Content of the material
- What to Look For in a Roasting Pan
- What About Turkey Gravy?
- Prepara Silicone Meat Rack
- Cuisipro Roasting Rack
- 2. Air out your turkey
- Is Trussing Necessary?
- Proper Use of a Roasting Rack
- Should you use a rack when cooking a turkey?
- Cleaning your turkey rack
- 7 What’s That Rack That Goes Inside My Roasting Pan and Do I Need It?
- 5. Season your turkey (if necessary)
- 2 Should I Brine My Turkey? Wet Brine or Dry Brine?
- Should I roast my turkey at 325 or 350?
- Resting Time
- Carving Knife
What to Look For in a Roasting Pan
When thinking about what size roasting pan you need, consider what type of food you want to roast. If you like to cook up a gigantic turkey for the holidays, you’ll need a large pan, but if you’re just planning to roast chickens, vegetables, and other smaller dishes, a smaller one may be sufficient. Also, consider how much storage space you have.
Consider the shape and design of a roasting pan before purchasing. A roasting pan that has a raised bottom will be harder to use on the stovetop for preparing sauce and gravy, as liquids will collect around the edges of the pan.
Roasters are made from a variety of materials, and each will cook your foods slightly differently and require different methods of care. You’ll also want to choose something that isn’t too heavy for your needs. Stainless steel cookware is highly durable and offers longevity. Nonstick roasters may be prone to chips and scratches that require more frequent replacement. Certain materials, like cast iron, produce heavier cookware that will require more muscle to move between oven and table. Remember: A heavy roasting pan will only be that much heavier once you place a large piece of meat or turkey in it!
Do you want a lid with your roaster? How about a roasting rack? There are models that come with both, as well as those that are just bare-bones. Also, when looking at a pan, check to see what type of handles it has and if you find them comfortable to use.
What About Turkey Gravy?
Prepara Silicone Meat Rack
The Prepara Silicone Meat Rack is a really interesting twist on a roasting rack. It’s made from heat-resistant silicon. And it looks like something Julius Caesar would wear.
What makes this rack so awesome is its flexibility. It’ll fit any roasting tray, pan, dish, or oven you have.
And you can cook much more than just a bird on it! It’s good for roasting veggies, fish and even that delish beef roast. You can also use it in your microwave, pressure cooker and slow cooker.
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If you’ve checked out the picture and you’re wondering…
“How do you use this thing?”
It’s easy-as-pie to use…
Pick your roasting pan, place the Prepara meat rack into the pan and pop your bird on top. Because this roasting rack is so flexible, it molds into the most effective shape for your pan.
Whatever the shape, round, square, rectangular, this rack will fit snugly.
Not only that…because it’s adjustable, it’ll evenly cook any size turkey.
The silicon is BPA-free, so don’t worry about any toxins seeping into your food. It’s also rated to handle 500 degrees F.
Because it’s all silicon, nothing will stick to it. This is great if you hand wash your dishes. There are no more grubby pieces for you to scrub off after you’re left to clean up the dirty dishes.
And if you’re the dishwasher kind of cook, you’ll like the fact that this rack is safe to pop in your dishwasher too.
You can probably tell, I’m super impressed with this rack. And it’s hard for me to find fault with it. But, nothing in life is perfect.
So it’s worth mentioning that the area of the turkey touching the silicon will brown slower than the rest of the bird.
But, it won’t be raw. And it’s on the underside of the bird. so no one is going to see it. So this isn’t a dealbreaker for me.
Cuisipro Roasting Rack
If you want an affordable alternative to the metal racks we mentioned, give this Cuisipro roasting rack a try. It’s recommended by top cooking outlets, and with its awesome low price point, this is a great buy.
This is a relatively large roasting rack. It fits in a 16 by 13 inch roasting pan and can easily hold a 25 pound turkey. But what really sets this one apart from the crowd is its shape and its convenience features.
It has a basket, or “U” shape, which perfectly cradles your turkey. It’s also made out of very wide set wires and sits on four little legs to raise the turkey above the pan. All of these characteristics allow the fat for the gravy to easily fall into the roasting pan.
One of the most unique features of this rack is the ability to disassemble the rack with the easy removable pin at the bottom. Once this is pulled, the rack easily separates to gently drop the turkey right on the carving or serving platter. It is also nonstick, so no need to worry about the turkey ripping or sticking to it either. This is the epitome of convenience.
Cuisipro’s roasting rack also has ergonomic handles for easy transportation, and folds up neatly for storage when you’re not cooking. The manufacturer recommends that you hand wash the rack, and gives you a guaranteed 25 year warranty. What a great purchase!
2. Air out your turkey
When the time arrives to cook your bird, take the now-thawed turkey out of the fridge and set it on a rack at room temperature for an hour to take the chill off and dry out the skin. (This can be the same rack you plan to roast your turkey on; there’s no need to dirty another dish.) Your roasting rack should allow the bottom of the turkey to sit at or just below the top of the pan). No roasting rack? A heavy-duty cooling rack set inside a half-sheet pan works too.
