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.