Here’s the way to roast turkey halves in the even, especially for a holiday crowd. Now, we can’t help you with the family stuff. You’re on your own there. But, this method will keep you happy with yourself while you manage this meal.
Here are three smaller turkeys, about 30 pounds total, in the oven at once. Super efficient, this turkey half method frees up the oven for warming side dishes at mealtime. Better still, the more delicate white breast meat lays lower in the oven and away from the heating element while the more stubborn dark meat and leg/thigh joint takes its time cooking through. Here’s how:
Buy small birds, cut them in half, and roast them lying down on half sheets.
- Buy small turkeys–around ten pounds max. The meat counter will cut and re-wrap them in a few minutes. An electric knife at home is the choice there. Be careful and mindful.
- Place the turkey halves on half baking sheets. Just think “chicken” and keep things simple. Rub all sides liberally with oil or butter (or a combo), and season with Kosher salt and coarse ground pepper. Or, use whatever fancy herb blend you like this year.
- Place the turkeys in 450°F oven and immediately turn down the heat to 325°F. You do not need to baste these birds (but you can if you want). Keep the oven closed and the turkeys will be cooked through in about 2 hours. A meat thermometer should register 175 – 180°F in the thickest part of the thigh and the escaping juices should run clear, not pinkish. Let the birds rest 15 minutes before carving.
Carving Tip: Separate each breast half from the leg/thigh portion, and cut the breast meat crosswise into thick slices instead of the traditional thin lengthwise slices. Separate the thighs and legs at the joint with a sharp knife. Serve the legs whole and slice the dark thigh meat.
Note about stuffing: You’ll have to give up on stuffing the bird with this method. That’s just fine, because the our Cheater Chef Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe (which is our best ever so hit up that link right now) bakes up nice and crisp in a casserole and you can make as much as you want. Why turn the bird into an envelope for dressing? No need.
Leftover dressing if there is any reheated in a hot skillet with runny eggs for brunch, or as a stand-alone cold November afternoon snack right out from under the broiler, will make you really happy.