Turkey Talk

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Photo by Sarah Plfug (this post contains an affiliate link)

Ever since I started hosting Thanksgiving dinner many years ago, I have been on a quest to make the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. I’ve brined it, deep-fried it, marinated it, injected it, buttered it, dry-rubbed it, butterflied it, and stuffed it. I’ve tried Kosher turkeys, organic turkeys, free-range turkeys and self-basting turkeys. A few years ago, I even bought an oil-less outdoor propane turkey fryer called “The Big Easy,” which freed up my oven and actually made a wonderfully crisp-skinned and juicy turkey. (If you want to spend $115 on a large piece of equipment that will likely sit in storage collecting cobwebs 364 days a year, I highly recommend it!)

From all this fussing with turkeys, I’ve come to realize that my turkey will never be perfect. Let’s face it: turkeys, on their own, just aren’t very good. That’s what gravy and cranberry sauce are for. As Mary Risley from Tante Marie’s Cooking School humorously points out in the video below (which you should definitely watch, especially if you have any turkey-cooking anxiety), “I have never had an outstanding turkey.”

(Viewer discretion advised — this funny video contains some foul language)

 

Short of purchasing a special turkey cooker (this is the one I have), it is near impossible to cook a turkey perfectly: the white meat always cooks before the dark meat is done and the skin on the bottom is never crisp (unless you flip the hot, sputtering bird mid-way through cooking – ummm, no thank you).

So is it really worth it to go to great lengths – brining in big coolers for days in the garage, risking life and limb deep-frying in the driveway, pre-icing the breast of the turkey so it cooks more slowly (I swear, there’s a very respectable cooking magazine that wants you to do this) – to make that end-all and be-all turkey?

It’s up to you, but I’m not interested in babysitting my turkey for three days to get only marginally better results at the end.

My advice to you on Thanksgiving is to keep it simple. Make my easy roast turkey with an over-the-top delicious gravy and some cranberry sauce to go with it. Focus your time and creativity on the side dishes and desserts because that’s what everyone really looks forward to anyway.

My favorite turkey recipe uses the high-heat roasting method. It requires no brining or stuffing, fancy seasoning, trussing, or injecting. It’s just a plain ol’ turkey seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in a 450°F-oven until the skin is crispy and brown and the meat is juicy. From all my turkey travails, I can tell you that this simple high-heat roasting method is the absolute best way to cook a turkey.

And, believe it or not, the turkey cooks in 1 to 1-1/2 hours. I know it sounds impossible if you’ve been waking up early for the last twenty years to slow-cook your turkey but I promise you it works. The turkey is cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F in the oven (not the 175°F to 180°F many recipes recommend) and comes up to 165°F (the USDA recommended safe temperature for turkey) while it rests.

Finally, keep in mind, while the high-heat method results in a juicy, crisp-skinned turkey, it will still taste like turkey! The gravy and cranberry sauce are what make it taste good.

A Few Final Thoughts on Turkey

 
– Depending on where you buy your turkey, you might be presented with several options like Organic, All-Natural, Kosher or Self-Basting. I like Kosher turkeys best but they can be expensive and hard to find. I’ve also had good results with Whole Foods’ turkeys. (If you want to read more about the different types of turkeys, click here.)

– Most turkey recipes will advise you to save the turkey giblets to make turkey stock and gravy. It’s a good idea but, to be honest, I never bother – there’s too much other cooking to do on Thanksgiving. The drippings from the roasted turkey will give you plenty of flavor for your gravy, and you can use store bought chicken broth for the rest. Keep it simple!

– No matter how you cook your turkey, leave it un-trussed (don’t tie the legs together) – it’s easier and the turkey will cook more evenly. Many turkeys come with a plastic binder that holds the legs together; just cut it off. Or sometimes the skin is pulled around the legs to hold them together; you can cut that off as well.

– Don’t go crazy trying to flavor your turkey with herbs and spices. Salt, pepper and oil the skin and you’re good to go. Anything else is unnecessary and gets overshadowed by the gravy and all the side dishes anyway.

– Don’t worry about basting the bird; it’s not necessary and let’s heat out of the oven, which increases the cooking time.

– Don’t stuff your turkey – it will cook faster and you won’t have to worry about giving your guests salmonella. Plus, your stuffing will be mushy if you cook it inside the bird. Why have soggy stuffing when you can bake it separately in the oven and have it crisp and toasty on top?