Is Trussing Necessary?
No, trussing with kitchen twine is not a must. In fact some chefs recommend skipping it so air circulates more evenly around turkey thighs (rather than them being pressed up against the breasts) and it cooks more evenly. If you are going for the look of it then truss, if not, it’s not necessary.
Proper Use of a Roasting Rack
The main purpose of the roasting rack is to allow 2-3 inches of space underneath the roast for air to circulate. This technique is exclusive to roasting meat or a whole turkey. For other types of cooking, where the meat is meant to be cooked in liquids, like marinades or sauces, a rack is unnecessary.
Some cookbooks offer an alternative to using a roasting rack. They usually suggest piling your meat on top of the vegetables to keep it off the bottom of the pan. This is not a proper technique, because air cannot circulate through the vegetables. The meat might not be touching the bottom of the pan, but it’s also not cooking evenly.
Regardless of the size of your pan, the rack you choose should fit the piece of meat you’re roasting. It doesn’t have to fill the entire roasting pan, as long as it holds the meat 2-3 inches off the bottom. Do not fill in the space underneath the rack, or you will defeat the purpose.
Should you use a rack when cooking a turkey?
A. The point of using a rack is to let the heat of the oven circulate around the turkey. You don’t need a specially designed rack for your roasting pan, but you need something to lift the bird above the bottom of the pan. Balls of aluminum foil work perfectly well; you can also use upside-down ramekins.
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Cleaning your turkey rack
All of the options in this guide are dishwasher safe. To make cleanup even easier you can line the pan with aluminum foil. It will catch all the fat and splattering from the baking in the oven, rather than sticking to the pan.
7 What’s That Rack That Goes Inside My Roasting Pan and Do I Need It?
That’s your roasting rack, and yes, you want to make sure the turkey is resting on top of it. That way, the air circulates around the turkey and the juices drip into the roasting pan, which you'll want later for making gravy.
If you don’t have a roasting rack, you can rest the bird on a couple of bricks wrapped in aluminum foil or twist some foil into a thick, coiled spiral.
5. Season your turkey (if necessary)
For a 12- to 14-pound bird, adding 1½ teaspoons each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper in the large cavity and another 1½ teaspoons each over the skin is plenty. For kosher turkeys, which are already salted, there’s no need to salt the cavity, but do salt the skin! If you’ve chosen to brine your bird (via a wet or dry brine) you can skip this final seasoning.
2 Should I Brine My Turkey? Wet Brine or Dry Brine?
Brining a turkey is not necessary, but brining or some kind of pre-salting a day or two in advance of cooking may help to ensure a moist, flavorful turkey.
As to wet or dry brine, it depends. Some prefer wet brining, in which the turkey sits in a salty solution overnight or up to a couple days (depending on your recipe). However, some chefs swear by dry brining, which just means rubbing salt, spices and herbs all over the bird a few days before roasting — no liquid at all.
People will disagree and say that one is better than the other, but really it comes down to personal preference. Both brines are effective at producing a moist, fully seasoned turkey.
Beware! If you have bought a supermarket turkey, many of them are injected with a saline solution, which is the equivalent to pre-brining. Further brining would result in an overly salty bird. Read the label carefully.
Should I roast my turkey at 325 or 350?
Roast the turkey uncovered at a temperature ranging from 325°F to 350°F. Higher temperatures may cause the meat to dry out, but this is preferable to temperatures that are too low which may not allow the interior of the turkey to cook to a safe temperature.
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Roasting is a fairly easy means of preparing a big meal. The oven does most of the work, leaving you free to prepare other parts of the meal or entertain your guests. Simply check the temperature every 20 minutes or so.
After a few hours of cooking, the meat needs to rest before you cut or serve it. About ten to fifteen minutes are needed for the juices to reabsorb into the meat. If you cut it too soon, all of those juices will run out and the meat will become dry.
Keep in mind that your turkey or roast will continue cooking after it’s removed from the oven. A large, dense hunk of meat will hold the heat for quite a while. The heat will continue to seep into the center of the meat throughout the resting time. You should notice at least a 10 degree rise in temperature during this time.
Be sure to account for this final increase in temperature when deciding to take the meat out of the oven. You should take it out when it’s about ten degrees cooler than your optimum temperature. If you’re roasting a turkey that has a pop-up button in it, take the turkey out of the oven before the button pops.
While you turkey is resting, cover it in foil to avoid losing heat too quickly. The plastic button will pop up. If you wait until the button pops to take the turkey out of the oven, it will be over cooked by the time you serve it.
Carving knives should be thin, long and sharp. This is because a carving knife needs to get deep into large cuts of meat (an enormous bird, for instance) and have the ability to slice without destroying the meat. They should be mildly flexible, as the knife needs to give a bit to the curvature of the meat (animals aren’t squares).
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