Slow roasting turkey... time and temperature?

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I'm going to slow roast a 14 lbs turkey tomorrow. I'm thinking 300°F for... not sure how long? Maybe start with 30mn at 475°F to get the bird golden brown first? Or toward the end? 

I've done this method with chickens... no browning period... instead of roasting at 450°F for 1 hour, roasting at 300°F for 2 hours, and they come out beautifully golden brown, crispy skin, the meat melting in your mouth, very well cooked (not a trace of pink anywhere for those who freak out at the sight of pink poultry) and yet very moist.

Good idea? Bad idea? How long at 300°F for a 14 lbs bird? 

Do you all pull the bird from the oven when the temp is 165°F everywhere?

Thanks! 
 
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If you roast it whole, the dark will cook faster than the white. I find dark texture is not right until 185, white 165. If you pull white at 165 it will be over with carry over cooking, try for 160.

I smoked 14 lber last year 325 just under 3 hours. This year 20 lber so I spatchcocked it. 325 is the minimum temp for rendering fat and getting crispy skin.
 
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I think it's an idea worth exploring!  The fat on turkey is pretty thick so it might do well with this prep.  I'd start it off on a high heat and then turn it down.  I suspect it will take a while though and it might take some trial and error this year.  I would put it in first thing in the morning honestly.

Let us know how it goes!  Happy Thanksgiving.

gobble gobble
 
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I am a total heretic when it comes to turkey roasting, but I do it untrussed, wings folded under, at 475 until the breast is 160. For a 13# bird, I would go 75 minutes. Pull and let rest 30-45 minutes. I have tried pretty much every method under the sun at one time or another, but this is my favorite way by far. Crispy golden brown skin and moist meat.
 
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I am a by stander at Thanksgiving at work.

The Boss makes the bird while I do all the rest.

He is very fanatical about the whole thing.

He is a true Renaissance  man when it comes to the bird.

He still insists on stuffing it, trussing it, starting it at a high heat then turning it down.

He has turned the whole idea of a fully cooked bird being dry and flavorless upside down.

He soaks several layers of cheesecloth in melted butter then drapes it over the breast and on to the leg/thigh.

After 1/2 hour at high heat the oven is turned down and for the next 6-7 hours he bastes the bird every 1/2 hour. It is a labor of love.

He pulls the bird at 165 on the nose. Everything I know tells me this is going to be dry but the resulting meat is tender and moist.

The bird also looks like it could be on the cover of a magazine.
 
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Interesting how you can find every method on the internet from super slow roasting (one recipe suggested setting the oven to 175 F and roasting overnight) to super fast roasting. I found the following chart which will be pretty helpful for me: 

If your turkey weighs 12 to 14 pounds,
roast it for:
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours
2 3/4 to 3 hours
3 to 3 3/4 hours
425°F
400°F
350°F
325°F
 
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Slow roasting does nothing to improve texture. Its not like brisket or pork butt that the time helps break down collagen. The unattentive cook gets a bigger window of time i guess. Fast cooking gets you all important skin.
 
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Slow roasting does nothing to improve texture. Its not like brisket or pork butt that the time helps break down collagen. The unattentive cook gets a bigger window of time i guess. Fast cooking gets you all important skin.
"Improve" is in the eye of the beholder I guess. I know that for chickens at least, the texture is quite different between high-heat fast roasting or low-heat slow roasting. I like both, I just think of them as different cooking methods. IMO slow cooking gives great results for the legs: the meat is more tender, falling apart. There's also the bigger window of time to pull the bird out as you mentioned.

But yeah you know in this case I think I've changed my mind and will go for a fast high-heat roast after all. Here's my current plan: 

Room temp 13# turkey into preheated 450 F oven for about 1 Hr 1/2. 
 
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Well... I'm not too happy. I mean, don't get me wrong, the whole thanksgiving party was a blast. But the turkey??? Meh. Guests were polite and said it was alright, but honestly, it ended up tough and dry IMO. 

I started it at 450 for the first 45mn. Then it looked like it already had the ideal color, so I turned it down to 425 for another 45mn. At that point I tested the temp and the breast was 155. Still it felt like the legs were moving freely and somehow I felt it was already overcooked. Weird. So I started hacking into it but obviously some of it was cleary undercooked. So I we started eating what was cooked (top of the breasts, some of the wing joints) while I put the rest back in the oven. But even though the bird wasn't fullly cooked, whatever parts were cooked were dry and overcooked. Disapointed. 