Hope my turkey travails help turn your turkey into a success! Click here to get the recipe for my Easy Roast Turkey With Gravy

Reviews & Comments

  • Hi. We ordered a 16 lb turkey for xmas eve dinner (yes, way to big for 6 ppl!!! Ah!). Could you tell me if your Easy High-Heat Roast Turkey recipe can be modified because your recipe calls for 11-14 lbs.
    thanks so much

    • — STACY FOOTE on December 19, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Stacy, I think you could get away with a 16-lb turkey here. Just reduce the heat to 425°F. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • I’ve got a 26lb turkey. Can I use the the high heat method? suggestions?

    • — Andrew Paul Zakrzewski on November 25, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Andrew, I don’t recommend it for a 26-lb turkey — it will fill your kitchen with smoke. I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on November 25, 2020
      • Reply
      • I was planning to cook in an outdoor setting so smoke would not be an issue. I was wondering if the high temp cooking would still work for this size turkey. Suggestions?

        • — Andrew Paul Zakrzewski on November 26, 2020
        • Reply
        • Honestly, I still think it’s too big. I probably wouldn’t attempt it for a turkey over 20 lbs.

          • — Jenn on November 26, 2020
          • Reply
          • Thanks!

            • — Andrew Paul Zakrzewski on November 26, 2020
  • I only have a dark (non stick surface) roasting pan. Will it work with the high heat roasting method? Your instructions say not to use a dark pan or disposable foil pan. Those are my only 2 options. Thank you!

    • — Amy on November 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Amy, Unfortunately, those pans won’t work with the high-heat method — I’m sorry! I’d go with a recipe like this instead.

      • — Jenn on November 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    So we are going to make a turkey on Thanksgiving, of course your recipe. I want to make one ahead of time, day before maybe, any easy/best way to warm the entire turkey?

    • — Elizabeth Chiapperino on November 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth, I would roast and carve the turkey ahead of time. Pour a thin layer of the gravy into an ovenproof serving platter. Arrange the carved turkey nicely on top of the gravy; cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days. Refrigerate the remaining gravy in a separate container. To reheat: remove the plastic wrap and cover the platter with aluminum foil. Place in a 325°F-oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the turkey is hot. Reheat the gravy in the microwave or on the stovetop.

      • — Jenn on November 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • So it’s just me and my husband this year for Thanksgiving and I bought a bone-in 8lb turkey breast. I’m trying to find the best way to prepare it/cook it as this is literally the first time I’ve ever done this…I like the high heat idea and I think I’ll try that but I’m worried Ill leave it in too long or something…do you have any suggestions?

    • — Amanda W. on November 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Amanda, To take out any guesswork, your best bet will be to use an instant-read or remote thermometer and remove the turkey from the oven when the temperature reaches 160°F. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Thanks for the Turkey talk article as I definitely have some turkey anxiety right now. I’m hosting a small Thanksgiving this year and I’ve never roasted a turkey before. I was considering buying a whole roasted turkey from Whole Foods after reading your Pro Tips on holiday cooking from your cookbook. Now I’m not sure. This actually sounds doable. What do you think about buying a turkey from Whole Foods? Do you know if they reheat well and what that process is like? If I make most of the sides ahead and the turkey only takes 1.5hours or so, that could actually be a stress free day right? I’m on the fence.

    • — Adrienne on November 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Adrienne, I honestly wouldn’t hesitate to buy the roasted turkey from Whole Foods. I often make my turkey ahead of time, carve it, and reheat it before serving — and a turkey from Whole Foods is going to be just as good as one you’d make at home. Keep it simple and enjoy the day!

      • — Jenn on November 11, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jenn, that settles it 🙂 What about the gravy? Buy that from Whole Foods as well?

        • — Adrienne Trumpower on November 11, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Adrienne, I make my own gravy, but I bet Whole Foods has a good one too. 🙂

          • — Jenn on November 11, 2020
          • Reply
      • Dear Jenn,
        I’m hosting 12 of us in all 9 of which are adult appetites. That with six kids running around. I’ve mastered T-day living abroad pretty well after six years, sourcing ingreds, buying the most expensive Turkey ever each time that’s out for Xmas. I don’t have a leave-in therm, will the high heat still work? I’m intrigued by your high heat method. Also, you caught me above in the comment with saying you make your Turkey the DAY BEFORE! Would you explain more how that works? It’s not tough and stringy reheated? That is such a tempting idea! 🙂
        Thank you!

