Thanksgiving is one of our premiere holidays. Families gather around a table to share great food and create great memories. The focal point of all this is the Thanksgiving turkey, and there are many ways to cook it.
One such way is to use an oven bag. This method creates a moist, delicate bird and is self-basting. On top of that, it gets the job done more quickly by relieving you of having to open the oven over and over again to check on it, which lets out heat and prolongs the cooking process. Here's how to apply this efficient cooking method to your turkey this Thanksgiving.
Step 1—Prepare the Bird
When working with poultry, you should always run water over it and then pat it dry with a paper towel. This prevents salmonella. Also, don't forget to reach inside the turkey and remove the baggie that contains its innards. Failure to do so can cause it to melt, which will, at best, ruin the turkey and, at worst, make someone seriously ill. Rub the turkey with butter or olive oil and then season it well.
Step 2—Prepare to Roast
With your bird now dressed and ready to be roasted, take some water and fill the roasting pan to about halfway up the sides. Be sure the pan riser is in place, as the intense heat from the oven can melt certain bags. Preheat the oven to the temperature that you normally roast your turkey.
Step 3—Roast the Turkey in an Oven Bag
Once the oven has warmed up, carefully place the dressed turkey inside the bag, close it with the ties provided, and place it on the roasting-pan riser. Cover the roasting pan with the lid, but make sure the exhaust holes are closed so the steam stays inside the pan, helping to heat the bird.
Place the roasting pan inside the oven on the center oven rack. Close the oven door and set the timer for three hours. During this time, try your best not to open the oven door. As mentioned earlier, when you roast a turkey in a bag, it bastes itself and cooks relatively quickly. It takes about as long as roasting it in a convection oven.
Step 4—Removing the Turkey
Before you remove the turkey from the oven, stick a meat thermometer into the breast section. Once the temperature is 180–185 degrees, turn off the oven and remove the roasting pan. Keep the lid on and let the bird rest for 15 minutes. This allows the juices to settle for a nice, moist bird. Once the resting period is over, simply cut the bag, take the turkey out, and transfer it to a serving plate.