I was given a 21-pound turkey at Thanksgiving. Around the new year, I roasted it. (Yes, I ate turkey for weeks!) This is actually the second time I followed the kitchn's easy steps. (I love the kitchn!) I know that these posts were intended to document my first attempts, but the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving feast is a bit daunting, so having successfully cooked a turkey twice now, I feel confident in doing it all subsequent times.
I am even more confident because something went wrong and I managed to overcome this obstacle and save the bird. You see, like my first time, I purchased one of those throw-away pans at the grocery store. Likely in moving the pan, I happened to puncture a small hole in the bottom. As a result, the chicken broth leaked out, burning on the bottom of my oven, filling my apartment with a burnt smell. I put the pan on a baking sheet and refilled the roasting pan with water, which also drained out until enough fat sealed the hole, I suppose. Eventually, (a little too much) water stayed in.
While basting over the hours, I tried to pull the turkey out of the oven each time so the heat would not escape from the oven with its door open. But with a flimsy pan sans handles, holding a heavy 21-pound turkey over a hot oven was definitely a struggle. I am a very determined gal, so I managed to lift and sit it on the burners a couple of times and didn't even throw it on the kitchen floor. Needless to say, I soon gave up, pulled the rack out just a bit and basted the bird within the oven. After thawing, this recipe took me like about seven hours from start to finish.
It looks a little more red in the picture than what I remember in real life.
Finally, a finished meal.
At my first sitting, I served the turkey with fresh green beans, Stovetop stuffing and sweetened iced tea. It was delicious.
Next time, I may tweak this simple recipe, adding herbs for flavor or trying to brine it for juicier meat.
I pinned this sturdy roasting pan with handles from Crate & Barrel and plan to purchase it prior to roasting another turkey next fall or winter. This is another great outcome from this cooking commitment; it forces me to add ingredients and supplies to my home, so that I may handle anything I wish to do down the road.
In the future, I wouldn't mind hosting a big family dinner like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. You know me, I love to entertain, but am only used to doing so on a small scale.
2 cups chicken broth (or water)
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
salt and pepper
salt and pepper
1. Thaw the turkey for days in the refrigerator.
2. Sit the turkey in the pan on the kitchen counter for at least 30 minutes, more like an hour.
3. Remove packaging and bag of giblets.
4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Position an oven rack at the bottom third of the oven.
5. Add salt and pepper to the turkey.
6. Add two cups of broth or water to the pan.
7. Put the turkey in the oven breast-side up and lower the temperature to 350.
8. Cook for 13 minutes per pound. I roasted my 21-pound turkey for 4 1/2 hours, not including time to baste. I set the timer for 45 minutes after each basting.
9. Baste the turkey every 45 minutes. Spoon the pan's liquid over the bird.
10. At the last basting, spoon melted butter over bird to brown.
11. Check to see if the meat is at least 165 degrees F with a thermometer.
12. Take the turkey out of the oven and tent with aluminium foil. Rest for at least 30 minutes.
13. Carve the turkey.
14. Plate the first meal. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and freezer.
15. Finally, enjoy!