How to Roast a Turkey - Roast a Turkey Video
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Video:How to Roast a Turkey

with Gretchen Siegchrist

Whether you're preparing for a big holiday or you just want a tasty turkey dinner, learning how to roast a turkey takes time and practice. Learn how to roast a turkey from start to finish.See Transcript

Transcript:How to Roast a Turkey

Hi, I am Gretchen Siegchrist for Food and I am going to show you how to roast a turkey. It is a holiday classic that you can enjoy any time of the year.

Buying a Turkey

Let us begin by talking about how to buy a turkey. You should anticipate about one pound per person. I prefer the natural turkeys over the basted ones. Basted turkeys can be fine, but often contain artificial ingredients that you would prefer to avoid.

Prepare and Brine the Turkey

Begin by removing the insides from the turkey. You can keep these for making gravy, if you would like, or you can just get rid of them. Next, rinse the turkey inside and out. Dry it with paper towels. We are going to brine our turkey so that it is extra juicy. This basically consists of just soaking it in salt water. You will need a large stockpot or clean bucket with a cover. The generally proportion is one cup of salt per gallon of water. Mix the salt and water, add the turkey, cover the pot and leave it in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. When the brining is done, remove the turkey, rinse it again, and dry it. I do not recommend stuffing the turkey, but you can add some flavor and aroma to the meat and gravy by filling the cavity of the bird with spices and vegetables, such as carrots and onions.

Roasting the Turkey

At this point, preheat the oven to 325 degrees, with a cooking rack set at the lowest level. We are going to coat the turkey with melted butter to make the skin crisp and delicious. I recommend cooking the turkey with the breast side down. This is unorthodox, and you do not get the crispy skin on the top, but it keeps the meat moist and delicious. Add some water, about half a cup, to the bottom of the pan. We are going to cook the turkey like this for about 2 hours. Baste it every 45 minutes or so, either with the drippings from the bottom of the pan, or with melted butter.

Flipping the Turkey

After 2 hours, we will flip the turkey and let it finish cooking, breast-side up. This will get the skin on the top nice and crispy. Flipping the bird may seem complicated, but as long as it is not too big it should not be a problem. Using paper towels grip the bird at both ends and gently flip it over. Now, put it back in the oven so that it can finish its cooking. Depending on the size of the bird, this will take between half an hour, and 2 hours.

Finish Roasting the Turkey

To test the bird for doneness, place a meat thermometer in the deepest part of the thigh. When it reads about 175, you know the bird is done. Let it stand for at least 20 minutes, but up to 45 minutes before carving.

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