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- Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Make sure your oven reaches 375 F degrees before step 8.
- Remove the thawed free-range turkey from its packing (See How to Thaw a Turkey, Recipe #540).
- Remove the neck and giblets (the heart, liver, and gizzard of the turkey- great for turkey gravy), which are found in chest cavity.
- Rinse the inside and outside of the bird with cold water. Pat the bird dry with a paper towel.
- Remove the wire that holds the drumsticks in place by pushing down on drumsticks and squeezing the wire. Next, fold wing tips behind the bird to allow the turkey to cook more evenly. As another option, you can truss the turkey (See How to Truss a Turkey, Recipe #542).
- Place the turkey breast side up on an oiled rack (a non-stick v-rack is the best) in a shallow roasting pan. Season the bird with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil.
- Tent the turkey with foil, but do not seal the foil too tightly around the pan. This technique will allow the turkey to retain its natural moisture.
- Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F for conventional (300 degrees F for convection ovens).
- After allowing the turkey to bake for one hour, baste the bird with a baster or a deep well spoon. For the rest of the baking time, baste and check the temperature every 30 minutes. For best results use a meat thermometer inserting it into the thickest part of the thigh not touching the bone (if you touch the bone the reading could be false). (See How to Baste a Turkey, Recipe #543)
- Remove the foil when the turkey reaches 155 degrees. Bake for an additional 35-45 minutes, depending on your size of bird, to brown your turkey.
- Your turkey will be done when the meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees F (again take the reading from the thickest part of the thigh).
- Before carving, let the turkey stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes. This allows the meat to rest so you will have a more tender, juicy bird. (See Turkey Carving Techniques, Recipe #514)
- Turkey Roasting Times
- Turkey Weight => Roasting Time
- 8 to 12lbs => 3 to 3.5 hours
- 12 to 14lbs => 3.5 to 4 hours
- 14 to 18lbs => 4 to 4.5 hours
- 18 to 20lbs => 4.5 to 4.75 hours
- 20 to 24 lbs => 4.75 to 5.25 hours
|Note:||Allow 1/2 lb –1lb of raw turkey per person. 1-1.5 lbs per person for leftovers|