On resting the roast

So… We decided it wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving without a turkey. And we wanted to quarantine so we could visit my mom. So we ordered a turkey from a local place that delivers meat. And we decided to go for the tastier “heritage breed”. There was one choice of size, “15-25 pounds”, so i placed my order.

On Tuesday, a 22 pound fresh turkey arrived, on schedule. Into the fridge it went.
Wednesday evening I pulled it out, and left it in the cool basement to warm up, because turkey cooks a hell of a lot faster if it’s not too cold when you start it, and that means it doesn’t dry out as much. (I’m convinced that most of the benefit people get from brining the bird is that it forces them to fully defrost the thing, and in many cases, it forces them to let it warm to room temp.)

But it was still too damn cold when it was time to cook. Still…

Into the oven at 425 for half an hour. As an experiment, we put it on the breast for this step. Trying to turn the thing over i split the breast skin… So, not gonna try that again. Anyway, turkey on its back, abdominal fat tossed over the part missing skin to baste it, oven at 350.

Checked after a while, and the exterior is done, but of course the interior is still raw. Turned the temp down to 300.

Checked a while later. The top of the breast and parts of the thigh register 185, but the thickest part of the breast is only 135.

WTF. Oh well, if the meat sits at 135 for an hour, it will be pasteurized, and won’t hurt anyone, even if it’s not super appealing. And i can just cut meat from other parts to serve. So i turned off the oven, and left the roast to rest for an hour. I did transfer it to a cutting board, so i could start making gravy from the pan drippings.

Came back, poked around with my thermopen… The entire roast is now at temperatures between 162 and 165, from just poking under the skin to the deepest part that was barely warm before. Win!

If it weren’t for coordinating with my mom, and also with four other family households for the zoom call, I would have left it another hour to warm a bit and reabsorb some juice. But the turkey was pretty good, despite a cup of two of juice spilling out when I carved it.

Moral: rest the roast.


P.S. any suggestions for what to do with leftovers? Must be something i can freeze (or make with frozen meat) because there’s no way we are getting through all that meat within a week.

Also, no red, green, or hot peppers.

I have a perhaps a quart of good gravy, too.

My SO just takes the meat off the carcass and freezes it like that. Then it gets used later in sandwiches.

You take a hunk of frozen meat out of the freezer, saw off a couple of slices for sandwiches, and put it back?

The meat is all off the carcass, fwiw, and the carcass is in a stock pot. I have… Maybe three quarts of meat? Maybe more?

… checking…

A bit more that 4 quarts of meat. Or 4 liters, for you metric folks.

And now I have a little more than 3 quarts of broth, too. Weird, I don’t usually get more leftover meat than broth. I wonder if I should dilute this summer before I freeze it.

Making the broth was a pain, because the carcass was too large to conveniently put in my pots. After cutting it into several pieces with my chef’s knife, i finally gave up and took the meat cleaver to the backbone to fit it all in the pot.

It smells good, though.

Nah, she packages it in smaller bags already sliced.


See the…
…first two posts here: https://archive.is/EnwyL
…first post here: https://archive.is/2ef05
…second post here: https://archive.is/PpAOp

Full archive is here, btw: RIP thread

Best turkey I’ve ever “made” this year.

Brought a full turkey dinner to my in-laws several hundred miles away. (After we all had negative Covid tests, and only 5 of us at dinner, so relatively safe.) By necessity I had to make it super simple as I was going to be making ALL the food in someone else’s kitchen in only a few hours.

So I got a fully-cooked turkey from one of the fancy grocery stores. I’ve never bought a fully-cooked turkey before. I took it out of the fridge at the Airbnb as soon as I woke up Thursday morning. By the time we were dressed and had everything else packed up to take to my in-laws and drove over there and ascertained that they were out of foil and found an open store and bought some… it had been out of the fridge about two hours.

Put it in a roasting pan on a rack with water in the pan and covered it and baked at 325 for two hours. Meat fell off the bone and was super moist.

