Does the thought of roasting a turkey make you feel like hyperventilating? It shouldn't. It's not as difficult as you may think. It's like baking a large chicken. Really.
You will need:
Roasting pan with rack
Aluminum foil (optional)
By now I hope you've already purchased your Thanksgiving turkey and have it thawing in the fridge. It takes 1 day for every 4 pounds of turkey to thaw. That means that if your turkey weighs in at 20 pounds it'll take 5 days to thaw.
Now don't panic if your super large turkey isn't thawing out yet. You can thaw it faster. It just requires a lot of work and attention.
To speed thaw your turkey you are going to have to take over your sink. Leaving your turkey in it's original packaging (with no rips or tears), place the turkey in the sink and fill it with cold water. Please do not fill your sink and then put the turkey in. You'll be mopping your floor if you do.
It'll take about 30 minutes for every pound of turkey and you will have to change the water often to keep it cold. And if your turkey can not be completely submerged in the water, flip it over often so no part of the turkey warms beyond the temp of the water.
Now that your turkey is thawed you can cook it on the big day.
- Remove the gibblets from the neck cavity and discard. Rinse the turkey in and out with cold water and pat dry.
- Stuff the turkey just before roasting not ahead of time. Fill the neck with stuffing first. Fasten the neck skin to the back of the turkey with a skewer. Fold the wings across the back so the tips are touching. Fill the body cavity lightly with stuffing. Stuffing expands during cooking so do not over stuff! Tuck the drumsticks under the band of skin at the tail.
- Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Do not add water or cover the turkey. You can loosely tent aluminum foil over the turkey later if you feel it's browning too quickly (I never have).
- Roast the turkey at 325* according to the following time table.
- 8 to 12 pounds - 3 to 3 1/2 hours
- 12 to 14 pounds - 3 1/2 to 4 hours
- 14 to 18 pounds - 4 to 4 1/4 hours
- 18 to 20 pounds - 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
- 20 to 24 pounds - 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours
When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and let it stand 15 minutes before carving it.
Now go ahead and dazzle everyone with your amazing Thanksgiving turkey!