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Roasting 101

When we all crave beautiful hearty meals in the winter, roasting is a wonderful almost fail-proof option. Roasting takes practice and your first roast may not come out as planned.

Ending up with a beautifully browned yet super moist turkey or crispy on the outside tender on the inside roast beef isn't as easy as following a chart with cooking times listed per pound. Sure it says a 15 lb turkey will take about three hours to cook. But the "about" is what makes me nervous. When planning a meal that revolves around a roast it's essential to make sure that it doesn't come out overdone because you can't exactly prepare for a ruined roast and sometimes the only solution is to dial your favorite pizzeria. To help avert disaster, I've listed some of my handy roasting tips.


  • To prevent the outside from burning before the inside is done, start with thawed meats that are close to room temperature.
  • To stop the meat from sticking to the roasting pan, place meats onto a roasting rack or a bed of vegetables.
  • If the meat or poultry is browning too quickly cover it loosely with foil.
  • When roasting whole chickens or turkeys, the bird is done when the juices run clear. Pierce the bird's thigh with a kitchen skewer or fork, if the juices that emerge are clear (not pink) the bird is done.
  • Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the roast being careful that it doesn't touch the bone.
  • Use the cooking times as a guideline. Always check for doneness beginning close to the end of the suggested cooking time.
  • Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes covered in tin foil (to keep it warm). This will bring the roast to the proper temperature and let the juices flow.
  • Remember that the meat will continue to cook (about 5-10°F) while it rests after you have removed it from the oven.
  • The USDA recommends that the internal temperature for roast whole poultry be 180°F for doneness (165-170°F for smaller breasts), 145°F for roast beef and lamb and 160°F for pork. Note: This is the doneness temperature for eating, not for oven removal (see the tip above).
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