Turkey Roasting 101
Roasting a turkey can be a bit intimidating, especially if it’s your first time or you’re entertaining a houseful of hungry guests! We hope that this handy guide will help you through the steps with sanity intact.
Preparing the Turkey:
Remove the turkey from the fridge about an hour before roasting. Remove the packaging, then remove the neck bone and the bag of giblets from the cavity. You may boil the neck bone and giblets in a few cups of water to make a turkey stock, if desired. This will come in handy if you’re making turkey gravy or planning a leftover turkey soup after Thanksgiving.
Set the turkey breast-side-up on the roasting rack and let it sit. This allows the meat to come closer to room temperature so that it cooks more evenly and allows the skin to dry so that it can get crispy while roasting.
Heat the oven to 450 F and place the oven rack in the bottom third of your oven. If you brined your turkey, there’s no need to do anything else to prepare the turkey for roasting. If you did not brine the turkey, rub it will a mixture of butter, salt & pepper. You may also stuff the cavity of the turkey with roughly chopped onions, garlic, lemons, and/or fresh herbs, if desired. Note that stuffing the turkey will increase your turkey cooking time.
Roasting the Turkey:
Pour two cups of broth or water into your roasting pan. Place the turkey breast-side-down on the roasting rack, place the turkey in the oven, and reduce heat to 350 F. Roast for 30 minutes, then flip the turkey back to breast-side-up for the remainder of the cooking time. This helps keep the breast juicy and prevents it from burning. If this sounds like a hassle, simply cook breast-side-up for the entire cooking time and tent with foil if the breast begins to get too brown.
Cook your turkey for 13 minutes per pound. A 14-pound turkey will take about 3 hours to cook. Keep in mind that this is a general rule of thumb and cooking times will vary slightly if you stuffed your turkey, brined it, trussed the legs, etc. The best way to ensure that your turkey is done is to use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the meat. The temperature should be checked in three places – the breast, the outer thigh, and the inside of the thigh. The meat should be at least 165 F.
Basting the Turkey:
Every 45 minutes during the roasting process, remove the turkey from the oven, quickly close the oven door to avoid unnecessary heat loss, and baste the turkey in its pan drippings using a baster or spoon. For extra crispy golden skin, baste the turkey the final time with melted butter.
Resting the Turkey:
When the turkey temperature reaches an internal temperature of 165 F, remove it from the oven, remove the entire rack, and set the turkey and the rack on a cutting board. Tent with foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This step is crucial for keeping the juices in the meat and also gives the meat time to cool, making it easier to carve and handle.
Carving the Turkey:
Carve the turkey the same way you would carve a chicken. Remove the wings first, then the thighs, then the breast. Separate the thighs and drumsticks, then slice the meat into desired serving sizes on a platter.
Serve & Enjoy!