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Help!? Turkey's too big for the roster!

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by lurvylurker, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. lurvylurker

    lurvylurker Active Member

    OK, I'm definitely a turkey novice, having only done one other before (and that was last thanksgiving, when I successfully did a nice, small frozen butterball) but silly me decided to invite company for this year's thanksgiving dinner, and went and bought a larger nice, pre-stuffed butterball. I figured I'd stick with the simple: you pull it out of the freezer and pop it into the oven and cook it from frozen - what could be simpler than that?

    Well, turns out that my roaster lid won't fit over top of the bigger bird! I've covered it with tinfoil just so I could get it into the oven on time, but am worried it either won't cook properly, or will dry up and burn. Any suggestions? (Besides feeding my guests lots and lots of wine before dinner?)
  2. mocha-ice

    mocha-ice Active Member

    Nothing wrong with just using tin foil, infact that's all we do. Make like a tent using the tin foil, and take it off about 1h before it's done (maybe a bit more since you've got a bigger bird)

    Happy Thanksgiving!
  3. myhoneyhoney

    myhoneyhoney Well-Known Member

    what mocha-ice posted. I've always used a tin foil and the turkey turns out nice and juicy with a crispy skin.
  4. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Thaw the bird in the fridge. Cut it in half. Cook each half separately. Stich the two halves together into one bird again. And there you have it :lol:.
  5. AYS

    AYS I'd rather have a pug for my president

    I always use a tin foil tent, as did my parents before me. It hasn't let me down yet. :D
  6. Norlite

    Norlite Well-Known Member


    You are not suppose to thaw a pre-stuffed bird. Contamination issues.

    And have I.. And my mother and grandmother before me.

    A tent of foil is actually the most recommended method.
  7. lurvylurker

    lurvylurker Active Member

    WHEW!! Thanks all, for the reassurance about the tinfoil. Guess we won't have to order pizza after all!

    And YUMMmmm... the house is beginning to smell like it should on thanksgiving! If smell sells, I'll be home free!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all us Canucks today, and the best early Thanksgivng wishes to the rest of you whose celebration is yet to come!

    uyeahu and (deleted member) like this.
  8. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    :lol: Kind of hard to do if the bird's already in the oven. Although it might make a good segment on a Thanksgiving sitcom episode. ;)

    Happy Thanksgiving to all Canadians! :cool:
  9. rjblue

    rjblue Having a great day!

    And you aren't supposed to put the tin foil on until the bird has browned and then it should be loose. I don't know where the idea that you can roast in a covered pan with water came from, but that is pot roasting, and it's a shame to do that to a good quality turkey.
  10. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    I take off the tin foil tent when the bird is close to done and turn the oven on broil to brown it - and I smear the bird with olive oil before putting it in the oven to enhance the color. Folks used to use butter for this purpose but olive oil is more PC these days.
    KatieC and (deleted member) like this.
  11. KatieC

    KatieC So peaceful

    My mum always put two or three strips of bacon across the top when she put it in the oven, under the tin foil tent. The foil comes off midway through cooking and the skin always browns quite nicely.

    BTW, Japanfan, I made the cornbread stuffing and it was well appreciated by all. My first stuffing from scratch! Thanks.
  12. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    It's not even roasting; it's actually steaming, and, yes, that's a terrible thing to do to a good quality turkey.
  13. Really

    Really I need a new title

    Well, damn, I guess I've just had terrible turkeys for the past 50 years because my mom always added water to the roasting pan, so I have too. So does my MIL, my daughter's MIL.

    Pity I didn't realize I was eating inferior quality turkey...:rolleyes:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all Canucks -- regardless of how you cook your turkeys!
  14. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    I didn't know that either. I always add a little water at the start of roasting, so that the veggies give up their flavor to the pan drippings without burning. Aren't the veggies called "aromatics?" The steam also helps the celery, carrot and onion flavor and aroma take hold in the bird. Bonus: the turkey cooks faster and doesn't dry out from long cooking times. (I also add a cup or two of water after I take the bird out, to start making the gravy or au jus.)

    I was just telling DH that my mom always put butter and bacon on top of the turkey to keep it moist. I use flavored canola oil instead. (Just warm oil, onion powder, dried thyme and a garlic clove the night before.) I never liked that taste, so my brother always ate the bacon. Wonder why he had a heart attack at 48? lol

    I always put paprika on top to give it color and a little flavor.
    Although, I start the turkey uncovered (with the veggies/water) for 20 mins on 450 degrees before turning down the heat and covering with the lid. (My roasting pan is huge - a gift from my MIL, who never roasted poultry in her life.)

