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Turkey Dinner, Part TWO!

November 22, 2006

Well, the turkey's been gobbled, the dressing stuffed in our faces... one or two slight bumps in the road. I did remember to put the rolls in the oven. I did not read the directions correctly (brown 'n serve rolls - how hard can they be?). I stoked up the temp to 450 to brown the rolls. Shoulda been 400. They were a tad on the dark side (but still edible!).

It wasn't until a couple of hours after the dinner that we realized that the fruit salad never made it to the table. Oops. Oh, well, more for the long weekend!

Convection Oven Turkey
  • A BIG turkey, 19 or more pounds (or is that just us?)

  • A rack to set the turkey on

  • Olive oil

  • Black pepper (we do coarse-ground)

  • Granulated garlic - NOT the salt!!!!

  • 1 large onion, quartered

  • 1 can chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 400 (on convection, not just "bake"). Put a low-sided roasting pan (with the rack in it) next to your sink.

Clean out your sink. REALLY well. Don't use Comet (because people tend to use too much and the sink gets gritty), but make the sink squeaky clean. If you have thin disposable vinyl or latex gloves (the kind doctors and hairdressers use), have a couple of pairs close by.

Put the turkey in the sink, then unwrap it. Put on gloves if you've got them and take out the innards and bag of bits and any globs of fat. I don't keep these, my good intentions of boiling stuff and making it into soup are long gone. I stick them in a zipper storage bag in the freezer until garbage day. Wash the turkey in the sink, getting in the main body cavity and the cavity where the head used to be. You'll be wrestling the bird around in the sink - that's why it needs to be so clean.

After the turkey's been washed, turn it breast-side down in the sink. Switch to a new pair of gloves. Pour some olive oil on the underside of the bird and rub it all around. Be sure to get into the crevices under the wings and legs. After the olive oil, sprinkle on black pepper and garlic. If you have someone else do the sprinkling, you won't get your spice containers all gooey with the olive oil on your hands. Rub the pepper and garlic all over the bird, again making sure to get into the crevices.

Pick up the turkey and put it breast side UP on the rack in the roaster. Oil the top part of the bird and rub in pepper and garlic. Tie up the wings or legs if that's your thing. (Now it's time to throw away the gloves)

Cut a large onion into quarters. Put 3 of the quarters inside the bird. Break up the 4th quarter and put it in the pan. Pour the can of broth into the pan, too. While you're at it, you might as well put in some pepper and garlic, too.

If you have a stay-in-the-bird meat thermometer, put it into the breast meat about halfway to the bone. If you've got one of those probe things that has a wire to a timer that sits outside the oven, you can't use it while you're convect-ing (breaks the seal on the door and the fan won't run), but you can use it when it's time to check the bird. If you don't have any kind of thermometer, send someone to the store to get one! Seriously, the red pop-up things are unreliable, though fun for kids, and should be your absolutely last resort.

Put the turkey in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. Sit down and relax.
After 20 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350. Set your timer for 2 hours. After 2 hours, check the temperature by putting a meat probe deep into the breast (I stick mine in where I've pulled out the little red pop-up thing). When the breast temp reaches 165, take the turkey out. We had a 19 pound turkey, it took 2 1/2 hours at 350.

Now, if the breast temp is 165 but your turkey looks like George Hamilton naked at 95, don't panic and swear and consider crying (yep, that's the Voice of Experience speaking). The turkey should still be wonderfully moist on the inside and the skin will be yummy.

Let the turkey sit for thirty minutes before carving. In the mean time, if you're into the gravy thing, use the broth/seasoning in the pan. You can discard all of the onion (makes for lumpy gravy, you know), but keep whatever other bits are in the pan.

Here's how mine turned out:

I've had turkeys turn out more uniformly brown (including the George Hamilton bird), but this one was SOOOoooo FAT that it actually dripped fat onto the lower part of the bird, impeding the browning. (sheesh)

Now, after the first round of eating is over, plan to slide into a coma:
Nap Dog

She didn't even make it two feet from the table before she zonked. We figured Puppy Butt had more turkey per body weight than any of the rest of us, so she was the first to pass out. However, she seemed able to rouse herself just in time for the pumpkin pie a couple of hours after dinner!

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