It was very ugly. Somehow I always overestimate the time it will take the turkey to cook. This year I used a newer (mid 1990's version) Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook to look up the roasting time for a seventeen pound turkey. In the past I've used one of our Better Homes and Gardens Cookbooks (copyrights in 1953 and 1962). Since appliances have changed a bit in the last fifty or sixty years I thought that new technology might explain why the turkey was always done waaaaayyyy before I was ready for it.
Apparently that's not the case. This year I used the old roaster (probably circa 1950) and paired it with the roasting time listed in a more modern cookbook (and yes, I did take care to look up roasting times for unstuffed, empty birds). I was late getting the bird in the roaster. Planned time was 12:00. Actual beginning of roasting time was 12:40. The bird was frozen in the middle and I had to fight to get the guts out. It also took forever to preheat the roaster. When I peeked in the handy little glass window on top of the roaster at 3:30 this is what I found.
Thank goodness we don't worry about the bird's appearance since we don't carve at the table. Luckily we always roast the turkey breast down, which does not create a beautiful browned breast, but it does make the turkey super moist and delicious. If only parts and pieces of the bird are going to leave the kitchen and head to the table I'd rather they be moist, delicious pieces. Why is the orientation (breast up or breast down) important? Why, it's because the internal temperature of the thickest meat on that bird was 220 degrees at 3:45. And the bird is done at 180 degrees. Thank goodness we had the breast and legs down where all the backfat basted the meat and kept it moist. That bird sure was ugly and it was way overcooked.
It looked beautiful sliced on a platter and it tasted terrific. Only I (and now you) know how close it was to being a disaster (especially since dinner was served at 5).