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Let the Turkey Sleep

Posted by John on Nov 17, 2011

I know that the majority of home cooks are under extreme pressure over the next couple of weeks. But it is my responsibility to make you feel as stress-free as possible. The turkey is the feature of the Thanksgiving table, so it is also the star of this blog.

The most important part of enjoying a successful turkey roast is to allow the bird to take a little nap before you carve for the final dinner table.

My steps to turkey success:

Make sure that the turkey is completely thawed before it goes into the oven. If you are buying frozen, get the turkey no later than Monday and let it slowly thaw in your refrigerator. On Thursday morning, take the turkey out of the bag and give it a good rinse under cold water. Once it is cleaned off, take liberty in completely covering the bird with generous amounts of salt, rub some seasoned butter under the breast skin, layer a good amount of onion, carrot and celery in the bottom of the roasting pan and start the bird at a high temperature of 425 degrees. After the first 45 minutes, turn the oven down to 300 degrees and let the bird roast slowly and gently. The turkey needs to be basted several times with the pan drippings and fat during the cooking process. Once the thermometer button pops, remove the turkey and drape some aluminum foil over the bird. Do not completely seal the foil over the roasting pan as this will cause the turkey to steam and also trap heat that can continue cooking the bird.

It is at this moment that the turkey gets to take one last nap before you start to carve. I have been saying this for years now, “I would rather serve you juicy room temperature turkey than dry, hot turkey.” I will allow up to 2 hours of resting before the slicer comes out of the drawer. My theory is the longer the resting, the better. Roast, rest and let the delicious gravy gently warm the meat as you enjoy the juicy flesh. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Topics: roast, baste, turkey, frozen, rest, carve, thanksgiving