We’ve all had bad turkey. You even see it coming from the other end of the table. It’s dry. Not just dry. It is Sahara Desert dry. No amount of gravy will save it. (I’ve been known to “accidentally” pour sweet potato casserole on it in an attempt to moisturize it.)
Then, there’s the “oh, crap… that turkey is raw” moment. Salmonella, anyone??? Thanks but no thanks. I don’t even put that version on my plate.
And, you know the turkey chef had to have feared their long hours of cooking ending in one of those two categories. In front of 37 of their family members, of course.
These facts made me terrified of roasting a turkey. Eventually, I decided to just jump in and try it. I mean, we could always go buy large quantities of fried chicken at the local grocery store. Right???
That was over ten years ago and I feel much more comfortable with turkey roasting these days.
I highly recommend looking at thawing times for your turkey’s weight. Butterball has an excellent thawing chart. And then… don’t do like I did. Apparently, I can’t count because our 23+ lb turkey should’ve thawed in the refrigerator for 5-6. It ended up thawing in the sink overnight the night before Christmas. And I prayed really hard.
Since I go by the 13 min/lb rule, we always start our turkey cooking at around 3:30 am. That means our kids are still asleep and we are trying VERY hard to be quiet. I say “we” because I just can’t bring myself to stick my hand in the turkey to pull out the giblets. So, that’s my wonderfully accommodating husband’s hand in these pictures. Before you start taking the giblets out, preheat your oven to 325 F.
Flip the bird over and don’t miss out of the neck in the other cavity. Now, if your family are giblet gravy people (or you have a dog), make sure to save these. You can also make broth out of them for future soups.
Once you’ve removed the giblets and rinsed the turkey off, pat him dry and place in your roasting pan. I use the breast up method and have found it stays pretty moist.
Lower the rack to the lowest spot. Place the roasting pan (holding your turkey) on the lowest rack. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Make sure all parts of the turkey are covered. Close the oven door and let it cook uninterrupted for 45 minutes to an hour.
Pour chicken broth (unsalted preferably) in a separate container and get your baster ready. When your timer goes off, it is time to begin basting. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and SHUT THE OVEN DOOR. This will help keep oven at temperature.
Fill your baster with broth and begin basting the turkey. This is how I keep a breast up turkey moist. Baste, baste and baste some more. It may take a tad longer to cook but it is worth it in moist factor. Cover the turkey loosely and place back in the oven. Repeat basting every 45 minutes.
Eventually, the butter will melt enough out of the cavity and you will be able to baste the turkey with the melted butter in the bottom of the roaster. Hello, increased yummy factor!
At the half way point of the estimated roasting time, stuff the turkey. Stuff both cavities and around the turkey. Once the turkey is stuff, make sure you baste the stuffing and the turkey each time. It will become very dry if you don’t baste it.
My turkey had a handy dandy pop up timer but I like to still put a meat thermometer in the leg during the last 30 minutes of the projected roasting time. Ideal internal temperature is 165+ degrees F.
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When it reaches that temperature, take it out of the oven and allow it to rest for 30 minutes before carving it.