We did let it rest for probably 15 minutes when we pulled it from the oven and hubby carved it while I heated all the sides I’d made at home.

It was so simple compared to buying a raw turkey, and so much moister… I may never buy a raw turkey again!

Some years ago I raised a half dozen turkeys. Showed up at the place to get them cleaned and got told there was a mistake in my booking. So I took them back home and did it myself. What a freakin’ mess that was.
They were huge (they all dressed out at 30+ lbs, one was 36lbs IIRC, wouldn’t fit in the pan and barely in the oven). By the end they were terrorizing the dog and anyone who drove up the driveway - they were tall enough to look in your car windows. And my SO’s gardens looked like someone had run over them with a lawnmower, they ate everything.
By the time I got to the last one to clean it, it had figured out the deal. I chased him around the house 3 times before I got ahold of him. Kids thought that was pretty funny, it really wasn’t.

No more turkeys for me.

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Lol, thanks!

That’s a no-go for me. I really dislike meat that has lost all its consistency. I mean, if it’s stew, sure. But I like my poultry (and roasts in general) to slice cleanly, and I expect to use a knife at the table to cut the slice into bite-sized pieces. If it falls apart, it’s overdone, imo.

(And I like roasts more than stews. There’s a reason we gave away all the slow cookers we were given as wedding presents. We didn’t like the food we could make in them.)

On the other hand, I don’t find it hard to roast a bird. The only part that is a little challenging is stuffing the thing. Which i only do a couple times a year. But really, there aren’t many preparations that are easier than roasting. Just shove it in the oven and monitor the temp until it’s done.

Oh… And you kept recall that i planned not to stuff the bird this year. But we had a little leftover bread in the kitchen, and my mom loves stuffing, so at the last minute we decided to make just enough stuffing to fill the neck cavity, and we left the leftover stuffing with her. I may do that again, since that was way easier than stuffing the whole damn bird, didn’t add to the cooking time, and we didn’t end up with lots of extra stuffing to get rid of. (no, I don’t like soggy-bread-with-sage. Yes, I am aware this is a minority opinion.)

I love in-bird stuffing but it’s disallowed in our house. My brother’s a chef and he decides to tell my SO how the stuffing inside the bird doesn’t get to a temperature high enough to kill bacteria. It’s stovetop for us now.

That’s why you also cook it on the stovetop after you scoop it out. I mean, turkey got to rest (hey! on topic!).

That’s why I always temperature check the stuffing, if I have stuffed the bird.

I think the issue is that toxins can build up before the stuffing reaches temp, and those toxins are heat stable. The larger the bird the riskier it is to stuff it. It’s also less risky if your start with hot stuffing, I believe.

Well, momma never did any of that. Out of the bird onto your plate. Surprised we lived to tell about it.

My momma has a meat thermometer…

That being said, i don’t think food poisoning is all that common. And unless i am feeding someone who is immune compromised i generally don’t worry about it.

It fell off the bone, but held its shape during carving, except one little spot that I think was user error by my husband on the electric carving knife. I used a knife to cut leftovers a few hours ago.

Yeah, I just make stuffing on the stove, but that was another something useful I recall learning in my Home Ec class (to bring up a long dead AO thread) was that if you’re going to stuff the turkey the stuffing should start out hot. That also reduces the cooking time and reduces the likelihood of an unevenly cooked bird.

I realize that people have different preferences, but I have never really enjoyed poultry that fell off the bone. To me, that means it’s significantly overcooked, and the texture of the meat will be lacking, and the flavor suffers.

We usually make chicken curry from leftover roast chicken, and the thing I like least about it is that the chicken ends up overcooked and flabby. (The apples and potato are usually the stars of the curry.) I mean, we remove the bones before we make the curry, but it would fall off the bone if we didn’t.

Well, it was the best turkey I ever made and the other four who ate it raved as well. :woman_shrugging: