How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey Without a Roasting Pan
These life-saving holiday hacks are certainly something to be thankful for.
Instead of running to the store to purchase an expensive and bulky roasting pan you'll only use once a year, we recommend you opt for these turkey cooking methods using cookware you likely already have at home. These simple, stress-reducing Thanksgiving turkey hacks will guarantee you serve a flawlessly juicy, golden turkey every time.
Bake Your Turkey in a Bundt Pan
Create the perfect vertical turkey roaster using a bundt pan that will ensure even heat distribution and crispy skin all around your bird. Fill the cavity of the pan with your favorite vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions, and beets are all great options) and season generously. Then cover the center opening of your bundt pan with aluminum foil to prevent messy drippings from getting all over your oven. Place your whole turkey, wing side up, over the center of the pan, coat the turkey’s skin with oil, and season to your liking. As your turkey cooks, the rendered fat and juices will season your bed of vegetables, resulting in a foolproof, flavorful gravy base.
Grill Your Turkey
Reserve the limited space in your oven for the equally important side dishes that need to be kept warm until dinner. With this method, you'll cook your turkey on the grill for a smoky, charred bird. In a charcoal grill, place a disposable pan with 3 cups of water in the center to prevent flare-ups from turkey drippings and to control the internal grill temperature. Then, place lit charcoal briquettes on the sides of the pan and top with unlit coals to ensure a slower burn rate. For perfectly crisp skin, add one teaspoon of baking powder and rub onto the skin of your turkey prior to grilling.
Use a Cast-Iron Skillet
Evenly distribute a layer of peeled and sliced seasoned russet potato rounds on your cast-iron skillet. Place your turkey on top, fill with aromatics, and coat the inside and outside of the skin with an herb-butter mixture. Bake until golden and the internal temperature of the thickest part of the bird reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If needed, cover with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning while roasting.
Use a Baking Sheet and Deconstruct Your Bird
Try Julia Child’s famed turkey-making method and deconstruct your turkey for quicker cooking and effortless carving. First, have your butcher deconstruct your bird ahead of time at the store. Then you'll prep the turkey: detach the leg quarters, truss the thighs, and remove the backbone. Place the turkey breasts, skin side down, into an oven-safe, nonstick skillet in the oven and roast for 30 minutes to get a head start on browning the skin. Meanwhile, lay a bed of seasoned veggies with two cups of water on a sturdy, rimmed baking sheet and cover with an oven-proof rack. Place your browned breast and leg quarters over top the rack and roast until fully cooked. No need to invest in a pricey roasting pan: a simple rack will create the necessary airflow circulation needed to roast your turkey from all sides.
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Create a Disposable DIY Foil Rack
The key to a evenly-cooked turkey is creating separation from the cooking surface in order to let the oven’s heat circulate below. But if you don't have an oven-safe rack on hand, don’t worry: you can easily create your own rack using aluminum foil. Scrunch up a long piece of foil into a thick rope and sculpt into a spiral or a figure eight, high enough to lift the bird away from the cooking surface. You can use this makeshift rack on any rimmed cookware (like a skillet or baking sheet).