The turkey recipe below provides 7 step instructions for roasting a turkey-- simply follow the recipe below, and you can't go wrong. The resulting turkey is moist, and flavorful, and the herb butter rubbed all over the outside makes a great roast turkey seasoning.
12 to 24 lb Turkey, thawed
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp poultry seasoning (fresh, not from 1997)
2 onions, cut in large pieces
3 ribs celery, cut in large pieces
2 carrots, cut in large pieces
3 rosemary sprigs
1/2 bunch sage
1 stick butter
Cut 2 onions, 3 ribs of celery, and 2 carrots in large chunks.
Make a seasoning salt by blending blend 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoons poultry seasoning. This is plenty for the largest turkey, and you'll have some leftover to use in the dressing, gravy, etc.
Let one stick of butter soften to room temperature, or make a flavored compound butter recipe, which is butter mixed with herbs and spices.
Remove the bag that contains the neck, heart, gizzard, etc., and rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water. Dry with paper towels thoroughly.Pull the wing tips forward and tuck them under the breasts so they don't burn. This also keeps the turkey sitting nice and straight.
Hold the turkey by the back legs, and season the entire cavity generously with the seasoned salt.
Add the rosemary, sage, and a large handful of the aromatic vegetables to the cavity.
Tie the turkey's leg together with some kitchen twine, or plain dental floss.
Start with your fingers, and then switch to a thin silicon spatula to push under the skin to separate it from the breast meat. Be careful not to tear the skin, but it's fairly tough, so if you push slowly and firmly you should be able to separate the skin about 2/3rds of the way down on either side of the breastbone
Push about 2 tablespoons of butter under the skin of each breast. Use your fingers on top of the skin to push down and spread it evenly toward the front of the turkey.
Rub the rest of the butter all over the outside of the turkey, being sure to get the sides also. This is why you need to dry the skin with paper towels in step 3; otherwise the butter won't stick as well.Add the rest of the aromatic vegetables to your roasting pan and set the turkey on top. The vegetables will act as a sort of delicious rack.
Add about a half-inch of liquid (water or stock) to the roasting pan. This will keep the oven moist. Also, the pan drippings will be even more flavorful if you're planning to make gravy.
Fold a piece of foil large enough to just cover the turkey breast. The foil should cover loosely - there is no need to press the foil down onto the butter.
About an hour before the cooking time is done (see next step for times), remove the foil to brown the skin on the breasts.
Roast at 325 degrees F., for approximately 15-20 minutes per pound. This is just an estimate - be sure to use a meat thermometer to get a perfect doneness.Remove the turkey when it reads 165 degrees F. in the thickest part of the thigh meat. Here is an approximate turkey cooking time guide for roasting at 325 degrees F. from the USDA:
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
While roasting, the liquid can be used to baste the turkey (there is a debate whether basting does anything, but it's part of the tradition).
Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. It will keep its heat and will retain more moisture. Reserve the pan juices and veg for making the gravy.
Pour pan juices into a glass measuring cup; when the grease rises to the surface, skim it off and discard. Place the roasting pan over medium-high heat and add a cup of dry red or white wine or water; bring to a boil and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the brown bits. Add giblet stock, return to a boil, and cook until reduced by half. Add reserved, defatted pan juices, cook ten minutes more, and strain into a gravy boat.
Another GRAVY Recipe:
Makes 15 (1/4-cup) servings.
2 packages McCormick® Turkey Gravy Mix
1/4 cup flour
3 cups water
1 cup turkey pan drippings Substitutions
1 cup chopped cooked turkey giblets, (optional)
Mix Gravy Mix and flour in large saucepan. Gradually stir in water and turkey drippings with wire whisk until smooth. Stir in chopped turkey giblets, if desired.
Stirring frequently, cook on medium-high heat until gravy comes to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. (Gravy will continue to thicken upon standing.).
How to carve Turkey!
Step1: Once you start the rest goes easy :)
Congratulations! It's time to give thanks, and enjoy!
Why Do We Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving?
The history of the Thanksgiving turkey is a bit of a mystery.
Nobody knows exactly how this particular bird earned a place of honor at the table each
November, but historians have a few different theories. Thanks to letters and records kept
by early American settlers, we know that when the colonists sat down to dine with the
Wampanoag Indians, beef and fowl were on the menu. This historical meal would later
become known as the first Thanksgiving.
Videos on cooking and carving Thanksgiving Turkey!