I think my number must have been published somewhere as a "How to make stuff for Thanksgiving" hotline. I have a voice mail on my cell phone from a former employee asking how to cook a turkey "like you did that time when it all fell apart." Since I don't have a turkey thawed and ready to go, you'll just have to read carefully and follow the directions.
You will need:
1 turkey, thawed
1 covered roasting pan that the turkey will fit in.
1 orange ( yes, an orange - doesn't have to be a fancy navel orange)
2 stalks celery
1 quart boiling water.
Here is what you do:
This must be done 1 hour before bedtime the night before you want to have the turkey. You will see why at the end.
1. Turn the water on to boil
2. Wash the turkey off with cold water
3. Put turkey in roasting pan. Mine is one of those blue speckled enameled ones from Walmart. It never fails me, but I would love to have a real big enameled iron one.
4. Cut onion and orange into quarters and stuff into the cavity of turkey. Celery same.
5. When the water is boiling, pour it slowly over the turkey. This will make the skin "shrink to fit" and gives enough moisture during the roasting process so it won't be all dry. You need not use the whole quart, just enough to shrink the skin and have an inch or so of water in teh bottom of roaster.
6. Season the turkey with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, or whatever else you like. Teh seasoning will mostly stay on the skin and in the juice, so if you get a little too much, it won't be too bad. I have some fancy poultry rub from Fresh Market that I am going to use this year, but the regular stuff is wonderful too.
7. Put the lid on the roaster and put it in the COLD oven on the center rack.
8. Turn the oven on to 500 degrees. ( just do what I say)
9. When the oven gets to 500 degrees, let it stay on for about 15 minutes, then turn it off. Do not open the oven door under any circumstances.
10. Go to bed.
11. Wake up at a reasonable hour. Smell the turkey - Great huh?
12. Make coffee, then take the roaster out of the oven.
13. You will have a perfectly cooked, falling apart, juicy delicious turkey to pick apart and serve for your dinner. It ain't pretty, but it sure tastes good!
The thing about this particular method is that your oven is insulated enough to maintain a cooking temperature for 6 hours or so if the door is not opened. If you let it heat to 500 and maintain 500 for 15-20 mintues, it cools so slowly ( if the door is NOT opened) that you get a cooked and ready to handle bird 8 hours later. The reason that you have to do it while everyone is sleeping is that someone WILL open the door if there are people up and walking around when it starts to smell good. If the door gets opened, the temp drops rapidly and you will have to figure out how to cook it done without messing it up. Oh, don't worry about the turkey staying in the oven all night. It doesn't care that it is in there alone. No germs are going to grow on it. I have made a LOT of these and no one has died or had the trots yet, that I know of.
I will do pictures of this "process" as soon as the turkey I have thaws out!