Things You Will Need
roaster pan, foil, 2 sticks of butter or olive oil, poultry seasoning, bag of carrots, stalk of celery
Soften 2 sticks of butter. (This can be done while preparing the bird.) When softened mix your poultry seasoning in (sage, thyme, salt, pepper). This is a rub for your turkey. If you prefer, olive oil can be used instead of butter.
Be sure the turkey is completely thawed, washed and feathers plucked. When we lived on the farm this was nasty job. Pat dry and make sure to remove any packages containing the neck, gizzard, liver and heart - this does not cook up well. However, it does make for interesting conversation many Thanksgivings to come. Also, remove the wire or plastic device around the ankles of the big bird.
Put the organ meats in a pan of water, bring to boil, turn heat down to simmer 20 minutes. Remove set organ meats aside to chop and add to gravy or stuffing. However, if your family is like mine it will not make it long enough for me to use, everyone has their favorite.
Place turkey breast-side up on the wire rack that comes with your roaster. This makes it easy to lift the bird out when done. Now you can rub the butter all over this bird. Also, you can tuck clumps of the butter seasoning mixture between the skin and the meat. This makes for one yummy turkey. This can be really messy and slick. The bigger the bird the bigger the mess and be prepared to be messy. You'll see during the stuffing procedure.
Prepare stuffing as directed on the stuffing package. If you are not stuffing the bird you can do this anytime. When the stuffing is prepared shove it in the bird. This job calls for up-to-the-elbow shoving. I have tried using a spoon but now I just use my hands. It is really helpful if you have someone hold the bird while you stuff. Oops! Forgot - this really should be step 1 - 5 wash hands often, e-coli and salmonella (you know the drill).
Once it is stuffed to the brim and there is stuffing sticking out at the legs you are almost done! Place aluminum foil over the tips of the wings to prevent over browning, unless you like that. Cook at 325. During the last hour of cooking baste the bird every 10 minutes. This browns the skin. The browner the skin the better for me...I love the skin and usually eat too much before I serve it. No wonder I am not hungry for dinner!
Polk the bird with fork - the juices should be clear with no pink in the juice. The wings and legs should come off easily.
When you take the bird out, get the side dishes and drinks on the table before you begin carving. This give the juices time to redistribute and will make your turkey moist.
Extra Stuffing Recipe
Use up those pan drippings!
When you remove your bird from the roaster, there is usually a lot of drippings left. This makes a wonderful quick and easy side stuffing. Separate the fat from the drippings and pour the drippings over a bag of stuffing. If you need more liquid to moisten the bread crumbs use chicken broth. Ready to eat! If you like the top a little crusty throw it in the over for about 20 minutes.
Tips & Warnings
Carving tip for the white meat: instead of slicing down, make several cuts front to back or neck to bottom, about 2 inches apart, then cut down closest to the breast bone. This makes for a chunk of white meat instead of slices.
Remember to let your bird rest before carving. You don't want a dry bird. If it is dry have lots of gravy on hand!
APPROXIMATE COOKING TIMES
4 to 6 lb breast.....1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hrs
6 to 8 lb breast...2 1/4 to 3 1/4 hrs
8 to 12 lbs................2 3/4 to 3 hrs
12 to 14 lbs..............3 to 3 3/4 hrs
14 to 18 lbs........3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hrs
18 to 20 lbs........4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hrs
20 to 24 lbs..............4 1/2 to 5 hrs
8 to 12 lbs...............3 to 3 1/2 hrs
12 to 14 lbs..............3 1/2 to 4 hrs
14 to 18 lbs..............4 to 4 1/4 hrs
18 to 20 lbs........4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hrs
20 to 24 lbs........4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hrs