    Now I want a turkey dinner, too. Bob Evans is so much easier than roasting a whole bird for only four people. There's a pot luck on Saturday...I could make just a turkey breast...decisions, decisions.
  15. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

    I have never added water to the pan when I cooked a turkey - in my family that would be :wideeyes::huh: And, I only cover it if I put the bird in the oven too late and I want to hurry things up - and then only for an hour and only after it's already browned. I baste a lot - not only does it make the bird nice and brown but it keeps it moist too. That's the way my Mom cooked it, and her mother before her, and now my daughter too. LOL, I've never had any complaints and they keep coming back for more :encore:

    I guess what this proves is whatever way your family cooks it - is the right way. Happy Thanksgiving all!
    Wiery and (deleted member) like this.
  16. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    I only baste a few times - I read somewhere that it cools the bird off too much. With it covered, you don't need to baste. Same difference.
  17. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    You haven't necessarily had terrible turkeys, but you haven't had 'roast' turkeys if you have been putting water in the pan. Roasting is a dry heat method of cooking; steaming is a wet heat method and that's what you've got if you've been putting water in the pan.
  18. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

    Sorry - but there is a difference. The more you baste it, the browner it gets. If you're cooking it with a lid you release the steam when you lift the lid to baste - but not when you're roasting it without a lid - so it doesn't cool off when you put the hot drippings on it - LOL - unless you're a really slow baster ;-)
  19. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    Could it also be because my roasting pan has a steam valve? (When I use foil, I leave an opening, too.) Maybe you're right: maybe I'm too slow at basting, which is why I prefer the covered method. It's not the pan drippings that cause the heat loss - it's holding the door open or removing the bird from the oven. Hmmmm....

    I brown at the start of cooking and then again just at the end. Skin comes out crispy and the turkey's moist. Must be doing something right, just different.
  20. Norlite

    Norlite Well-Known Member

    I've never heard of adding water to the roasting pan either, but whatever works for you, enjoy!

    And a Happy Thankgiving to all my fellow Canadians!
  21. rjblue

    rjblue Having a great day!

    I eat my roasted turkey one day, and my mother-in-law's turkey that has been cooked in a covered pot with water the next day. There is quite a difference in flavour. Steamed food never seals, so the juices leave the meat. Roasted meat has the flavour sealed in.

    It seems counterintuitive to some people, but the way to get the juiciest meat- especially with beef- is to cook with a convection oven, where the hot air flows all around the meat all the time. It is the best way to cook the tender cuts of meat and young poultry.

    The basting for a roast is done to make a better seal on the meat and brown it. I have a small oven, so my turkey browns really quickly and I never have to baste it.

    Yesterday I had roast turkey, potato and bread stuffing (with summer savory, not sage), creamed green beans, brown sugar glazed carrots, whipped Yukon Gold potatoes, butternut squash, cranberry sauce, coleslaw, brown and white rolls, squash pie (soooo much better than pumpkin), blueberry cheesecake, coconut cream pie, and apple pie.

    My oldest daughter couldn't make it home for the big turkey deal yesterday, so today I'm making her favourite- New England Pot Roast with onions and carrots. It smells even better than the turkey. You get the biggest bone-in blade roast you can find, brown it, coat it with creamed horseradish, add a cup of water and put it in the oven for 4 hours with the vegetables in for the last hour. It smells even better than the turkey when it's cooking. It's a great way to turn a really cheap cut of meat into something that tastes divine.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  22. SharonDudd

    SharonDudd New Member

    rjblue: I loved your post about the pot roast. It's one of my family's favorite things that I cook. As soon as they walk in the door, they start sniffing appreciately and will want to know how soon it's going to be done! Then of course they always want to be the one to use the wooden spoon and get all of the leftover gravy out of the roasting pan! I swear, if I let them, they'd eat it like soup. In fact, I've seen my youngest son, now 31 taking a soup spoon and eating it out of the gravy bowl when he thinks that I'm not looking! Don't they know that Mom's have eyes in the backs of their heads by this time in life?? :huh: :huh: :huh: :huh: :huh:
  23. lurvylurker

    lurvylurker Active Member

    OK, so the turkey turned out fine except that it never did brown and crisp up. I see now what I did wrong -- I covered it with foil right from the start, and I kept the foil sealed up tight all the way through. Then I removed the foil about an hour before taking it out of the oven, but the skin neve did get brown and crisp. It was still delicious, but somehow didn't really taste "roasted" -- now I know it was more steamed than roasted, as it never got a chance to dry out (there was lots of liquid in the bottom of the pan when it was done).

    Next time I will truly roast it, leaving it uncovered until/unless it needs loose foil to protect it from burning, and see how that turns out.

    But YUM! rjblue, that pot roast sounds great! I wanna try it -- what temp do you roast it at? (And I assume I should NOT cover it, right?!)
  24. rjblue

    rjblue Having a great day!

    :) Pot roast -covered- at 325 for the New England pot roast.

    Here's the rule from my 1960 Dominion Meat Store cookbook that my mom gave me when I was married.

    If it's a tough cut of meat- old laying hen, round or blade beef roast- you should cook it covered with water in the pan- pot roasting.

    If it's a tender cut of meat- young poultry, rib roast, pork and lamb roasts, you should cook it on a rack with a pan underneath to catch the drippings, and ideally you need the butcher to cut it with the fat left on. I actually special order mine or else ask for some fat trimmings to cover a roast with. The fat seals the juices in. And you need the fat for yorkshire pudding, and lots of gravy.
  25. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    I haven't made a pot roast in years, but this post makes me want to run right out tomorrow and buy whatever I need. rjblue, you are winning this thread.