        • — StephDownUnder on November 18, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Steph, You can still use the high heat method but just use the timing guidelines in the recipe and then check it with an instant-read thermometer. And I don’t find the turkey to be tough when it’s reheated so if you’re tempted, I would definitely suggest it!

          • — Jenn on November 19, 2020
          • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I have been truly enjoying so many of your recipes, in fact I’m eating a blueberry muffin with my coffee right now! And your soup recipes – yum! I’m soooo happy you posted this turkey talk information. I seriously stress way too much about the turkey every year, for exactly the reasons you’ve listed. I consider myself a pretty darn good cook, but I have been defeated by a stupid, dead bird in my own kitchen several years now. Well no more!!
    Thank you!

    • — Suzette Perez on November 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Happy Thanksgiving to you! For the folks out there that don’t need a whole turkey and a turkey breast will do, can you suggest a cooking strategy for this?

    Thank you.
    Lauri

    • — lauri selib on November 25, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Lauri, I’d cook it the same way; the cooking time will be different though — it’s hard to say how long it will take as it really depends on the size, but your best bet will be to use an instant-read thermometer and remove the turkey from the oven when the temperature reaches 160°F. Happy Thanksgiving!

      • — Jenn on November 25, 2019
      • Reply
  • Thank you…had a few belly laughs reading this. Happy Thanksgiving!🦃

    • — Angela on November 23, 2019
    • Reply
  • You are hilarious! Thanks for the sensible, humorous advice. Have a great [email protected]

    • — Eileen on November 23, 2019
    • Reply
  • What size roasting pan is best for 16 pound turkey
    [email protected]

    • — FALCONER NINI on November 22, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Nini, You’ll need a 13 x 16 x 3-inch roasting pan. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 22, 2019
      • Reply
  • I don’t feel the need to serve and present a whole turkey. I’d rather have good tasting, tender meat. I’ve been cooking turkey parts for several years. Do the legs and thighs separately from the breast. That solves the problem of dry white meat. I also have brined and smoked the breast with very good luck. I like my dark meat at almost 185 and the breast at no more than 165. Enjoy your Thanksgiving everyone!!

    • — Mary on November 21, 2019
    • Reply
  • This is the best Thanksgiving advice on the internet! We started going to the beach for the week of Thanksgiving and have a very minimal T-Day dinner. We have been cooking our turkey like this for years and makes the holiday much more enjoyable when one part of it is easy, quick and works consistently.

    • — Kim on November 21, 2019
    • Reply
  • Do you think this would work for a 15 lb turkey breast (no dark meat)

    • — Pam on November 12, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Pam, I haven’t tried this with a turkey breast, but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out if you make it!

      • — Jenn on November 12, 2019
      • Reply
    • I quit buying turkeys….I roast chickens instead! My family LOVES this and specifically asks I do that each year instead. A lot easier to handle and just tastes better!!

      • — Cynthia on November 21, 2019
      • Reply
      • Us too! we happily gave up turkey a few tdays ago. This year we are doing a chicken and pork tenderloin

        • — Sarita Singh on November 25, 2019
        • Reply
  • Hi
    I would really like to try this method of cooking a turkey and was wondering if you think a stainless steel roaster with just an ordinary flat rack would work or would you need a V rack?

    • — Lesley on May 8, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Lesley, A V-rack is ideal for roasting birds but I don’t think it’s worth it to go out and get one just for this one recipe. I’d go with your flat rack. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 9, 2019
      • Reply
  • Any lil spills in the oven during cooking, pull the rack out a lil and sprinkle amply baking soda all over the spill….

    Goes right to work and soaks it up….when oven is cool, metal or plastiv spatula turner and scoop I up. Threat is gone.

    • Elise…..ohhhhhh my goodness. I forgot my mom always did that. Would have saved me many times in cooking over the years. Thank you thank you Elise!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I love all your recipes ! I am thinking of trying your method this year. I usually brine my turkey but this year I have a 28 pound turkey! Can I use this method with that large of a bird. Can you tell me how long i would cook it.

