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High Roast Turkey?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
At the risk of wearing out my welcome here, I've yet another question for the culinary brainpool:
I have found a few recipes that call for leaving the turkey intact, stuffing it, and simply raising the temp. to 400 F. Cook's Illustrated advises to "butterfly" the turkey and place it on top of the stuffing in a disposeable aluminum pan. That'll probably involve a hacksaw & rubber hammer, possibly the jigsaw! This doesn't leave any drippin's for gravy, though, so you have to do gravy from roasted trimmings & veggies.
Any thoughts on this, anyone? I wouldn't want to be making a no-drippings gravy if I don't have to, but if CI is correct then it seems a fair enough trade.
Thanks in advance-
RTF
post #2 of 12
Butterflying (or spatchcocking) a bird helps it cook much more evenly and a lot faster. With turkey especially, it's a great idea. And it's really not as difficult as you'd think. I'd go with CI on that, at least partially. I part ways with them about the stuffing/dressing: make it completely separately, and roast the bird on top of onion, carrot, celery, etc. Then you do have pan drippings for gravy.

Even if you go the stuffing-underneath route, you can still make a good gravy by browning the giblets and trimmings (you'll have the whole backbone if you spatchcock the turkey) before you make stock with them. If you then reduce the stock, whether you have drippings or not, you'll have a flavorful, well-colored liquid to use.

Personally, I would not use the high-heat method for a lot of reasons: generating too much smoke in the kitchen; drying out the breast; having to tent the whole thing so it doesn't overbrown; and then I just don't trust the food safety of it if the bird is stuffed.

(And you can NEVER ask too many questions here! :D)
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 12
I also saw the story, but thought that was only a breast they were cooking.

I've started splitting my whole turkey at the backbone open ( I just cut it out) then crushing the breast bone a little so the turkey will lay flat on a rack over the roasting pan; turning the legs flat. I inject the bird, season and roast at 375-400, depending on how it's cooking. The bird cooks in a fraction of the time and has a real roasted bird taste, not steamed. Legs and thighs are on the outside of pan so they cook a little bit hotter than the breast which works well. The moisture from the bird and the injection liquid seems to stay more evenly distributed, and the bottom side seals a little from the heat so it doesn't leach.

Also I cook it early in the day and after removal from the oven I leave it to set for a long time, so it doesn't loose any moisture. I cut it and stage on the platter, then gently warm in the microwave oven.

I never have to time dinner around a bird that isn't done. I don't have the turkey to deal with while finishing gravy and vegetables. And I've never cared for craving at the table..........dinner just gets cold. I know this sounds a little unconventional, but the bird has great flavor, it's moist and it's also hot when it gets to the table.

Also, I sometimes cook the dressing a little more custard like and in a springform pan. I serve it on a pedestal cake plate and sliced. It adds a little height and interest to the table and plate.
post #4 of 12
I didn't see that ATK episode, but it sounds suspiciously like Julia Child's method (which I've used a few times with excellent results).

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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ah, the question that brings on more questions.

Suzanne-If I was to put some butter under the skin and go w/ the stuffing underneath method, would that help keep the breast moist and cut down on smoking? My oven is pretty big, and I'd think that not having liquid dripping on to a hot surface should dramatically cut down on the smoking. I'm able to get soft butter under the skin of the wings of a small whole chicken, so I'd imagine a turkey would be easier.

CastIronChef-I can't find the link under quick links and have no idea how to link through this site. I love the forum and want to support it as you described, so how is it done? Do I just use the google search window on the main page?

BTW-I never saw any episode, I just have the big CI cookbook. I don't even own a television! Anyhow, a lot of people seem to swear by the high roast method so I'm gonna give it a go. Here's the plan-
1. tues-brine the whole turkey (14-15 lbs, fresh)
2. wed-air dry the turkey
3. get some herb butter under the skin, & over it too
4. cut out the backbone & "flatten" it
5. put it on a rack over the stuffing and high roast it

It ought to work, but if anyone sees a glitch I'd love it for you to point it out.
Thanks again for the info everyone-
RTF
post #6 of 12
To cut the smoking in the oven, place it on a bed of mirapoix and or sliced potatoes. the potatoes will get brown from the schmaltz (chicken/turkey) fat and taste really yummy!

