We usually talk about appliance repair here, but with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought it might be appropriate to answer a question that I get asked far more than I would expect. Can I microwave a turkey?
How Did This Start?
From what I have seen, the idea of microwaving a turkey was started, surprise, online as a prank. The idea started to catch steam, however, and people really started to try to figure out how to do this. Now, you can cook smaller birds in the microwave, but to cook a bird of 20 pounds or more, well, that seemed like a bit of a daunting task.
Should I Do It?
As someone who likes to spend time in the kitchen, I will tell you that this is not recommended. If it is not done properly, you could wind up with turkey parts all over the inside of your microwave, not to mention destroying the appliance. This, of course, does not even take into account the average home microwave is not even large enough to accommodate such a large bird.
Ideally, you will have a few inches of clearance on all sides of the bird as well as above it. If your microwave is like mine, the rotisserie chicken you get from the grocery store barely fits in there.
You should also keep in mind that microwaves are designed to reheat food quickly, not cook for long periods of time. It would be quite easy to dry out a full turkey, but Butterball claims it can be done.
Butterball Directions to Microwave a Turkey;
- Thaw turkey completely
- Place on a microwave-safe plate with the breast side down
- Cook on full power for four minutes per pound
- Remove the drippings and baste the turkey
- Flip the turkey over, then cook for 8 minutes per pound at 50 percent power
- During that stage of cooking, you will need to pause the microwave every 18 minutes to check the internal temperature of the turkey and to baste the turkey
- Turkey is done when it reaches 180+ in the thigh and 170+ in the breast
So, I would tell you that if you are going to have to nurse the turkey through the cooking process like that, just put it in the oven. Get a roaster bag and it is far less maintenance and I guarantee you that it will taste far better.
Something tells me that if you give that recipe a shot, you are going to be calling for an appliance repair technician sooner rather than later.