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Roasting a Turkey,
for Beginners and Experienced Cooks

basic recipe for roasting a turkey

Does the thought of roasting a turkey make you a bit nervous?
I've provided detailed directions in this recipe to help you roast a moist and delicious bird!

Roasting a turkey really isn't all that hard. The trouble is that many people feel pressured to produce a perfectly browned bird, have it come out of the oven at just the right time, and have it be incredibly moist. That puts a lot of pressure on even the experienced home cook!

This is how I cook a turkey. I've included detailed directions that covers everything from what to do with the giblets, how you should position the turkey in the roasting rack, and even how to use a baster!

If you are cooking a full Thanksgiving style dinner and need a little more help than just a turkey recipe, see information on my Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas E-Book  shown on the right.

Recipe for Roasting Turkey

a 14-16 pound whole turkey (adjust the size as needed, usually plan on 1/2 to 1 pound per person )

Seasoned Butter Rub
1/2 stick (1/4 cup), unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Basting Sauce
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove minced garlic (optional)
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (only if the turkey is not pre-basted or has not beenbrined)

Optional (to put inside the large cavity while roasting):
1 small onion, peeled
a lemon
2 stalks of celery, cut in half
1 sprig of fresh sage

Preheat the oven to 325'F. Prepare the seasoned butter in one bowl and combine the basting sauce ingredients in a small saucepan.

Oil a roasting rack and set it inside the roasting pan, near the sink.

Gather several paper towels, a baster, pre-cut kitchen string, and disposable rubber gloves (if you prefer). Prepare the bird by removing the giblets, which may be in a small disposable bag inside the cavity of the bird. Rinse the inside and outside of the turkey with a low stream of cold water. Make sure that excess water is drained from both the neck cavity and the large inner cavity of the turkey. Place the drained turkey, breast side up, on the oiled rack in the roasting pan. Blot the inside and outside of the turkey with the paper towels.

Using your hands (this is why the rubber gloves are helpful!) massage the seasoned butter mixture into the inside and outside of the bird. If you would like, you can place a peeled onion, several stalks of celery, a sprig of fresh sage, and a lemon inside the cavity of the turkey. tie the legs together and the wings down with kitchen string.

Roast the turkey at 325'F for approximately 15 minutes per pound. While the turkey is roasting, simmer the basting sauce over low heat for 2-3 minutes, and then remove from the heat. While the turkey is roasting you can baste it occasionally with the melted basting butter, which can be reheated if necessary. If you've never used a baster before, go slowly so that the sauce doesn't spatter inside the oven!

Once the outside of the turkey is a nice golden brown color, then lightly tent it with foil to prevent it from getting over brown. Use a meat thermometer, placed in the deepest part of the thigh to assure that the bird is fully cooked; 165'F. Even if your turkey comes with a pop up timer, it's recommended to also use a meat thermometer. Once done, remove the turkey from the oven and let it sit on the counter, tented with foil, for about 20 minutes before carving.

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