Cooking Diverse Turkey Parts

Since we are only two, I am doing a “component turkey”: two drumsticks of about 12 ounces (3/4 lb) each and a half breast (bone-in) of a little under 3 pounds. I can find how long to roast a whole turkey, or just drumsticks, or just a (whole) breast, but no one covers “parts”. Obviously I would like to do them all together, or at least have them finished at the same time.

One site says roast drumsticks for 1.5-2 hrs at 350F; another gives the same instructions for the breast. But do I really want a 12-ounce drumstick in for as long as a 3-pound breast? Or am I being misled by microwave cooking rules which are super-dependent on weight? The length of time for a whole bird depends on the weight, but is that because it’s one large piece?

Help?

1 Like

I’m a little confused @eleeper - do you intend to microwave these parts? Also, do you have a dependable meat thermometer? I would oven roast, putting the 3 lb breast in first, for ?? I’m not sure how long, followed by the drumsticks. Google may be your friend here. Also, lower roasting temps will help with tenderness and moisture. I would cover until the last bit, I think. Good luck.

1 Like

I agree with the thermometer use, but they tell you when to stop cooking, not when to start, so timing can be tricky. In the absence of any tested advice I would be cooking your parts all together at something a little under 375F, and temperature test from 1 hour 30 minutes. You may need nearer 2 hours to get the centre of the breast to 170F. The drumsticks may need covering in a bit of foil towards the end if they start looking dry.

1 Like

Here is Serious Eats’ method for roasting turkey in parts…

4 Likes

Sorry, I was unclear. I intend to use my regular, traditional oven. What I was saying is that in a microwave you allow twice as long (more or less) to (for example) bake 4 potatoes as to bake 2. But in a regular oven, the number of potatoes doesn’t matter. However, in a regular oven, roasting a twenty-pound turkey takes longer than roasting a five-pound chicken.

So I’m not clear on roasting three separate pieces, a 3-pound and two 3/4-pound ones. (I am reminding of a jugler trying to juggle three items of very different weights.)

And alas, I do not have even an undependable meat thermometer. I so rarely cook meat.

1 Like

The reason that I don’t like to cook a whole turkey is that by the time the dark meat is cooked, the white meat has dried out. It takes dark meat longer to cook than white meat. The only way to know when meat is cooked (for me) is a thermometer. I highly recommend a thermopen instant read. I jab my meats multiple times to make sure I’ve achievend the doneness desired. The little holes are a reminder that I’m going to be eating meat cooked to my desired doneness.

I think the best thing to do is to start baking them at the same time, and keep testing the temp. When the breast is done, remove it. If you have a warming drawer, place it in there. Then finish the drumsticks. Turkey breast is always niced with hot gravy on top, and a slightly cook breast wouldn’t bother me. But you might just luck out and they will be finished at the same time!

So especially this year, go into this with a relaxed state of mind. However it turns out is fine. You are going to make a great meal for the two of you. And as long as the meat isn’t raw, that’s a success! Have fun, you cand do it!

2 Likes

I really recommend you get a thermometer. They cost less than one ruined piece of meat!

1 Like

I was going to post the same link.

Roast then all together. In theory the breast should be done first (unless it’s a giant breast with tiny legs). But whatever is done first (using thermometer) can be taken out, tented with foil and held until the other parts are done.

1 Like

No, I really rarely cook meat. Other than the Passover chicken (which I know how to calculate) I only cook skinless boneless chicken breasts in curries, etc. Only the pandemic is making me cook this. (Normally it’s fish, beans, tofu, seitan, or TVP.)

1 Like

I worked for a caterer. We used to braise turkey parts. Roasting pan, an inch of water, covered in foil, in the oven. Dark meat was pulled by hand, skin discarded. Breasts were sliced on a slicer.

1 Like
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold