Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankfulness Challenge - The Upside Down Turkey

In addition to gardening, I love to cook and thought I'd share a recipe that I'm very thankful to have. Each year I cook Thanksgiving dinner for a large group of friends and family. It's hectic and loud and I love every minute. Cooking the turkey, believe it or not, is the easiest part. I pop it in the roasting pan for about 20 minutes, then take the pan out of the oven, turn the turkey upside down so the breast is pointing down in the roasting pan, and then stick it back in. It looks weird, but who cares! The fat from the bottom of the turkey seeps through the breast meat, ensuring the moistest turkey you've ever had. About 45 minutes before the turkey is done, I flip it back over so the skin on the top can roast to a fabulous crispy brown. It's mindlessly easy.

Here are the specifics:

1.    I start with an organic free range turkey that I've brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with salt   and pepper. I stuff the cavity with carrots and onions. I pour about a cup of water into the roasting pan and pop it into the oven breast side up at 400 F for about 20 minutes.

2.   Take the roasting pan out of the oven and use turkey liers to flip it over. These look like giant forks. I stick one in each side of the turkey near the wings and give the bird a big heave. I brush the bottom of the bird, which is now pointing up while the breast points down, with melted butter and salt and pepper, and then stick it back in the oven. I turn the temp down to 325 F.

3.    About 45 minutes before the turkey is done, take the roasting pan out of the oven again and flip the bird over so that's it's breast side up. Baste the top of the turkey with pan juices and stick it back in the oven. How long the turkey cooks depends on how big it is. This guide is really helpful.
Timetables for Turkey Roasting (325 °F oven temperature)

3.   There are a lot of interesting ways people determine if their turkey is done or not, but the jiggle-this or wiggle-that techniques aren't always reliable. But a meat thermometer is! When the breast reaches 170 and the dark meat reaches 180, the bird is done. You can take it out when the temps are about 2 degrees lower because the meat will continue to cook as the bird sits. Let it rest for about 20 minutes before you carve it. You can buy a meat thermometer at the grocery store.

4.   If you use this method, let me know!! It's easy and always works! Just don't drop the turkey. :o)


These are the turkey lifters and roasting pan I use. I bought them from Williams Sonoma. The picture above is from Williams Sonoma, too.

11 comments:

  1. Do you serve that with upside down cake?

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  2. I've got to get me some of them turkey flippers! If all else fails, I can use them for tiny pitchforks for turning soil :-) Alton Brown always says your kitchen tools should multitask :-) Works for me :-) I have used this method before, but I cook it in one of those cooking bags. You are supposed to cut holes in the bag, but then that means when you flip it, the juice runs out...grrr. Not to mention, that little bugger is HOT and hard to handle. These flippers would be the ticket!

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  3. Thanks for the tip! I will have to try that out this year!

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  4. I have used that method, juicy turkey every time. I love cooking turkey and think I have tried every way possible. I agree, people should try your method above, the only problem is making sure the skin comes along when flipping. Your turkey looks perfect.

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  5. Thanks for sharing that tip. I will have to try it out. I need to go buy a thermometer, so I know when it is done. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving and break!!

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  6. that roasting pan is fabulous. I cooked an entire turkey for the first time this thanksgiving (Canadian is in October) and it worked out pretty well but judging when it's done was torture. Really need to get one of those thermometers for next time.

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  7. I've never roasted a turkey that way. I may try this if the turkey I buy isn't too heavy.

    I bet the gooesneck loosestrife that took over your garden was quite a sight! I never wanted to take a chance with it, until I decided to try it in the tub.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

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  8. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden
    We usually have a turkey at Christmas time and almost every year we mess it up somehow. We forget to defrost it in time most often. This year I am determined to do better. Those fancy lifters look like a great tool that would be worth the investment. I must try your flipped cooking method, as hubby always complains that the white breast meat is dry.

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  9. Thanksgiving at your house sounds fun! Thankfully I have never been in a charge of turkey. The pressure would get to me! I'm great with a side dish though. :)

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

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  10. This sounds like a great way to keep the turkey moist and have a golden skin. Your post makes me think about the year my MIL dropped the turkey as she was putting it in the oven. My husband and I walked into the kitchen just as a 24lb turkey was skidding across the floor!! We still have lots of good laughs over that one!

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  11. Hello, it's me again. Hope it is okay for me to link to your post with your fudge recipe. I am going to post about it tomorrow. It is such a great, easy recipe!! Thanks, Amy

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