How to Roast the Perfect Turkey

Even if its not the holidays, roasting a turkey can still make for many great meals and it can even save you some money since your cooking such a large and versatile food!  First things first, your going to need a few things.  To roast the perfect turkey your going to need a defrosted turkey, tin foil, 1 stick of butter, salt, garlic pepper, paprika, turkey baster and a deep sided oven safe pan for roasting your turkey in.  Now that you have all of that out and together you should let your butter soften and preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once your butter has softened you should take your turkey out of its package.  Now be careful and do this over the sink as its highly likely that your turkey has a lot of liquids and what not in the package with it.  Now that you have your turkey out of the package you need to remove the neck and giblets that are typically tucked away in the front and rear spaces of the turkey.  Also, while you have your turkey near the sink, give it a quick shower, don’t use soap or anything but give it a good rinse and then place the turkey into the pan.

So now that your turkey is cleaned and ready to go you can get the butter ready for it.  To do this, use the entire stick of softened butter and place it in a bowl.  Mix in a teaspoon of salt and 2-3 teaspoons of garlic pepper (if you don’t have garlic pepper you can use 1-2 teaspoons of regular pepper and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder if you have it).  I highly suggest removing your rings and rolling up your sleeves for the next step.

For some people this can get a little gross but it will make your turkey so yummy that it will be worth it!  Very gently push your fingers between the turkey’s skin and its meat and reach back as far as you can and make as large of an opening as you can with out tearing the skin (do this on both ends of the turkey but try not to separate the piece of skin that connects it to the top of the turkey).  Once you have your pockets created under the skin you will want to take a third of the butter and stuff it under the skin on each side of the turkey and sort of mush it around and then take the remaining third and rub it all over the outside of the skin.  Now that your turkey is all buttered up you can sprinkle a little paprika over the top of the whole turkey and cover it with foil.  When covering your turkey with foil you should make sure that the dull side is facing the turkey and the shinny side is facing out towards the oven.

Your turkey is now ready to go in the oven and this is when the tricky part starts to take place.  I suggest cooking the turkey unstuffy and these are the times for that;

8-12 pounds -> 2.5-3 hours

12-14 pounds -> 3.25-3.5 hours

14-18 pounds -> 3.5-4 hours

18-20 pounds -> 4-4.5 hours

20-24 pounds -> 4.5-5 hours

24-30 pounds -> 5-5.5 hours

I suggest checking on and basting your turkey after it has been cooking for 2 hours and then every 45 minutes there after.  Once you have reached your final cooking time you can remove the foil completely and let it sit in the oven for an additional 15 minutes to let the skin brown up a bit more.  Now that your turkey is fully cooked you can remove it from the oven and set it on the counter to rest before you cut it.  While its resting you can finish up the rest of the meal and use the juices around the turkey to make a great gravy!  Let your turkey rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting.

Filed Under: Food & Cooking


About the Author: Leona Kesler is a head-chef at a very popular food restaurant in New York. Also she is a blogger who shares her experiences, tips, and other informative details about food and cooking. Her recipes are featured on many magazines.

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