A couple years ago (and a couple blog posts ago) I made a big ol turkey dinner for Melisa and I and it turned out quite well. I've made some others since then, all in the same method, but over the Christmas to New Years break we had another turkey, and although I prepared and cooked it very similarly, I did do a couple of things differently, which turned out to be quite successful! I thought I'd outline them here for your enjoyment. :)
We had a 12lber this year which was a bit more reasonable for only 2 people (gotta still have copious amounts of leftovers) and it fit into our roaster really well, I definitely think 12 pounds is the magic number. The preparation of the stuffing is all the same as the last post but the turkey was done slightly differently. It still has the salt/pepper/rosemary/paprika rub all over it but we didn't cook the stuffing inside of the turkey. Instead 2 oranges were sliced in half and pushed into the bird as well as a bunch of fresh herbs. Originally I was only going to buy a bunch of fresh rosemary, as opposed to using the dried stuff I already have, but Safeway was selling bundles of fresh herbs specifically for chickens/turkeys over the holidays that included rosemary and a bunch of other delicious smelling greens. Most were shoved into the turkey in all the various spots I could find and the rosemary with the largest stem was used to close up the cavity itself holding the two fat flaps together.
Normally a turkey like this, fully stuffed, would take 5 hours or so in the oven, but things were much quicker this time! The mostly empty cavity let the bird heat up much quicker and as the oranges let off their juices inside of the turkey they effectively steamed it from the inside further speeding things up. After 2 and a half hours the turkey was not only done, it was almost overcooked!
The next step was to take the turkey out of the oven and then out of the roaster and let it rest on the cutting board. The key is to cover it up with tinfoil and to then cover that up with 5 or so dish towels. This effectively traps the heat inside the bird finishing the cooking process, keeping all the juices in the meet, and not letting any heat escape. Apparently you can have a turkey stay fresh, moist, and warm for up to 4 hours like this! The beauty of this method is that with the turkey done you now have an oven you can use for up to 4 hours to prepare sides or anything else you might need. Earlier I had put our stuffing into a smaller roaster and now I let it cook in the oven for an hour and a half or so. After that I carved the turkey, took the stuffing out of the oven, and we ate!
It was a delicious meal and this new method for turkey cooking worked great, the stuffing was still as moist as ever and since we use poultry seasoning in the stuffing I really didn't notice any sort of flavour difference compared to normal. A nice bonus was all of the fat that usually drips out of the turkey and seeps into the stuffing was not there either so it was even a bit healthier! (I make a fairly wet stuffing to begin with so it was still super moist)
Here's a shot of the spread:
Sadly it was taken with a cell phone and I didn't wait for it to focus correctly apparently, I also didn't think to take pictures of the process this time for blog documentation but rest assured, everything tasted great :)