    • — Mariellen H Etter
    • Reply
    • Glad you like the recipes, Mariellen! This method works best for smaller turkeys because of the smoke issue but it’s doable with a 28-lb turkey if your oven is VERY clean and you use the right type of roasting pan. Also, be sure that no parts of the bird extend beyond the rim of the pan. (If any parts extend beyond the roasting pan, the drippings will cause a LOT of smoke.) And if it starts to get too dark on the top toward the end, just cover it with foil. I’d guesstimate the cook time for a 28-lb turkey would be about 2.5+ hours (but your best bet is to rely on the meat thermometer – you’ll remove the turkey from the oven when the temperature reaches 160°F). Hope that helps and please let me know how it turns out!

      • Is it by okay if I use butter as well on top no of the Turkey and inside the skin? Or will it cause high smoke issues?

        • — Grace on November 28, 2019
        • Reply
        • Hi Grace, You’ll get smoke with butter. Sorry!

          • — Jenn on November 28, 2019
          • Reply
  • 5 stars!! I couldnt get the stars to enable…I did this technique last year with great success on a 14# bird. (FYI I also have your cookbook and have made many of your online recipes with yummy results) Anyhow, no smoke and was very easy although I poured over the reviews the days leading to cook time to ensure I would do it correctly. So, this year my workplace provided us with a 20# turkey and I know there is a risk of smoke. I was going to have a foil triangle ready to cover the bird if necessary and have my iven mostly spotless. We received the turkey just 2 days ago and I stuck it in the fridge promptly. I had hoped to cook it Wednesday but I doubt that it will be thawed. My question, I guess, is if it’s still slightly frozen, will this method still work? I’m afraid I already know my answer but might as well ask the expert. I can cook it Thursday if I have to but was hoping to have all the mess over and done with the day before.

    • Hi Holly, I don’t think I’d try it if the turkey is still partially frozen. Sorry! You could always thaw it in cold water — it’s kind of a pain but it will speed things up. This link explains how. Hope that helps and Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Hi Jenn – I’ve tried high-heat Turkey’s before but the recipe I used previously involved physically rotating the bird (cooking with the back up, then flipping the bird so the breast-side is eventuallly up). Anyhow, I’m looking forward to trying your simpler approach.
    One question – would your high-heat recipe work well with a brined the bird. I know some think it’s not worth the hassle, but I have a brine recipe that I’m also keen to try. Anyhow, I’d appreciate your thoughts. Thanks again for all the great recipes and weekly email inspirations. By the way, I’m loving your cookbook 🙂

    • Hi Chris, Yes, it’s fine to use a brined bird. So glad you like the book! 🙂

    • Hi Jenn,
      Thanks for the reminder to keep it simple. That video was HI-larious. Seriously. You bring light to the fact that we all take the darn turkey too seriously. It really is the sides that make the dinner. Thanks for your real world wisdom. Im barbequing my bird so my kitchen won’t be 500 degrees by suppertime. Lol . Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and thanks for all of the wonderful recipes.

      • — Becky on November 28, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I have always cooked a turkey in a plastic bag – partially to keep it moist and partially to keep my oven clean. If using a plastic bag, how would you adjust this recipe, it at all or would you just not recommend using a plastic bag.

    My niece cooked a turkey today using this recipe and said it turned out delicious. I’m all for making things easy.

    • Hi Kelley, I wouldn’t use the plastic bag with the high-heat method. I’d love to know how your turkey turns out!

      • We are originally from New Orleans and love our propane Big Easy. Where can I find your Big Easy recipes?
        What is the name of your book and is it available on Amazon

        • — Alice Abraham on November 7, 2019
        • Reply
        • Hi Alice, I actually don’t have a turkey recipe intended for the Big Easy but would treat it the same way (with salt pepper and olive oil) as my roast turkey. I think you can probably look online and find the Big Easy‘s method for cooking a turkey. And here is a link to my cookbook on Amazon – thanks for inquiring! ❤️

          • — Jenn on November 8, 2019
          • Reply
        • Hi Jenn,
          Love your recipes and cookbook. I can’t tell you how many loaves of cinnamon bread I’ve given to happy friends and family. And the Challah too! You’ve cured me of my fear of yeast 🙂
          Regarding your method of cooking the turkey: I stuff mine with a traditional Italian stuffing made with cooked ground pork, walnuts, pecorino Romano and eggs. The mixture is cooled then packed into the bird. The only things raw are the eggs. Do you think you’re high temp method would work?
          Thanks,
          Julie
          P.S. your chicken Marsala recipe is fabulous !!

          • — Julie McConnell on November 21, 2019
          • Reply
          • Hi Julie, So glad you like the recipes! While I don’t love putting stuffing inside the turkey because I find that it comes out too moist, I think using the method that you mentioned should work. Hope everyone enjoys and happy Thanksgiving!

