Big turkey small oven

Every year I do a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner for my friends. It started as a tradition because some people had to go home and face Thanksgiving with gravy out of a box and this made me sad. For Saturday I have ordered a 19-20 lb turkey with will be cooked with stuffing. I do not have a standard sized oven, and I am slightly concerned. I don't feel like it's a good idea to put the turkey pan directly on the bottom of the oven (it's a gas stove), but any thoughts on maximizing that space? General thoughts on Thanksgiving in a tiny kitchen are also welcome! (I'm already planning on cooking a lot of things ahead of time, and running some stuff down the street to a friend's apartment).

  • Posted by: LucyS
  • October 16, 2012


Niemie October 18, 2012
I've cooked an 18lb turkey in an apartment-sized gas oven without breaking the bird apart. I didn't stuff it, but it roasted perfectly. I put the oven rack as low as possible and made sure the rack in my roast pan didn't sit up too high. The bigger issue was how to cook/warm all those sides with the bird sprawled across the entire appliance :)
Pegeen October 17, 2012
As mentioned above, a good approach is breaking apart the bird. Here's a very good and well-known recipe for cooking turkey parts instead of a whole bird. Have used it with good success several times. (Mark Bittman in the NY Times.)
jsdunbar October 17, 2012
Does your friend down the street have a bigger oven? The real work is getting the turkey ready. for the oven. You can still do the giblets & the gravy (withe giblet broth for extra flavour, of course), etc. in your own kitchen.
Reiney October 16, 2012
I've had this problem before - do you have a barbecue? Turkey roasts fabulously on the grill, especially a Weber kettle.

LucyS October 16, 2012
I certainly wouldn't find it sacrilegious, but I've never done it before and I'm not sure I'm willing to try it for the first time when I'm serving 20 people! But in general I love this idea.
cratecooking October 16, 2012
Would you find it sacrilegious to break down the bird and not roast it whole? With birds over 14lbs I love roasting the breast and braising the legs and wings seperately. This way the legs are perfectly cooked and the breast meat does not dry out. You get the turkey backbone for stock, and can also use your braising liquid as a gravy when you serve the meal. David Tanis has an AMAZING recipe for this method in his book, The Heart of the Artichoke.
usuba D. October 16, 2012
Have the butcher take his band saw and cut the turkey in half. Then layout the halves in a pan so they are not as tall as a whole bird. Or de- bone the bird, roll and tie. You can leave the wings and legs with their bone. This will also reduse the size. Stuffing can be stuffed inside to roll.
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