As Thanksgiving approaches, every home magazine features a different way to cook a turkey. Basting, tenting, frying, smoking – the choices are endless. One of the easiest ways to roast a turkey is to use the oven bag method.
Not only does the use of an oven roasting bag trap in moisture, which serves to keep the turkey from drying out, it also allows the bird to be cooked at a higher temperature. This allows the turkey to be cooked in a shorter period of time.
The oven roasting bag creates a moist environment that allows the turkey to self-baste and produces a moist and juicy meat. It is easy to do because the basic method of roasting a turkey remains the same. Another benefit is that there is minimal cleanup from the bag because once the turkey is removed from the bag, it is just thrown away.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of a thawed turkey. Rinse the turkey and pat dry. Brush the turkey with olive oil.
- Place a tablespoon of flour in the oven bag and shake it to coat the inside of the bag. Not only will this flour help the bag from bursting during cooking, it will allow the fats to blend better.
- Place the stuffed or unstuffed turkey in the roasting bag breast side up. Close the bag with the ties provided and cut six slits in the bag to release steam while it cooks.
- Place the bag in the roasting pan and insert a meat thermometer into the thigh of the turkey. Let the bird cook. When the thermometer reaches 180 degrees, the turkey is finished.
- Cut the bag away from the turkey and transfer the bird to a serving platter. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes
The bag does the basting so there is more time to prepare other dishes or just spend time with family and friends. Be aware, however that the skin of a turkey cooked in a roasting bag will not be as crisp.
Salt-Roasted Lemon Spiced Turkey
While this version of the annual favorite takes a little bit more time, it is well worth the work. It is a flavorful and aromatic choice.
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 12 – 16 pound turkey
- 3 lemons, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 oven safe roasting bags
- Mix the 1/3 cup of kosher salt, the two tablespoons oregano, two tablespoons lemon peel, two tablespoons chopped fresh garlic and the one tablespoon black pepper in a small bowl.
- Rinse the thawed turkey with cold running water and pat dry.
- Rub four tablespoons of the mixture on the inside of the bird.
- Place the turkey in an oven safe roasting bag and rub the remains of the salt mixture on the outside of the bird.
- Seal the bag with the enclosed ties and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Put the turkey in the refrigerator and let sit for at least an additional two hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the turkey from the roasting bag and discard the bag.
- Rinse the turkey again and pat dry.
- Combine the lemons, celery, onion, oregano, thyme and salt in a bowl along with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Place the mixture in the turkey.
- Whisk the rest of the oil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Brush the turkey with this mixture.
- Lightly flour the oven bag and slide the turkey in the bag breast side up. Tie the bag with the enclosed ties and place in a shallow roasting pan. Put six slits in the top of the bag.
- Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh. Roast the turkey until the thermometer reaches at least 180 degrees.
- Remove the turkey from the oven. Cut away the bag, remove the lemon mixture from the cavity and discard it all. Place the turkey on a platter and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.