From America's Test Kitchen Season 1: The Perfect Roast Turkey
Few of us want to take chances when cooking the holiday bird. We wanted to find a way that guaranteed moist, flavorful meat and bronzed skin—a true holiday table centerpiece.
First we brined our turkey, which helped prevent the meat from drying out and also seasoned it right to the bone. After brining, we rinsed the bird of excess salt and let it rest on a wire rack in the refrigerator so that the skin dried out. This step helped ensure the skin would cook up crisp, not flabby. Placing the turkey on a V-rack allowed for air circulation all around so that the bird cooked evenly. And turning the turkey three times also helped to ensure even cooking. Finally, once the turkey was cooked, we waited 30 minutes before carving it. That might seem like a long time, but it allowed the juices in the turkey to redistribute so that, once carved, each slice was moist and full of flavor.
Serves 10 to 12
We prefer to roast small turkeys, no more than 14 pounds gross weight, because they cook more evenly than large birds. If you prefer, halve the amount of salt in the brine and brine 12 hours or overnight. When you remove the turkey from the oven to rotate it, be sure to close the oven door to prevent heat loss.