How to Roast a Turkey and Also Get Super Dry Skin
(yeah. I won NaNoWriMo this morning. That’s unrelated to this post, but I WON NANOWRIMO THIS MORNING SO TOO BAD.)
I learned everything I know about cooking from Grandma Google, pretty much. When I decided I wanted to do my own turkey roasting, I turned again to the wisdom of the internets. Over the years we’ve tried a few different recipes, but turkey roasting turned out to be surprisingly easy. There’s all kind of brining and frying and bacon wrapping you can try, but I find the best is just to stick the damn thing in a bag and put the whole mess in an oven for a while.
I don’t actually celebrate Thanksgiving at home, but my awesome friend got me a free turkey from her job, and I’m not about to turn down free meat. I thought I’d put up my own personal journey for you, in case you need help from Grandma Can’t Talk with how to roast your huge chuck of meat into an edible format. Also, Bell gives me a hard time because I use a lot of stock photos, so this post gave me a chance to put up some pictures I took myself! With a camera phone!
Step 1: Wash your hands. There’s germs on them. Also set oven to 350.
Step 2: Get out your turkey bag and roasting pan. This is a flawed picture, because the roasting pan in the picture has a little rack in it, and you don’t actually need that. Throw that shit out the window or something.
Step 3: Get out the turkey. Pro tip: be sure it’s defrosted. Internets say 24 hours of defrosting time for every 4 pounds of turkey. If today is turkey day and yours is frozen, well, order pizza.
Step 4: Cut the turkey out of the bag and remove the shit inside. Here’s a thing I didn’t know–there’s two things inside! There’s a neck in one hole, and a bag of shit in the other hole. Did you even know there were two holes in a turkey? News to me. Here is the grossest picture you’ll ever see, but at least you’ll know what you’re aiming for. (Neck on the top, bag on the bottom. Ignore the ice on the neck. I may or may not have defrosted quite enough. We’ll see when it comes out of the oven.) I threw all of this away. More industrious people will make soup or something.
Step 5: Wash your turkey goo hands. Vaguely worry about touching the doorknob and door and trash can lid outside and giving everyone salmonella.
Step 6: Get out the spices. You can do pretty much anything you’ve got. I went with salt, pepper, sage, thyme and garlic. I just like garlic. Pro tip: just dump a bunch of spices from each jar on a paper plate. That way you don’t have to touch your jars with turkey hands like I did.
Step 7: Rub a shit ton of butter all over the turkey. This is the grossest thing you will do all day unless you work for a sewage plant or something.
Step 8: Wash your gross ass hands
Step 9: Rub spices all over the turkey. Just like, give it a good massage. Make sure the turkey isn’t too tense. Ignore those scissors in the pic, I only used them to open the bag.
Step 9: OH DEAR GOD WASH YOUR HANDS EW
Step 11: Cut up an onion or two and some celery stalks.
Step 12: Get your bag unfolded and shake a tablespoon of flour around in there. I don’t know why you’re supposed to do this, but that’s what the instructions say. There’s no pic of this step, because I forgot to do it and just tossed a spoonful of flour in on top of everything else and kind of smooshed it around. YOLO and shit.
Step 13: Shove the turkey in the bag and shove the onions and celery in the turkey holes. I overestimated the space in my turkey and overstuffed him. Story of my life, really.
Step 14: Wash your hands. Under the nails. Repeat twice.
Step 15: Cook turkey in the 350 degree oven for the quantity of time it says on the packaging. The packaging on my turkey had a very nice chart of pounds/time cooked. Unfortunately, nowhere on the turkey did it say how many pounds MY turkey was. I had to guess, for this guy, I’m looking at about 3 hours.
Step 16: Tada! Turkey. Oh no wait, just kidding, the very middle of the turkey was not quite to temp. Pretty sure the whole ‘not quite defrosted’ thing came back to haunt me. So, we cut the parts of the breast that were definitely done off, and threw the thing back in the oven. It was finally done at about 2 hours 45 minutes. I highly recommend a meat thermometer for this, rather than guesswork that causes your whole family to get food poisoning. But I’m paranoid like that.
Step 17: Tada! Turkey. Let someone else carve it, I have no idea how to do that. Also, it is surprisingly hard to take nice pictures of cooked meat. It just looks kind of… gross. But it was very good and moist, which is entirely due to the magical bag and nothing at all do to with my “cooking skills.”
Step 18: Be sure to wash your hands before you eat. Also invest in some kind of hand lotion. Enjoy.
A very happy Thanksgiving* from the Can’t Talk team to you! I hope your turkey experience is as good as mine was, except I also hope you defrost yours all the way.
*Unless your not American, in which case we wish you happy turkey roasting for no other reason than turkey is so much better this way than in cold cut form!