I already have my turkey stock made and ready to use in my dressing (which always cooks separately...no dry dressing here!) and in my gravy. I just buy a separate breast/back with bone in and roast it up and make it. Then will make a little extra the day of using the neck and giblets and wing tips. Will be plenty.

I saw that episode of ATK. I generally like the idea of cooking it on top of the mound of stuffing but I still prefer to cook my dressing separately. I do like spatchcocking birds though. They cook soooooo much more evenly!
post #7 of 12
That is what I do every year without fail with one exception. I do not butterfly the bird. I roast it whole but rotate it. It its a little more dangerous but I like having a whole bird that I can shove stuffing into when it is done.

(I remember my first year home from Culinary School. For the first time in 25 years I was in charge of the Turkey. When i told my dad I could cook it in 3 hours he didn't beleive me. He made me start the turkey in the morning. The result. The Turkey cooked in 3 hours and it got to rest 3 hours because it was started to early.)

Please please don't forget to rest the bird after cooking at least 30 mins. even 1 hr.
"Just can't wait to get on the road again."
Willie Nelson
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"Just can't wait to get on the road again."
Willie Nelson
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post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Really? Do you roast at 500 dF or 400 or what? I thee a ratio per lb. that you use? I'd like to know, since my sister winced at the thought of un-stuffed stuffing.
RTF
post #9 of 12
I roast at 425. Keep in mind that if your stuffing has meat in it should not be cooked inside of the Turkey. If it is the middle of the stuffing must be above 165F and by that time your turkey will be overcooked.

What I do is cook the stuffing and turkey seperate. While the Turkey is cooking I stuff the cavity with herbs, orange slices, leeks, and carrots. Then when the turkey is resting I pull all that stuff out and shove the hot (already cooked stuffing into the turkey). But that is only if you want the stuffing there for presentation sakes.

The Joy of Cooking (modern versions) has directions for a high roasted rotated turkey.

Happy Holidays
"Just can't wait to get on the road again."
Willie Nelson
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"Just can't wait to get on the road again."
Willie Nelson
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post #10 of 12
My brother-in-law has always cooked his turkey really hot for the first hour or so. He stuffs it and puts it in the oven at 450 with a lid on the roaster. After one hour, he starts to baste it with butter and lowers the temp. to 325. My problem is he always wants me to make the gravy, but he loves stuffing and packs the bird full and crams the rest around it so there's no drippings for me to work with. One year I got him to pour off the juice after the first hour or so of baking (before he crammed the roaster with stuffing) and set it aside so I'd have it for gravy. That worked good. I don't get any giblets because he simmers those and puts both the giblets and water into the stuffing. I learned to bring chicken broth with me just to avoid the frustration. Bottom line, he makes the best turkey I have ever had. Year after year, he produces the perfect turkey. It has a crisp brown skin, oozes juice when you carve it and yet falls off the bone. If there was a perfect turkey award, he'd win it.
post #11 of 12
Thought I would add a comment. If I am roasting a bird and leaving it whole, I run warm (not hot) into the cavity. It warms the interior of the bird, so the heat can travel faster throughout. Same theory as leaving a beef roast out to warm before roasting.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hmmm,... I'm still on the fence as to butterfly the thing over stuffing or leave it whole & stuff the bird. So, two more questions:

1. If I leave it whole at 400-450, won't the drippings get cooked away on such a hot pan bottom? Could I pull it every 45m-hour and "salvage" the drippings?

2. I am a fan of dry stuffing. Not neccessarily cruton dry, but "spongy" dry. Gloppy stuffing is just a no-no w/ my family. I don't add any liquid to it other than melted butter. When finished and served, it should have the ability to absorb at leaast some gravy. Will cooking it in the pan w/ a butterflied bird over it affect this much?
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