Why is turkey just for Thanksgiving?
Why do we always wait until Thanksgiving time to enjoy turkey? The pleasing smell of roasting turkey wafting from the kitchen is a pleasure any time, not just in November.
The small and amazing turkey breast
The good news is that with very little effort, you can roast a small turkey breast any time. No need to brine, no need for roasting bags or figuring out to do with that bag of giblets wedged in the cavity either - roasting a turkey breast is simple!
The bad news is that you won’t have tons of leftovers, a turkey carcass for making soup or any dark meat. Everything is a tradeoff and I love how easy clean up is when you don't have to pick through the bones to find the left over bits.
Turkey breast tips
Whether you're roasting a full turkey or just a breast, there are a few tips for success that you should follow:
- Thaw the turkey breast in the refrigerator for 2-3 days - so plan ahead!
- Place the thawing breast in a pan (to contain the juices) on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.
- Before roasting, remove the breast from its packaging and pat excess moisture from the skin with a paper towel. Resist the temptation to rinse it off it the sink which will spread bacteria to other surfaces and foods.
- Roast until the meat reaches the recommended temperature of 165°F.
- When done, remove the breast from the oven and allow it to rest for 15-30 minutes. This will give the meat some time to reabsorb its juices.
- 1 3 pound boneless turkey breast or bone-in turkey breast (7 pound)
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
Remove turkey from packaging and pat dry. Place the breast skin-side-up on a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. If you are using a bone-in turkey breast, I recommend that you use a knife or pair of sharp kitchen shears to remove the backbone. This process is called “spatchcocking” and it will allow the bird to lay flat and cook more evenly. (And it’s much easier to carve!)
In a small bowl combine seasoned salt and white pepper.
Evenly coat the skin of the turkey with the salt/white pepper dry rub mixture. At this point you can return the uncovered turkey to the refrigerator for several hours. This will dry out the skin and lead to a crispier skin. If you are pressed for time, you can skip the drying and go straight to roasting the breast.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Roast the turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 3 hours. Remove from the oven and allow the turkey to rest and reabsorb the juices for about 15 minutes or until it cools to an internal temperature of 145°F.
Slice and serve with your favorite accompaniments.
Food safety experts advise us to not rinse our poultry before cooking. The bacteria in raw meat can easily spread to other surfaces, foods and utensils causing cross-contamination. It is recommended that raw meat be taken directly from the package to the cooking surface. Rinsing meat in the sink is a hard habit to break, but it is unsafe and not recommended.