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The Best Roasted Turkey Ever

Updated on December 2, 2010

If you're planning to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any special occasion then read this. I will give away a great secret to cooking the ultimate turkey in an oven. This method is so simple that it really shouldn't be a secret. I found out how to do this from my sister-in-law. Where she got the recipe from, I have no idea. I'll just claim it for myself because I know of no other families that do this.

When I tried this turkey cooking process for the first time, the turkey was so tender that the meat just fell apart from the bone. The wings and the legs separated from the body. I've never had a turkey so juicy and tasty from an oven. The only downside is that you'll have to cook the traditional stuffing separately. It will not be cooked inside the turkey.

I have cooked turkey two basic ways: baked and deep-fried. Slow baked turkey tastes pretty good but there is a danger of making the meat dry. Even if you cook it perfect, the white meat can dry out quicker than the dark meat.

Deep-fried turkey tastes excellent with its greasy but flavorful texture. However, cooking a big turkey with a giant turkey fryer is insane. The two big advantages are that it cooks fast and the result is a great tasting bird if cooked correctly. When you dip a whole turkey into a vat of hot oil there is a risk of burning from the splatter that occurs when you dip the turkey, cook it, and remove it. If you are dumb enough to put a frozen turkey into hot oil, you will not get a lot of sympathy. The vat of oil and possibly the fryer will explode and spew hot flaming grease all over your property, not to mention your home and yourself.

Well enough talk, let's get to the meat of the method. Using a 20 pound turkey as an example, you will need eight lemons, eight onions, a shallow pan big enough to hold a turkey and the drippings, and a turkey baster. Plan ahead before you cook and prepare the turkey for guests. The turkey from a store typically comes with cooking times and temperature. In this example the turkey will be cooked in 4 1/2 hours at 325 degrees. Give half an hour to cool down after it's done. Give another 1/2 to 1 hour to cut.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. With a sharp knife, cut each lemon and onion in half. Cut each half into fours. You are essentially cutting each item into eighths. Prepare the turkey for stuffing by removing the giblets in the main cavity between the legs and at the front of the turkey where the neck used to be.

Take a piece of lemon and onion and stuff it in the main cavity. Repeat and put as many lemon and onions into the opening. Do the same for the front cavity. Put the turkey into the oven and wait one hour. Take your baster and baste the turkey all over with its own drippings. Repeat every one half hour to an hour for 4 1/2 hours.

By some miracle you'll end up with a very juicy and tender turkey. You'll be amazed that even the breast meat will be very soft and moist. What is amazing about the taste is that despite all the onions and lemons you do not taste it in the meat. I find it difficult to make neat cuts on the turkey but it doesn't matter. Just do your best to make it presentable on a serving tray. Separate the white meat from the dark meat if you like.

Whenever I host a meal with a baked turkey for guests, it is always a hit, especially if using the method described in this article. I only do this maybe every one or two years. It is rare that I do this twice a year. Having a traditional turkey lunch or dinner for large groups of people is hard work even with help. Being a guest is a lot less stressful than being a host for a big party, especially if you're a host that cooks, prepare meals, and cleans up.

So try this method of cooking the turkey yourself. It will be a great experience for you and the reward can be great. If done correctly, your friends and family will love you even more.

I don't know if there is a name for this turkey cooking process in the oven. I just call it the onion and lemon stuffing method. If your guests have never seen this type of preparation with the turkey before, you can probably name the method after yourself. You can even claim that the process is a secret and there is a good chance that you could get away with it. As people get busier and busier, they avoid cooking by having someone else do it or eat out.


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