BTW I did not use convection. 

Oh well. My dressing, which was a completely improvised bread/ground pork/onion/carrot/celery/thyme/sage/lemon zest mixture, was a huge hit. So I wasn't completely disappointed. 

I still feel like while I've pretty much mastered the art of roasting a 3 to 4 lbs chicken in multiple ways, but still can't nail a 13 lbs turkey. Probably the lack of experience. 

Thanks for all your help anyway. I won't give up. 
 
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Well... I'm not too happy. I mean, don't get me wrong, the whole thanksgiving party was a blast. But the turkey??? Meh. Guests were polite and said it was alright, but honestly, it ended up tough and dry IMO. 

I started it at 450 for the first 45mn. Then it looked like it already had the ideal color, so I turned it down to 425 for another 45mn. At that point I tested the temp and the breast was 155. Still it felt like the legs were moving freely and somehow I felt it was already overcooked. Weird. So I started hacking into it but obviously some of it was cleary undercooked. So I we started eating what was cooked (top of the breasts, some of the wing joints) while I put the rest back in the oven. But even though the bird wasn't fullly cooked, whatever parts were cooked were dry and overcooked. Disapointed. 

BTW I did not use convection. 

Oh well. My dressing, which was a completely improvised bread/ground pork/onion/carrot/celery/thyme/sage/lemon zest mixture, was a huge hit. So I wasn't completely disappointed. 

I still feel like while I've pretty much mastered the art of roasting a 3 to 4 lbs chicken in multiple ways, but still can't nail a 13 lbs turkey. Probably the lack of experience. 

Thanks for all your help anyway. I won't give up. 

I read something recently about larger birds needing a lower temp and smaller birds needing a higher temp to get crispy skin along side moist breast meat. I followed that this year and as a result went with 425 for 15 mins follow by 1.5 hours at 300, my bird was dry. Then I realized, every year I cook a turkey and every year I complain about my turkey cooking skills :)
 
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french fries french fries don't be too disappointed, I think turkey is generally a disappointing bird to begin with. The best turkeys I have eaten are ones that are roasted in part or spatchcocked. I really don't understand what the whole hubub is about roasting it whole, it looks pretty but you can't eat a pretty picture and nobody carves at the table anymore.

You should've gone with your instincts and slow roasted that thing the way you wanted to. You got talked out of it! There is no way a turkey can be good in a 400 oven I'm sorry.

This is why I make ham. No matter what happens to the bird there is always ham.
 
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french fries french fries don't be too disappointed, I think turkey is generally a disappointing bird to begin with. The best turkeys I have eaten are ones that are roasted in part or spatchcocked. I really don't understand what the whole hubub is about roasting it whole, it looks pretty but you can't eat a pretty picture and nobody carves at the table anymore.

You should've gone with your instincts and slow roasted that thing the way you wanted to. You got talked out of it! There is no way a turkey can be good in a 400 oven I'm sorry.

This is why I make ham. No matter what happens to the bird there is always ham.

I'm onboard with all these comments except the ham for Thanksgiving. Heresy!

Not intending to gloat but had a wonderful turkey that was roasted whole and unstaffed at 325 degF. Both meats cooked and juicy. Almost like a miracle but I'm thinking it's the size that may have something to do with it. Usually do small birds with success. Big birds go dry. This year was tiny - 10lb. The only change I made was carving at the table... And what a pain in the neck that was.
 
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I'm onboard with all these comments except the ham for Thanksgiving. Heresy!
 
Ham has been accompanying our T-day turkey ever since I was a kid.  I know many families who do this, I don't know what's so heretical about that so calm down.  People eat what they want to eat, why people get bent so out of shape over food I'll never understand.
 
