How To Become A Crissivore

I have a "magic meat" recipe -- well, more of a meat-cooking method -- and I'd love to share it. It's inspired by the Puerto Rican pernil style of cooking, but I've translated it to every type of meat.

Order of Operations

  1. Prep the meat (rinse birds and empty cavities, remove excess fat if desired, poke holes in roasts, remove skin if desired, etc.)
  2. Heat the oven to 350F (177C) (see Temperature)
  3. See timing: Cook for all but the final 1/2 hr for small parts, 1 hour for larger beasts
  4. Revelation (remove lid or tent), possibly Pump up Heat
  5. Serve


Today it's turkey, so I'll talk turkey before translation to other types of meat.

Turkey (and whole chicken) have necks & giblets to remove, so I make sure to clean and sterilize my sink, and remove the giblets then thoroughly rinse the bird in cold water. I let it rest in the roasting pan while I do the rest.

Then I get out spices and olive oil. The amount of olive oil depends on the surface of the meat I'm coating, but for 2 chickens or a turkey, it's about 1/2 cup olive oil. I eyeball my spices, but I'll give an actual sample recipe. Mix the herbs, spices & oil until it makes a colored (usually reddish) paste.

If the lid of the pan fits, I use it (such as when I do roast beef, pork or 2 chickens -- the lid usually fits). Otherwise, I tent with aluminum foil and seal it around the roasting pan as well as possible.


  • Do not baste - trust
  • Elevations may change your results


I go for overdone, because this method invariably results in tender meats. If you like rare roast beef, this may not be the method for you. If you like flavorful and tender meats, this works great. You can experiment with cutting down the time, but be sure to use a meat thermometer.

"Revelation" - if you have a 1 hour cook time total and 30 minute revelation then 30 minutes into the cook time remove the lid or foil for the final 30 minutes of cooking.

  • Small Parts (chicken thighs, breasts, legs, small meat cuts) spread 1 layer deep, cook 1:15 minutes total, revelation 30 minutes.
  • Whole chickens (I do 2 huge roasters side-by-side) cook 3 hour total - 1 hour revelation.
  • Pork loin, chuck roast or smaller roasts (I usually slice a long pork loin in half, lay side by side in the pan) - cook as per whole chickens
  • Pork shoulder roast, large roast beef - cook 4-5 hours total, revelation 1 hour.
  • Turkey - 20lbs for 6 hrs total - revelation is 1 hour.


The magic number is 350F. The real strategy is sealing the roast pan, keeping the oven door closed, and length of cooking. If you love crispy & well-done, you can raise the temperature for the Revelation! If I remove the tent and it looks like it needs extra crisping I'll raise the temperature as much as 50 degrees (400F/205C).

Alterations for Other Meats

Thick roasts (pork shoulder, roast beef, pork loin) get poked with a knife, and the marinade is also pushed into the crevasses.

Special Herb Combinations

For a chicken tandoori/indian flavor substitue the marinade with 2-3 TBS of garam masala and 1/2 cup plain yogurt or 1/4 cup warmed (liquid) ghee. Cook as usual, works great with chicken legs/thighs.

Chicken (and Turkey) goes so well with tarragon, I recommend using tarragon from time-to-time with or without other savory herbs in some of your chicken dishes.

Italian herb combo:

Other Posts in February 2015

© Criss Ittermann. All Rights Reserved. Website by Eclectic Tech, LLC."