have them bring beer and another recipe.

I will be going for the digital thermometer. I want instant read. I hate standing there waiting for the mercury to rise in my old thermometer. I'll go on line as suggested and see if I can get one from the web site I have bookmarked for kitchen supplies because I will have to add it to an order I am holding off on so I don't get a "small order charge". Need to order some ramekins and there is a minimum $50 order. The ramekins, thermometer and maybe a large stack of kitchen towels will do it. Need a good baking pan too.

I appreciate the paper bag suggestion for the turkey. Last time I did a turkey I bought a plastic oven bag and that worked quite well. This year I'll be taking the roasting pan from the oven to the stove to make the gravy so I won't use a bag. Therefore, the need to tent. Between this web site and other on line research I think I have it down. We'll just have to see if I pull it off correctly.

Thanks again everyone.
I should've been a chef. Where else can you eat your work?
Searching for food nirvana!
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I should've been a chef. Where else can you eat your work?
Searching for food nirvana!
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post #13 of 13

Tent a Turkey

I am wondering about the aluminum foil........not too long ago there was a major health issue connected with using aluminum foil that touched food while cooking/baking. Has there been an improvement in the foil currently available in the stores? So many recipe directions call for using it.

A few holidays ago I decided to tent my turkey while it was roasting, and wherever the foil came in contact with the bird it left little silver specks. I still use aluminum foil whenever I do a roast or turkey/chicken, but I make sure that there is a piece of parchment between the surface of the food and the foil, and I absolutely refuse to use any of those aluminum throw away pans that are sold.

I believe that the use of salt and seasonings used on the meat cause the aluminum to dissolve and adhere to the food. :confused:
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