I have been cooking my stress-free turkeys using this low and slow fool-proof method for 5 years.
My Canadian friend Annie Kate, over at Annie Kate’s Homeschool Reviews, shared an old-time slow turkey roasting method back then. I must say, since adopting her method, our kitchen has never been more relaxed for the big meals. Here are her words:
“I used to dread cooking turkey, hoping desperately that it would be neither under-cooked nor dry and over-cooked. With this recipe it’s so stress-free to make tender and delicious turkey! Here’s what I do (and what many of my friends are now doing as well).”
1.) The night before, or early in the morning, preheat the oven to 400F. Then put the (thawed) turkey into the roaster, add 1/2″ of water, put on the lid, and pop it into the oven. If it’s huge, as in more than 15-20 lbs, or partially frozen, be sure to put it in the night before.
Always roast with a snugly fitting lid!
2.) Always Preheat.
Roast at 400F for 30-40 minutes. (If you have a tiny turkey, leave it at 400F only about 25 minutes.)
3.) Immediately, turn the oven down to 200F, keep the lid on and cook the turkey all day (and night if you put it in in the evening) at that temperature. It will cook slowly and stay tender and delicious for hours at 200F. Enjoy!
Notes (Updated November, 2016):
- Our turkeys are usually around 15 lbs and mostly thawed when I put them into the oven, and we cook them low and slow for 10-24 hours, depending on circumstances. At such low temperatures they never get tough. The skin gets sealed/seared at the 400 degrees initially, keeping in the juices.
- The initial cooking time at 400F kills bacteria on the surface.
- I always cook the stuffing separately.
- Unless you are certain that your oven thermostat is correct, use a meat thermometer. Since the oven temperature in this method barely above the official ‘done temperature’ (185°) you must be sure that you do reach the correct temperature. Time is on your side.
This is based on a method found in ‘Let’s Cook it Right’ by Adele Davis. (That old cookbook is one of my treasures.)
This same book gets a mention on e-How:
“Slow-roasting your Thanksgiving turkey will bring more than smiles to the faces of your dinner guests. It also will bring rave reviews for many years. Roasting a turkey at a low temperature overnight will lead to a moist, tender and juicy bird that will impress even the pickiest of family members. To roast your turkey overnight, follow a proven recipe featured in the popular 1940s cookbook Let’s Cook it Right by Adelle Davis”.
It is one of the most popular, helpful, and widely praised cookbooks ever published.
Choose a marvelous and colorful side from one of these 29 Festive Pomegranate recipes.
So, if you are having turkey for the family Thanksgiving or Christmas feast, this may be just the thing to take off some of the pressure! You can add a glaze (as pictured above) in the last hour or two.
“I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; like those among men who live by sharking and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. The turkey is a much more respectable bird.” ~Benjamin Franklin
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“Let them thank the LORD for His steadfast love,
for His wondrous works to the children of man!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul He fills with good things.”
~Psalm 107: 8-9
Thanks for reading!