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There is no way a turkey can be good in a 400 oven I'm sorry.
It is too bad you weren't there to stand in front of my restaurant and warn people before they went in and paid good money for turkey that wasn't any good because it was roasted at 475. Quite a few of the guests really needed your advice because they kept returning in subsequent years and were still too polite to complain, instead, they kept insisting it was wonderful. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif
 
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     There's certainly a difference between using high heat Vs low heat methods for proteins, birds included.  You have to remember that roasting is a dry heat method and that certainly effects the way the meat is cooked, even without the additional task of breaking down the fat and connective tissue.  If you are looking to break down fat and connective tissue, the 325f we're talking about is too high in nearly all instances.

    I've found that sous vide works incredibly well on turkey breast.  But you cannot deny the benefits that a well roasted turkey offers as well.  For a 12lb turkey I remove the entire breast, ribcage and all, from the bottom of the bird (place the breast in the fridge).  I'll dry, season, rub down as I see fit...then cook at 325f. for a total of 3 1/4 - 3 1/2 hours...to a temp of 175f-178f.  Basting along the way.  I'll prepare the rib cage/breast meat to go in the oven 1 hour after the dark meat has started cooking.  Prepare the same way...dry, season, rub down, place butter and herbs under the breast skin if you like, continue to baste as it's cooking.  Then roast for the remaining 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 hours until done to temperature of your liking 160/162f being the top.  

    I've had way better results roasting turkey with this method than whole roasting with various methods.  Plus, the skin turns out wonderful on the dark meat as well as on the breasts...but more importantly the meat comes out wonderfully juicy and correctly broken down, on the dark meat.  
 
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It is too bad you weren't there to stand in front of my restaurant and warn people before they went in and paid good money for turkey that wasn't any good because it was roasted at 475. Quite a few of the guests really needed your advice because they kept returning in subsequent years and were still too polite to complain, instead, they kept insisting it was wonderful. :eek:
There is a difference between a restaurant and a home cook. This method obviously yielded an unwanted result for French Fries. But restaurants can do things that a home cook cannot do. I wouldn't attempt a high roasted turkey at home, this is why I go to restaurants to enjoy the talents of people more capable than myself.

Who moderates moderators? That level of cutting sarcasm is a little hurtful to be honest.
 
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Ham has been accompanying our T-day turkey ever since I was a kid.  I know many families who do this, I don't know what's so heretical about that so calm down.  People eat what they want to eat, why people get bent so out of shape over food I'll never understand.

Ummm, errrrr.... I was kidding you. Perhaps you can calm down since only one of us is bent out of shape. Have a nice day day.

One of my favorite uncles does 2 meats for Thanksgiving also. Half of his family don't care for turkey. So I've seen that before too.
 
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I'm thinking it's the size that may have something to do with it. Usually do small birds with success. Big birds go dry.
The more I think about it, the more I come to the same conclusion. After all, I don't remember my mum having any trouble roasting a whole stuffed turkey every Xmas... but then again the turkey was probably in the 6 or 7 lbs range. 

Well this one was organic, this may have played some role into it too, perhaps organic free range birds are less fatty than factory birds, and therefore dry out quicker. 

Last year I roasted a capon and it came out dry too. I thought it was impossible for a capon to end up dry!

Oh well I think next year I won't host. I'll get invited and make and bring my stuffing. 
@French Fries don't be too disappointed, I think turkey is generally a disappointing bird to begin with. The best turkeys I have eaten are ones that are roasted in part or spatchcocked. I really don't understand what the whole hubub is about roasting it whole, it looks pretty but you can't eat a pretty picture and nobody carves at the table anymore.
Thanks Kouk'!

For me it's a tradition thing. I'm just trying to replicate something that I've had for every Xmas when I was a kid. There's something festive about a beautiful golden brown roasted whole bird. But I think you're right, when the only person to actually see that is the cook, and the meat ends up dry, what's the point. 

I won't give up the idea of roasting a whole bird, but will probably try to keep it under 10 lbs. 

Now I'm using the leftovers to make turkey broth for tonight... 
 
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Who moderates moderators? That level of cutting sarcasm is a little hurtful to be honest.
I felt that my toes were stepped on. After considerable thought, I responded in a manner that I felt was semi tongue in cheek but without discounting the wound to my pride that your post inflicted on me.

My goal was to highlight the power of the keyboard and to make people think about the manner of their responses to other people's experiences before typing. In my attempt to point out what I viewed as denigration, I evidently fell victim to the very thing that I was attempting to convey, for that I apologize.
 
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