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How to Flip a Turkey

By Jennifer Armentrout, editor

October 17th, 2011

Positioning a turkey breast side down for the first part of roasting is a solid technique for getting a juicy turkey. But the idea of flipping a hot, half-cooked turkey onto its back can cause anxiety in even the most experienced cooks. Fear not—after you’ve done it once, you’ll see it’s really not a big deal.

Start by choosing some hand protection. Silicone oven mitts are ideal because they’re easy to clean afterward, but you could also use clean cloth hot pads or paper towels crumpled into two thick wads.

Make sure the turkey isn’t sticking to its roasting rack by running a spatula or table knife between the two.

Hand protection in place, grasp the turkey at its neck and tail ends and quickly but carefully flip it. Try to keep the turkey level, so any juice or ingredients in the cavity don’t spill out. If the bird is too heavy to lift by yourself, enlist some help.

posted in: Blogs, Thanksgiving, turkey
Comments (2)

JumpinJackie writes: My mom and I teamed up on the bird. I used wads of paper towel to protect my hands, and grasped the wings to lift the bird up. Mom reached under and grabbed where the drumsticks were tied together, then pulled the bird through. Voila! We had pinned the body cavity closed pretty well, but some juices escaped and we replaced liquid into the body with the turkey baster. It was the tastiest and juiciest bird we've had in a long time. Thanks for the tips, Jennifer! Posted: 11:43 am on November 25th

sonomagal writes: I have never flipped a turkey this way but it is something I will try. I do start a roasting chicken on its breast and flip it over onto its back part way through cooking, but I just use a long, wide handled, wooden spoon, inserting the handle into the cavity. It works great on a 5-6 lb. bird. A huge turkey would, of course, be too heavy for my technique. Thanks for the tip. Posted: 2:47 pm on November 22nd

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