Follow these basic step-by-step directions for roasting a whole turkey, and get ready to receive compliments.
First, place a 12- to 14-pound frozen turkey (still wrapped) on a tray, and thaw it in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Count on serving 1 person per pound of turkey, so a 12-pound turkey will serve 12 people.
Unwrap turkey, remove the giblets and neck and save them for making gravy. Drain juices, and pat turkey dry with clean paper towels.
Tip: If desired, place the giblets in a saucepan half full with water. Boil 30 to 45 minutes. Then chop the meat and add to your gravy while it heats.
Place turkey on a rack in a greased roasting pan or broiler pan.
If desired, tuck wingtips under turkey. This helps hold the skin in place and stabilizes the turkey for carving.
Rub turkey all over with 1/4 cup softened butter (half of a stick). Generously sprinkle turkey with salt and pepper.
For extra flavor, stuff a cut-up onion and a few pieces of celery with leaves in the turkey.
Tie legs together with kitchen twine.
Tip: Be sure to wash your hands after working with raw turkey.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Roast turkey 2 hours, loosely covered with foil, basting once or twice with melted butter. Uncover and roast 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer or until turkey is done, basting often. Turkey is done when the juices run clear and a meat thermometer inserted registers at least 165°F.
When you’re ready to carve the turkey, remove the wings first, and then the thighs. When carving the breast meat, slice close to the carcass. Once you have the meat off the bone, you can separate the thighs into thighs and drumsticks, and carve the breast meat into individual slices.
Refrigerate any leftover turkey within 2 hours of cooking.
Be sure to check out our Ultimate Leftover Turkey Sandwich recipe too!