Most people think of roasting as a tough, strict process that demands more time and effort than cooking a turkey.
Roasting tasty birds is surprisingly easy when you have the right setup so it is weird to think that people find it difficult to roast birds as it could be done by following a few easy steps.
Many methods can be utilized when browning a turkey. One such technique used to brown a turkey is the use of a roaster oven.
After understanding how to roast a turkey in this manner, you will be able to easily brown your bird and make your Thanksgiving dinner something special.
At home, you can use a roaster oven to save time on your Thanksgiving meal and take full advantage of its efficient design.
Cooking the turkey in a roaster oven is as easy as roasting any other type of meat. You just need to watch the heat and time carefully.
The most important part of roasting a turkey breast is to handle the meat gently. Breast meat is naturally the most delicate.
The type of turkey that you are going to roast will determine how the bird is positioned in the roaster oven.
Turkeys that are fifteen pounds or smaller will fit nicely on the rack of a small roaster oven if they are placed bone down.
The rack should be placed so that it comes up to just underneath the breast, allowing plenty of room around the turkey for air and heat circulation.
The Chemistry Behind Browning Bird With Roaster Oven Meat
Browning is a chemical process that gives meat its characteristic color. When meat is cooked, it goes through three distinct stages of browning-
- The first stage, the “raw stage” involves a simple step without flavors or without any added ingredients, in which the meat will become greyish-white in color as it cooks.
- The next stage “seared” commonly called pan seared is in which meat that has been quickly cooked or has been marinated in a flavourful liquid will become brownish-pink in color when the water in the meat evaporates from the heat of the cooking environment.
- The third stage of browning is achieved by adding vegetables, spices, or fats to the surface of the meat. In this stage, the surface will become a deep brown and will be as flavourful as before.
When it comes to turkey breast meat, you can use either salt and pepper (to get an even seasoning) or rub your turkey with a spice mix to help you minimize handling the bird for a longer period.
Some people advocate applying dry rubs to the turkey before cooking but it is unnecessary as it only causes more handling and may hide some natural flavors if not applied precisely.
This browning stage is where most of the moisture in the turkey is extracted. The evaporation of moisture from the skin will cause the skin to tighten up and become harder.
This technique is called “barding”. So when you see “baked with barding” or “barded turkey”, it simply means that the turkey was browned using a thin layer of fat (usually, bacon or salt pork fat).
3 Tricks To Enhance Its Flavour
The following easy tricks could be tried to enhance the food experience with a burst of flavors-
Basting With Sugar And Protein
Basting is a great way to add flavor to the skin of your turkey. The technique of basting with a mixture of liquids and/or fats is pretty simple.
The liquid part can be any type of liquid such as water, broth, or beer. The main ingredients should be sugar and protein solutions such as melted butter or bacon grease with salt added for flavoring.
Some people prefer to use melted bacon fat for basting rather than using pure fat. Bacon drippings are generally discarded after the meat is cooked at high temperatures (e.g., broiling).
But if you plan by saving some bacon drippings and storing them in the freezer, they’re ready when needed later on in the year.
The fats can be melted butter or bacon fat (these should be stored in the freezer). You can also use natural oils such as olive oil and vegetable oils.
The amount of oil used should not alter the taste of your turkey. Some people prefer to add a little fatter to get a nice deep brown on the surface.
As the bird is basted, some of the excess liquid will evaporate from the skin and help speed up the browning process.
So how often should you baste? This depends on several factors such as the position of the bird in the oven, how thick your skin is, how much fat is applied, cooking temperature, and more.
High-to-Low Temperature Profile
This method of roasting is a little different than the first one. When you use this technique, you start cooking at a higher temperature to get the surface browned and seal the skin.
Then, lower the temperature to cook your meat slower. This method is perfect for when your turkey has been seasoned with rubs or herbs.
If you are using this technique, it’s best to baste your turkey often starting from low temperatures, and work your way up until you reach the desired final temperature.
The best temperature range for baking a turkey is between 325- and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are roasting a whole turkey, then this will be the temperature that you need.
If your turkey is cut up into parts, however, then you’ll have to adjust the heat to achieve that temperature.
Just keep in mind that you’ll want to brown your turkey at its highest temperature possible without burning the bird.
Low-to-High Temperature Profile
Roasting is a harsh way to cook meat. It causes the meat to dry up quickly. This is especially true for turkey breast meat which is naturally very lean and does not contain much fat.
The traditional method for roasting a turkey has been set at a high temperature in most recipes.
The good thing about roaster ovens is that you can control the environment from different points in the oven.
When you are using this type of oven, it is best to start at a low temperature and slowly increase the heat until your poultry reaches the final desired cooking temperature (165 F).
By doing so, you will be able to gain more control over your meat without compromising moisture content too much (if done correctly).
The skin is very important in roasting a turkey. There are several ways to control how your turkey will end up looking when you take it out of the oven:
A major factor that contributes to skin sealing is moisture. The skin begins to shrink and tighten as it becomes drier.
This tightening causes the skin to become firmer and helps it stick to the meat while cooking. So be sure not to overcook your meat by removing it too early because this will dry up your meat even more.
Browning Sauce Preparation
One of the most common questions people have when they think about using a roaster oven to cook is, “What should I make?” The answer to this question is almost always browning sauce!
The original recipe for browning sauce was created by French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier around 1868.
It’s named after the color of its red wine-based reduction. These days, it’s more often made with aromatic vegetables like onions and carrots. The sauce can be used with any type of meat, but it works best on poultry.
Browning Sauce Recipe
Yield-Enough for 12 to 14 boneless, skinless breasts
- 4 ½ ounces (115 g) butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup (250 ml) Pinot Noir wine or dry red wine
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup (50 ml) red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons parsley,
- minced 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce
- 2 bay leaves for the browning sauce.
- Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add onions, salt, and pepper, and sauté until the onions begin to caramelize.
- Add vinegar and cook down until most of the liquid is gone.
- Add all other ingredients, cover, and reduce heat to low until meat is cooked through.
- 5 pounds (2.25 kg) of boneless skinless breasts (or another type of poultry) plus extra for making stock
Roaster ovens are an ideal option for people who love to cook, live alone, and do not need a big oven.
Small or medium-sized birds can be cooked easily in one of these appliances without losing any of their original moisture.
With the tips above, you should be able to perfectly cook a nicely browned bird that will impress your guests and family.