Timing and Flipping the Big Bird

Gobble Gobble and Happy Thanksgiving!    Thanksgiving dinner is like a marathon with a sprint at the end!  Like all good teams you have to have a plan…  I plan on flipping the bird.

Tonight was Round 2 of “Woman vs the Bird”

“Wednesday Night. The bird has left the brine.”

Round 2 goes to the Woman!

The bird and brine have been carried in, rinsed and returned to the outside refrigerator to drip dry overnight in a large pot.

Round 3 is scheduled for Thursday morning.

Not wanting to get caught out of breath and dogging it at crunch time.  I got ahead of the game!  Celery and onions are chopped, vegetables are all ready and the bread for stuffing is dry.  The stock is simmering in the crock pot.

The Apple Cake and Pumpkin Bread are made.

Pumpkin Bread

So what time is dinner?  Between 2 – 3 pm?  Notice the wide berth – you never know about those turkeys!  Besides, I could be awarded a 10 yard penalty!  
(I know I am combining 2 or more sports here but this is my kitchen and I make the rules!)  

The turkey should not be stone cold going into the oven.  Weighing in at 22 lbs this is what I call a big bird. I plan to take it out of the refrigerator about two hours prior to roasting. 

Turkey Time and Temp b According to the USDA, time and temperature chart, my 22 lb bird will take 4 1/2 to 5 hours. I am going by temperature, not time.  I don’t expect my bird to take that long.  In recent years, since I have brined my turkey, it has been done and at 165 a lot faster – so I am going to aim for 3 1/2 hours – 4 hours maximum  – if it runs over, that is cool.  If it gets done sooner, no problem, turkey has to rest and gives you plenty of time to finish everything else. My bird will be coming out of the oven at 165°  and the side dishes will be heading into the oven while the turkey rests and I make the gravy.

A great tool is the Butterball Calculator to help you determine how long to roast your turkey. Enter the weight of the bird and the calculator tells you how long your turkey should take, assuming you are roasting at 325 in an open pan.

Here is the game plan:

  • 8:00 a.m.  Turkey comes out of the refrigerator to start to warm up.
  • 9:00 a.m. – Pre-heat oven – bake rolls
  • 9:30 a.m. – Reduce heat to 325 – place prepared turkey upside down on a roasting rack, insert probe thermometer deep in the thigh.
  • I will be watching my thermometer like a hawk as soon as that bird nears 100° I am jumping into action.
  • It is now time for Round 4 ‘Flipping the bird’  Who will win?  The woman or the bird?  I am going for a lateral flip, more like a roll.  Will my strategy work?  Will I fumble?     Stay tuned for the exciting action!  In the mean time…..
  • This is when the  potatoes get turned on, it is amazing how long it takes a big pot of potatoes to come to a boil. I peel and quarter the potatoes ahead of time, let soak in cool salted water, waiting to be cooked.
  • The green beans will be staged in their pan and will be turned on as soon as that turkey comes out.  The side dishes, made in advance, will be on the counter, coming to room temperature.
  • Once the turkey is at 165 (tested in a couple of spots) it comes out to rest – tented with foil.
  • The gravy making begins!

Who will win the Big Flip?  Will the woman Flip the Bird?   Will she have to call in the Special Teams and punt?

*** Update about cooking breast side down and flipping the bird over:

We did manage to flip the 22 lb bird and it was probably the best turkey we have had. Crispy brown skin all over & juicy and tender meat.

A few tips:

– Use Caution!  You must remove the turkey from the oven, do NOT attempt to do this in the oven.

– Have another person, armed with pot holders to steady the pan and rack.

– Be aware that the leg and thigh muscles will be very relaxed and may pull away from the bird.  This is more likely to happen when trying to flip over a large bird.

– I used Brenda’s suggested method of picking up the bird by the legs and flipping it end to end rather trying to roll it over.

Follow along on Face Book at Baking Nana’s Kitchen for up to the minute coverage.

Gobble, Gobble!
Happy Thanksgiving!

About Baking Nana

Each morning my granddaughter Sarah calls to ask, “Watcha doing, Nana? Are you baking Nana?” Hence my “name” Baking Nana. I am a mother to three wonderful children and a grandmother to 12 very hungry grandkids. I don’t bake fancy cakes but I do make wonderful yeast bread and home cooked meals made with love.


Timing and Flipping the Big Bird — 12 Comments

  1. I didn’t flip my bird since I got a bigger one. I cooked it yesterday, and it looks like I have a lot of good drippings to make gravy later this morning. My sides are all extra to the dinner table today down the street, so I have this huge bird with not many eaters! Freezer, beware! I’ll look forward to your flip! Will NBP be there to photo it for you?

    • I suspect that NB Papa will be manning the camera today. I will look forward to hearing about all your meals with that leftover turkey, although I bet it is so good that most of it gets eaten.

  2. HaPpY Turkey Day! Due to your advice, I will be “flpping the bird”, too. Mine’s only an 8# Honeysuckle breast, so it will be easy to flip(I’m thinking!) I have to do some research – the bird wrap says to cook it to 170*! Yesterday Alton Brown said the breast should come out at 155*, tent w/foil & it will rise to 160*…??? I wish everyone could get their temps together! I LOVE juicy white meat and don’t want to ruin this roast.

    • Happy Thanksgiving Sandi. I KNOW what you mean about the temps! The bird will continue to cook after it has been removed from the oven. It can go up as much as 10 degrees. That is why Alton tells you to pull it early – let it rest and your FINAL temp should be 165. I am sure that 160 is perfectly fine but the USDA does say 165. Have a great meal!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.