Everyone has their favorite method of roasting their turkey. Many brine their turkeys, either in a salt or salt/sweet solution, or with a dry brine. Others swear by cooking their turkeys in a bag or a covered roaster. One of my colleagues has an electric turkey roaster that she says produces perfectly flavored turkey every time (although the turkey skin kind of explodes). I have friends who cook their turkeys on their barbecues or in fryers outside in the backyard. At work, we have a guy who uses his beautiful designer oven once a year, just to roast a turkey for our annual Thanksgiving potluck. He turns on the oven, puts the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and roasts the turkey until it reaches the right temperature. No basting, no seasoning, just roasting. It comes out beautifully. It's enough to make those of us who slave over our turkeys a little annoyed.
Everyone has their favorite method of roasting their turkey. This just happens to be mine.
Did you run out of time or do you lack the room to brine a turkey?
Do you bake your turkey breast side down and then have to flip it in the middle of roasting?
Did you put off buying the turkey until the day you need to roast it?
Sick of basting the turkey every so often when you'd rather be hanging out with your guests?
I'm here to help.
I first saw this method on an episode of Cooks Country. It involves poking holes in the skin of the turkey, covering it with salt port, a wet cheesecloth, and heavy duty foil. This method is referred to as larding, and is designed to insulate and slowly baste a cut of meat that might otherwise dry out.
The turkey is roasted covered with the fat for about 2/3 of the roasting time at a lower oven temperature, and then is roasted uncovered for the remaining time at a higher temperature to brown and crisp the skin and complete the cooking of the bird.
1 cheesecloth package, new
4 C water
1 12 to 15 pound turkey
1 pound salt pork. I use the pre-sliced salt pork from Hormel. If yours is unsliced, cut it into 1/4 inch slices. If you can't find salt pork, you can use bacon, however bacon will impart its own smoked flavor.
Preheat the oven to 350 F with the rack placed on the lowest position.
Remove all of the packages of giblets, neck, etc from the cavities of the turkey. Rinse and pat the turkey dry.
Fold the cheesecloth into an 18 inch square, place in in a large bowl, and cover with the four cups of water.
Lifting up the skin, pierce the skin of the breast and legs several times with a fork. Do your best not to pierce the meat itself.
Cover the turkey with the strips of salt pork (see photo), and cover with the soaking wet cheese cloth (do not wring it out). Pour the rest of the water into the roasting pan.
Cover the entire pork and cheesecloth contraption with heavy duty foil.
Roast until the breast reaches 140 degrees F. This should take about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.
Remove the foil, cheesecloth, and salt pork (discard).
Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F and roast until the breast reaches 165 degrees F and the thigh reaches 175 degrees. This should take another 45 minutes to an hour.
When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven, place it on a carving board, and tent it with foil for 30 minutes to rest.
Hope this helps! Let me know if you try it.