It was not the prettiest turkey I've ever made, and it was not the tastiest, but it was by far the easiest.
After my mother's success last Thanksgiving with Butterball's Ready-to-Roast Whole Turkey, I decided to give it a try.
Ready-to-roast turkeys can go from freezer to oven, making them much more convenient than a regular frozen bird that requires thawing for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
The Butterball ready-to-roast turkey is seasoned with "up to 8% of a solution of water, contains 2% or less of salt, natural flavors, modified food starch, and sodium phosphate to enhance tenderness and juiciness."
While Butterball is the brand my mother and I used, Butterball isn't the only company that makes a ready-to-roast whole turkey. Archer Farms (Target's house brand) has a similar product seasoned with "a celery seed, ginger, sage and thyme medley."
Jenny-O also makes one; it is seasoned with a solution of "maltodextrin, dehydrated turkey broth, onion powder, salt, yeast extract, carrot powder, dextrose, natural flavors, garlic powder, annatto (color), sodium phosphate, salt, sugar" and "rubbed with: salt, maltodextrin, sugar, dextrose, onion powder, spices, carrot powder, garlic powder, paprika (color), extractive of turmeric (color)."
As far as I can tell, they're all available in the same size — about 12 pounds. The one I bought cost about $20.
The process could not be simpler — cut open the outer bag and remove the frozen turkey keeping it in the inner cooking bag, place the frozen bird on a rack in a roasting pan, cut a couple of slits in the top of the bag, and roast it at 375 degrees for 3- to 4 ½ hours — until the breast reaches 165 degrees and the thigh reaches 180 degrees. No thawing, no brining, no flipping, no basting. Although I did rotate the pan a few times to help ensure even browning as food closest to the door in my oven tends to brown faster.
The skin, though crispy and beautifully golden brown, tore a bit as I removed the cooking bag and one of the drumsticks split open, giving my turkey a not-so-picture-perfect appearance. Taste-wise, the meat was tender and flavorful, but a bit dry in places.
The turkey came with a package of gravy concentrate that I had to mix with some of the pan drippings and boil for a few minutes. Like the turkey, it was easy to prepare. I liked the flavor of the gravy but thought it would be better if it were thicker.
If you've never cooked a turkey before or if easy is your priority a ready-to-roast turkey is a great option. It's also good if space is tight and you don't want to dedicate refrigerator real estate to a thawing bird for several days and fresh (unfrozen) turkey isn't available.
But I still say for the most flavorful, juiciest, quickest cooking turkey, spatchcocking is the way to go. Click here to read all about spatchcocking.
Food on 11/20/2019
Print Headline: Ready-to-roast turkey is easier, faster