Many people are intimidated about roasting the turkey—I find it very easy. No need to turn the turkey over, or cover it with foil, or deep fry it in gallons of boiling fat, or cook it in a plastic bag, or any of the other modern methods that have been invented.
This roasting method is intended only for a turkey that weighs no more than twelve pounds when purchased.
In my opinion, I think the most delicious turkey is one that is:
- Completely natural, with no added ingredients such as added liquid
- Brined and stuffed
- Roasted in the oven, no turning required
- Basted a few times
Now we come to the easiest part, the roasting.
I take the turkey out of the refrigerator. I adjust the oven rack to the second lowest position, and then preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
I make the stuffing, and put it in the bird.
I place the turkey in a lightly greased,sturdy roasting pan, breast side up, directly on the pan. No rack is used.
I cover the turkey with melted, salted butter, of good quality. This will take at least a quarter cup, but do not be afraid to use more if needed.
I then place the turkey in the preheated oven.
I baste the turkey every half hour with the drippings in the pan. After an hour and a half, I baste it once with fresh orange juice.
I roast the turkey until a meat thermometer, inserted in the thickest part of the breast, reads at least 165 degrees (which is the minimum safe temperature recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture). Because modern birds have such big breasts, the dark meat will be ready before the white meat, contrary to what most cooking authorities say. Depending on the size of your turkey, your oven, and the temperature of the bird when you put it in the oven, it can be ready anywhere from an hour and a half to two and a half hours. It is important to use the thermometer, and not guess.
Finally, I only let the turkey rest for the amount of time it takes me to get all the stuffing out of the bird and into a serving dish, about ten minutes. Most authorities recommend that you let it rest much longer than that, but that often results in cold or lukewarm turkey. If you have brined the turkey, it will be juicy even if some of the juice comes out.
This is the way I make the Thanksgiving turkey every year, and it is always delicious.
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