Turkey 101 and the Fastest Recipe for Roasting a Bird

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Turkeys are by far the biggest challenge of any Thanksgiving meal. In addition to wanting it to be juicy and flavorful, you truly prefer it not to take all day to roast. Fortunately, you can have it all. (Yep, I said it!)

Follow these tips and recipe to cook the best bird you’ll ever have.

Turkey 101 and the Fastest Recipe for Roasting a Bird - Discover, A World Market Blog

Tip 1: Cook a turkey that weighs no more than 14 pounds.

It’s just science. The bigger the bird, the longer it takes to roast, which means there’s a higher likelihood of drying out the meat. Instead, purchase a turkey that weighs no more than 14 pounds. Personally, I like 12 pounds because you can cook it in 90 minutes. Yes, it’s possible with my recipe! Anything beyond 14 pounds, you should consider roasting two turkeys for the best and juiciest results.

Turkey 101 and the Fastest Recipe for Roasting a Bird - Discover, A World Market Blog

Tip 2: Match your aromatics to your brine.

Sometimes it’s tough to know what ingredients to fill your bird with. I say to skip the stuffing and stick with aromatics. If using a pre-packaged brine, take a peek at the ingredients. From there, find spices and fresh produce that match the contents to stuff your turkey with. It’s a good way to impart delicious flavors that will always match your brine.

Tip 3: Tuck the wings.

Make sure you can savor every part of the turkey by not forgetting simple things like tucking the wings underneath the bird. This will keep the wings from cooking too quickly and burning.

Tip 4: Dry, oil and lightly season the skin.

A crispy skin begins with taking a paper towel and removing as much moisture as possible from the skin of your turkey. Thereafter, use a good olive oil to coat the entire bird and season with a simple mix of salt and pepper. It’s all you need to cook up a flavorful and crispy exterior.

Tip 5: Seal in the juices.

Turkey 101 and the Fastest Recipe for Roasting a Bird - Discover, A World Market Blog

Always cook your turkey on the highest temperature possible for the first 30 minutes. This quickly roasts the outside of the turkey, creating a seal that keeps in all the juices. Then, lower the temperature to finish cooking your turkey. My recipe will give you the exact temperatures and timing, so there’s no need to guess.

Tip 6: Don’t let it brown too quickly.

Turkey 101 and the Fastest Recipe for Roasting a Bird - Discover, A World Market Blog

If using the 30-minute roasting rule outlined in my recipe, you will need to keep an eye on browning. It will happen fast. Before it gets too much color (a shade lighter than what you want), loosely tent it with foil and continue to roast as directed in the instructions. This ensures your bird is the exact color you want it the end and still achieves that delicious crispy skin.

Tip 7: Avoid the thermometer.

To clarify, don’t pay attention to the thermometer that comes with the bird. You know, the plastic one that pops up to tell you your turkey is done. By the time it pops, your bird will likely be very dry. Instead, remove your turkey from the oven when it reaches 161 °F on a meat thermometer. The turkey will continue to cook as it rests.

Tip 8: Speaking of, let the bird rest.

Turkey 101 and the Fastest Recipe for Roasting a Bird - Discover, A World Market Blog

Don’t allow the juices go to waste by making a rookie move and carving your turkey right when it comes out of the oven. Allow your bird to sit on the roasting rack for at least 15 minutes under a loose foil tent. After that, feel free to carve your bird for the juiciest meat.

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 12

7 Comments

  • Val

    World Market brine is excellent, I’ve used it for years. In fact, I usually by it in bulk. Need to replenish

  • Linda

    I experimented with an 8 lb. Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster, unbrined, and my husband calculated that after roasting at 500 degrees for the first 30 minutes, I should roast it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. I used my instant read thermometer, and it was 161 degrees. I removed the chicken from the oven, covered it with foil and went on to prepare my side dishes. When I cut into the chicken, it was all bloody and not fully cooked. I will stick with my tried and true method of roasting my turkey in an enamel covered pan. I don’t know why I even read these articles and try recipes when mine has worked all of these years.

  • Cheryl Herscher

    Is this recipe for birds cooked in a convection oven or a conventional oven? The picture looks like a convection oven, so I just want to make sure – I have a conventional oven and I want to make sure the cook time is enough. Thanks!

  • Connie W.

    If you Don’t brine the turkey, are the rest of the Directions the same?? ThanKs!

  • Jo

    Excellent advice! And the turkey pop up timer has led to many dried out turkeys!

    • Val

      Most always used the pop up thermometer. As long as your bird is brined, it stays moist. Never had a “ dry bird” incident EVER!!

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