We made a duet of Oven Roasted Turkey today for my son’s Boy Scout Court of Honor ceremony and Holiday party. The turkey came out juicy, tender and delicious. We received many compliments from the over 35 folks in attendance of tonight’s ceremonies but I must confess, I did very little fussing over these birds and they turn out juicy every time.
I think people are intimidated by roasting a whole turkey just because of the size of the bird but it’s really no more difficult or any more time consuming than prepping a chicken to bake. You just need to follow a few simple guidelines and you’ll be producing succulent turkey every time. I don’t usually follow a timed bake per pound rule more than I look at what temperature the bird is on the thermometer I put deep into the thigh. A good rule of thumb, however, is about 15 minutes per pound un-stuffed and about 25 minutes a pound stuffed. The two I cooked today were cooked un-stuffed but traditionally I do stuff my Holiday birds for family gatherings. Following the directions below, the birds turn out delicious every time. Enjoy!
- Preheat oven to 325 °F. Remove turkey from bag. Drain juices and pat dry with clean paper towels.
- Place turkey in a shallow roasting pan, 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep. If you have a roasting rack place the Turkey on top of this first, if not, it’s okay without it.
- Place thawed or fresh turkey, breast up in the roasting pan.
- Brush skin lightly with vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray to prevent the skin from drying. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme, to taste.
- Insert oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the lower part of the thigh muscle but not touching the bone. When thigh is up to temperature and if turkey is stuffed, move thermometer to center of stuffing. Stuffing should be 165 degrees when done.
- Place your turkey in the pre-heated oven at 325 °F.
- When the turkey is about 2/3 done, loosely cover the breast and top of drumsticks with a piece of lightweight foil to prevent overcooking.
- Start checking the temperature about 30 minutes before end of calculated cooking times.
- Your turkey is done when the meat thermometer reaches the following temperatures: 180 °F deep in the thigh. At this temperature juices should run clear, not reddish pink, when thigh muscle is pierced and 165 °F in the center of the stuffing, if turkey is stuffed.
- Lift roasted turkey onto a platter.
- Before removing stuffing and carving, let your turkey stand 15 minutes to allow juices to redistribute, about 15 minutes.