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Roast Turkey, The Bob and Meg Way: Submitted by: Robert and Marguerite | Date Added: 23 Nov 2011
Listed in: Meat / Poultry

15 pound fresh uninjected natural turkey, with excess fat trimmed off
3 medium onions chopped
3 medium celery ribs chopped
2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 medium garlic cloves peeled and halved
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
1 Tablespoon table salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Cooking Instructions

Makes a nice amount for 6 people.

Roasting a turkey to look like a Norman Rockwell picture and to have it taste great is difficult. Often the meat is cut up in the kitchen anyway and not brought to the table for appreciative gasps of pleasure at its beauty. We judge it far more on its taste and tenderness. A whole turkey has a big cavity in the middle of it making it difficult to get the temperature through the whole bird. Also the meats cook best at different temperatures and times. A simple answer to this dilemma is to get rid of the cavity by cutting the turkey into parts and controlling temperatures and times for all the parts.

Pick a fresh (unfrozen) turkey without injections of all sorts of things, i.e. a natural product. Have the butcher cut it up so you have wings, for the Traditional Turkey Dressing. Have the bird cut in half, and then cut the leg and thighs. In the end you have six pieces, 2 wings, 2 leg and thighs, and two pieces of breast meat. Be sure to have the backbone cut out too.

If a frozen whole turkey was purchased, start by defrosting the turkey.

Take a Wyoming Saw with a bone blade and cut the turkey on each side of the backbone (save it for stock), or use poultry shears. Spread the turkey as flat as possible, skin side down, on a clean surface. Cut through the breast bone making two even sized turkey pieces which include the breasts, thighs, and legs. Cut the wings off for the Traditional Turkey Dressing.


Consider cooking the first half a couple days earlier. The advantages are you don't have as much work on Thanksgiving day since there's less to cook and less left overs to process. You also have turkey available earlier for sandwiches or to turn into Turkey Tetrazzini. One other BIG advantage is it gives you two, count them, two opportunities for crispy turkey skin.

1) Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 275F. Do NOT use convection on this. Arrange onions, celery, carrots, thyme and garlic in even layer on rimmed baking sheet. Pour broth into baking sheet. Place rack on top of vegetables (rack will rest on vegetables, not on bottom of baking sheet).

2) Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Brush turkey pieces on all sides with melted butter. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over turkey. Place breast skin-side down and drumsticks and thighs skin-side up on rack on vegetable-filled baking sheet, leaving at least inch between pieces.

3) Roast turkey pieces 1 hour. Using wads of paper towels or silicon oven mitts, turn turkey breast skin-side up. Continue roasting another 1 to 2 hours until instant-read thermometer registers 160F when inserted in thickest part of breast and 170F to 175F in thickest part of thighs. Remove baking sheet from oven and transfer rack with turkey to second baking sheet. Allow pieces to rest at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hours.

4) To serve: Heat oven to 500F. Place baking sheet with turkey in oven. Roast until skin is golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven, transfer turkey to cutting board, and let rest 20 minutes. Carve and serve, passing warm gravy separately.

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