Interesting posts about thanks giving celebrations, we of course being English save our frozen small sparrow like turkeys until Crimbo then place them (still frozen) in an over powered fan assisted oven and cook until caramelised on the outside and under cooked inside. The bird then takes pride of place at the table where the man of the household carves it (he only does this once every year) with a blunt knife and serves it on to cold plates, by evening the accident and emergency departments are full of folks with food poisoning and there ends a perfect celebration.
Any way you all seemed to have a good time with your roasting. When I had my first wood-fired oven several years a go in a hotel we ran we used to do lots of roast / casserole dishes pies and cakes etc in a slow oven. A very good friend of mine is an expert on medieval English / European cooking and open fire spit roasting and he recons (and I now agree) that the most important bit of oven and spit roasting is now missed by most people, that is basting the meat during cooking / roasting. Our oven was built for bread so may have had more mass than you pizza type ovens but I recon you can use the same technique
Give the oven a long slow firing; say a couple of hours, rake out, close the door and leave to rest for a time. Prepare your bird / joint (will come to this bit latter) and place in the oven, after say one to one and a half hours have a look at the roast, if the juices are running start to baste the roast with the cooking juices, cover and close the oven door (you need to try and do this fast as the longer the oven door is open the more heat escapes. You may find it more convenient to have a table / worktop nearby and remove the roast from the oven for basting). Do this every 15 minutes or so until the roast is cook to your requirements.
Remember, that once the roast is up to temperature the meat will cook in a slow oven ok, however, if you are word about giving your guest a funny tummy and then getting struck off the dinner invites by under cooking the roast try this. Remove the roast from the oven and cover with cloth, towel etc to keep warm (it will also keep cooking) have some good wood ready and re-fire or as we call it “flash fire” the oven for about twenty to thirty minutes, clean out and re turn the roast and continue basting to you satisfaction.
One of our eminent food writers recommends completely encasing the bird in several layers of foil so you don’t have to baste. This is ok if you don’t want to be involved in the cooking process but I find that the meat is more steamed than roasted even after removing the foil for the last thirty minutes or so to brown the thing. Some how the direct heat working on the roast and juices gives much more flavour.
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