If you don’t have your heart set on a Norman Rockwell-esque golden brown bird on the dinner table this Thanksgiving, you may want to try roasting your turkey upside down – it’s a secret cooks have used for generations to enlist gravity to do much of the basting for them. The idea is that the turkey breast tends to dry out, and if they are in the bottom of the pan, underneath the rest of the bird, the turkey juices will run down through the meat into the breast as it cooks. Because it sits in the roasting pan breast-side down it won’t look perfect when it comes out of the oven, but really – you’re going to slice it anyway, right? And the resulting meat is moist, juicy and fantastic.
Really, the only difference here is that you put the bird into your roasting pan upside down – prep, stuff and truss (if you like) it as you normally would, and the cooking times and temperatures stay the same. Some people start their birds upside down and then flip them halfway through – this is an option if you want to crisp up the breast skin and have it look a little better than if it spent its entire cooking time upside down – but it can be awkward to flip a hot turkey in the middle of its cooking time! You’ll need help, and oven mitts.
For more information, plenty of great home cooks have posted photos and instructions on how they cook their Thanksgiving turkeys upside-down.
See? Everyone’s doing it!
Elise from Simply Recipes shares her Mom’s Turkey Recipe, how to prepare and roast it – upside down.
On Chowhound there’s a great conversation going about cooking turkeys upside-down.
The Good Food Channel tells you how to make the most of your roasting time by cooking your turkey upside down.
The Sunday Times is rather nonchalant about cooking turkey upside down – it’s just subtly in there with the rest of the instructions on how to roast a turkey.
Serious Eats shares the Roasted Brined Turkey Recipe from Cooks Illustrated – which just happens to be roasted upside-down.