            • — Jenn on November 21, 2019
  • Hi Jenn, thanks so much for your article and suggestions. I’ve been using the lower-heat method for many years now, but I think I will try it this way this year. We like our turkey stuffed, as well. Okay to stuff it at this high heat? Do you think it would make it less soft (I eventually combine the softer stuff with just baked stuffing)? I will check out your gravy recipe too. I’m never 100% satisfied with how mine turns out. By the way, I’ve tried a number of your recipes and everything has been fantastic – thank you!

    • Hi Ilona, Unfortunately, this method only works with an unstuffed bird. Sorry! Glad you are enjoying the recipes. 🙂

  • interesting turkey cooking recommendation i wiil have to try using the oven again sometime. i pre bought your book of recipes and I am a big fan. couldnt agree more about cooking the perfect bird lots of gravy is always helpful.you mentioned the “big easy”grill which has worked well for me for years and still does .a few years ago Charbroil added smoker and grilling options to their oil less turkey fryer so now i use it for all kinds of things all the time and not just sit aroung and collect dust..
    TW

  • I wonder if this would work on my outside grill?

    • Hi Lisa, I’m sorry – I wouldn’t recommend it. I think the outside of the turkey would burn before the inside is cooked through.

  • Simple – Common sense – Fantastic!
    Thanks Jenn, it is supposed to be fun 🙂

  • I thoroughly enjoyed your turkey segment! Thank you!

  • Haven’t tried the recipe yet…You mention”high heat” but neither here nor in the actual recipe do I see an oven temperature. Is it 400? 450? Please enlighten me. I’m sorry if I’m just blind and didn’t see it!

    • Hi Annie – It’s 450°F. You can find the complete recipe here.

  • Thanks for the tip about cooking at high temps. I have done the family turkey dinner for many many years and have never tried that before. So, this year I will try it out. Also, you are spot on about keeping it simple and putting your effort into gravy and side dishes. Been doing about what you described for many years, but I do like my stuffing in the bird.

    One other thing I always do is keep some turkey broth from the previous turkey in my freezer for the next time, so I will have plenty of that homemade turkey bone broth for extra gravy and to add to my stuffing. I do turkey four or five times a year though so always have that broth along with homemade chicken bone broth too….

  • Love this and the hilarious video. I’ve Been brining and it’s a pain. But am I dense? I don’t see the actual recipe. Or am I to deduce it from the article? Do I put it on a rack?
    Thanks so much I love your style and your recipes. As does my husband and everyone I’ve turned on to you. So thank you Belinda

    • Ha! Sorry about that, Belinda – I was editing that post and changing the links when you were looking at it. I’ve added the link to the recipe. You can find it here. Glad you and your husband like the recipes! 🙂

  • Hi Jenn,
    I actually have purchased the Big easy on your recommendation. Could you please post a recipe or instructions for what you did? I’ve ordered an organic bird and am a turkey novice. Do I marinate, inject, etc? Thanks so much; I love your recipes!

    • Hi Lauren – You will love the Big Easy! I keep it super simple, as I don’t believe fussing too much with a turkey is worth it. I rub the bird with olive and sprinkle with lots of salt and pepper and that is it! Be sure to make a good gravy and add any drippings from the turkey to it (you won’t have a ton of drippings using the Big Easy but there will be some).

  • I’ve been trying some of your recipes this past year and they’re delicious.
    In the past I’ve used brine, then smoked and it’s delicious but takes a few days. This year I used a “Big Easy” and it was simple. I used cajun seasoning and the 15 lb. turkey looked and tasted like a fried Turkey.
    The video made me laugh, thanks I needed that!

  • Well Jenn, you have done it again. I cooked a 24 pound turkey for Thanksgiving using your method and that turkey cooked in 2-1/2 hours to perfection. Family said it was the juiciest they have had AND it was a $.39 per pound, store brand bird! You never fail. Thanks again for sharing your tips and talent!

  • My husband and I used this method with a 14.25 lb turkey and it was delicious – very moist with a crispy skin. I thoroughly cleaned my oven beforehand and my house is new so the inside really was spotless, but it still smoked a little (vent hood helped). Regardless, I will make it again this way. So incredibly easy! It was our first time making a turkey so we were thrilled with the results. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

    • Oh! And I used the pan drippings to make your gravy – perfect and delicious!

