Everyone has their way of roasting turkey. I’ve been using the guide from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook for more turkeys than I care to remember.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Fill your sink with hot soapy water with a little oxygen bleach added. This is to prevent cross contamination from the turkey to anything else you touch. Each time you handle your turkey be sure to wash and rinse your hands well.
Pat your turkey dry. Rub soft butter all over the turkey. Sprinkle generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper and place, breast down, on the a parchment covered baking rack, or on a bed of coarsely chopped onions, celery, carrots, in a roasting pan. This is my favorite way of roasting turkey. You get a rich, deep brown gravy.
Melt a little butter with a little water and baste the turkey every 20 minutes with this mixture until enough pan drippings for basting have accumulated in the bottom of the roasting pan.
Cook 15 minutes per pound if the turkey weighs less than 16 pounds; 12 minutes per pound if it is heavier. Turn breast up after one hour if the turkey weighs less than 12 pounds; after 1 1/2 hours if it weighs more. When the meat thermometer registers 170F in the breast meat, and 185F in the thigh meat, remove the turkey to a warm platter and cover loosely with foil. Let rest 15 minutes before carving.
Make your turkey gravy by scrapping up the lovely brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Use turkey or chicken stock and thicken with flour. If you have roasted your turkey on a bed of vegetables these will have caramelized to a deep brown. Add some chicken stock to your pan and scrap the bits of vegetables off the pan. Strain into a large deep sauce pan and make your gravy your favorite way. Be sure to taste your gravy, adding more salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.
Here’s the thing. The turkey is NEVER going to be warm. So don’t worry about it. Just make sure your lovely gravy is very, very hot. Pour a little gravy over the cut turkey on the platter, then pass the biggest gravy boat you can find.
Here’s the answer to “is this turkey is done?” Use your instant-read thermometer.
A few days before Thanksgiving, calibrate your instant-read thermometer. To make certain the reading is accurate, bring a pan of water to a boil. The thermometer should read 212F when the stem is inserted halfway into the boiling water. To adjust the reading, rotate the nut just under the face of the thermometer (at the top of the stem) or take the difference into account when you use the thermometer.
Happy gobble gobble.