Thanksgiving has past and we’ve officially got a couple of toes into Christmas season. I’m still a little twitchy from Turkey Day, though…
Nothing went spectacularly wrong, but there was a situation.
My turkey got stuck in a time warp.
I had a 10-pound turkey, which I wet brined for 12 hours and then put in a 400°F oven. My plan for roasting this turkey, like it is every year, was to start breast-down to give the thighs a head start, since they take longer to cook. Then, at the 45-minute mark, I flip the bird over and turn the heat down to 350 for the rest of the cooking time.
I try to cook my turkey to 160°F, then let carryover cooking take it up to about 168°F. This usually takes about 2 hours, maybe a little more. But since I generally stick to a 10-pound bird, it works almost like clockwork.
Not this year.
This year the damn bird cooked in about an hour. Which meant the rest of my dinner planning went out the window… now my sides were late, because I thought I had another hour of stovetop time.
So, what happened?
This is the first time I’d made a turkey in this oven. And as it turns out, this oven happens to be very small — the inside is literally a 16″ x 16″ cube. I didn’t account for how close the bird was to the heating element in this tiny oven. *facepalm*
So while the ambient temperature was the same, the radiant heat coming directly from the heating element cooked that bird like he’d been set on a hot grill directly over the flaming coals.
So what did I learn?
First, stop and pay attention. Since I was in such a tizzy over getting everything else ready, I wasn’t paying attention to the turkey in the first 45 minutes. I set the timer and walked away.
Second, don’t leave high-pressure events to chance. Meaning, if you’re planning something in which you know you’ll be behind the 8-ball, test every possible scenario ahead of time. (Meaning, the next time I cook a turkey in this oven, I’ll know the rules of the game.)
So, there you have it. Those two little lapses in judgment nearly cost me a turkey. Thankfully the turkey turned out fine, but I wouldn’t liked the dark meat to cook slower to stay more tender.
I’m also stoked I had my handy meat cooking magnet on the fridge, so that I could check at a glance EXACTLY what temp the turkey was supposed to be at, without me having to stop and remember (likely incorrectly) what temperature I was shooting for.
With another Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to set out sights on yet another holiday! Zoinx. Are you ready?