  • This is so very late so I don’t know you’ll get this in time for tomorrow morning, but do you know how the high heat method would compare to using a true convention oven? Since I’m cooking a 17 lb. turkey, I’m wondering if that would be a better choice, and how high a temp/cooking time would be used in a convection oven? Many thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Good morning, Lena! I don’t recommend the high heat method for a 17-lb turkey; it’s best for smaller birds in the 10-12 lb range. Larger birds cause a lot of smoke.

  • Hi Jenn – I’m a huge fan of your blog and have made probably half of your recipes with consistently great results. I tried this turkey method last year, and the turkey was amazing; best turkey we’ve had by far. That said, our house was also filled with smoke and the smoke alarms went off at least 3 times. I did start with a spotless oven, so other than the fact that we use giant turkeys (in the 22lb range), I’m not sure what happened. I want to do it again this year with slightly lower temperature, but am wondering how long it can sit…. i.e., can I make this to be done by 2pm if we want to eat at 6pm? I want the meat to still be delicious and I don’t want to poison any guests….. what are your thoughts?

    • Hi Wendy, So glad you’re enjoying the recipes! The high heat method is supposed to work for all turkeys but I find it’s best suited for birds in the 10-14 lb range. There’s just too much smoke with large birds. I’d definitely reduce the heat by 25°- 50°F — and you can leave the turkey out for 2 hours max. Another option is to make and carve the turkey a day ahead of time, and then reheat before serving. You won’t have the big moment of presenting the turkey at the table, but it sure makes life easier! (And for what it’s worth, that’s what I do.) 🙂

      • Thanks Jenn (I love that you actually reply to your readers!). I think I’ll make it tomorrow morning and reheat then- better to serve it already carved than set the alarms off. How do you reheat yours to keep it moist- the oven? If so, how hot and about how long would you say it takes to reheat?

        • Sounds like a good plan, Wendy. To reheat: preheat your oven to 350°F. Arrange the sliced turkey in a roasting pan, sprinkle with a bit of chicken broth, and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the turkey is hot.

  • Just watched this video – hilarious! I’m bringing the Pinot Noir! Love all your recipes Jenn. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • 1. I’ve tried high-temp roasting on several occasions. They worked OK, but the downside has always been that the drippings burn so badly on the bottom of the pan that they’re not suitable for making pan gravy–one of the most delicious aspects of roasting fowl. I’ve “solved” this problem in the past by adding water to the bottom of the pan, but of course this strongly affects the roasting process. Any comments/suggestions? Also. . .

    2. Any strong reason why I should NOT brine the bird beforehand? Would it make at least a decent amount of difference? Have you ever compared brined and nonbrined turkeys side-by-side using this method? Thanks!

    • Hi Brian, I think it helps to use a smaller roasting pan (one that is no more than 2-inches larger than the bird) — and there’s absolutely no reason not to brine with the high heat method. I’m sure it will taste even better. Check out this recipe by Thomas Keller.

    • I’ve experienced burnt drippings using high heat, too. The problem was the roasting pan – it was made of thin metal. Using a heavy-bottom roasting pan should solve the problem. It may cost a bit more, but the results will be worth it. Plus, you’ll have it for years.

  • Jenn you are fabulous!!! Love your site and CANNOT wait until 4/3/18 . . .
    Im going to use this method for my thanksgiving meal this year but I wondered if this recipe could be used to cook a 6 pound chicken?
    Thanks !
    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah – happy to hear you like the site — thanks so much for your support! Yes, this would work with a chicken. It will cook quite quickly (the recipe indicates that a 10-13 lb. turkey will take 50 to 65 minutes, so this should take substantially less; just keep a close eye on it).

  • Jenn – Thanks for ALL your great recipes! We purchased “The Big Easy” and love it. We will be cooking our first turkey in The Big Easy this Thanksgiving. From your experience, what is the maximum size turkey they can cook in “The Big Easy?”

    • Hi Daisy, I’m not 100% positive but I believe the largest bird it will hold is 16 pounds. I usually cook a 12-14 pound turkey in it with great results. Glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

  • Since November starts holiday anxiety time, I want to sincerely thank you for
    sharing your awesome talents and recipes.
    Wishing you and your family all the best!

  • Finally an easy turkey recipe. I followed the directions and we had one of our best Thanksgiving turkeys ever. I like the high heat, short time, method, and it produced a succulent juicy, tasty turkey.

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