1 Whole Turkey, any size, thawed if frozen.
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth, water, or other liquid
- 2 Sticks (1 Cup) Melted unsalted butter or oil for basting (optional)
You will also need a Roasting Pan, Roasting Rack (or something to lift the turkey off the pan), Turkey baster, brush or ladle.
Prepping Turkey. Thirty minutes to an hour before roasting, take the turkey out of the refrigerator. Remove any packaging and the bag of giblets (check in the body cavity and in the neck cavity). Set the turkey breast side up on the roasting rack set in a roasting pan and let it sit while the oven preheats. This takes the chill off the meat, which helps the meat cook faster and more evenly.
- Preheat the oven to 450*F. Position an oven rack in the bottom third of your oven, remove any rack above it, and heat the oven to 450F. if you have not brined your turkey, pub it with some salt and pepper before putting it in the oven.
- Add Liquid to the roasting pan. When ready to roast, pour the broth or water into the roasting pan.
- Place the turkey into the oven and turn down the heat. Place the turkey into the oven and turn down the heat to 350F.
- Roast the turkey. the rule of thumb for cooking a turkey is 13 minutes per pound. However, some factors like brining the bird, cooking with an empty un-stuffed cavity, and leaving the legs un-trussed will contribute to much faster cooking. Plan on the 13-minute-per-pound rule, but start checking the temperature of your turkey about halfway through the scheduled cooking time to gauge how fast it’s cooking.
- Baste the turkey every 45 minutes. Every 45 minutes, remove the turkey from the oven, close the oven door (don’t let that heat out!), and baste the turkey all over. To baste, tilt the pan if needed and use a turkey baster or spoon to scoop up the pan liquids and drizzle them on top of the turkey. Basting with pan juices cools the surface of the turkey and slows down cooking, which in turn keeps the breast meat cooking at close to the same rate as the legs and thighs. In the last 45 minutes or so of cooking, you can also baste the turkey with melted butter or oil. This helps crisp up the skin and turn it into a beautiful deep golden brown.
- Check the turkey’s temperature. Begin checking the turkey’s temperature about halfway through the estimated cooking time. Check the temperature in three places: The breast, outer thigh, and inside thigh. In every case, the meat should be at least 165F when the turkey has finished cooking. If any place is under that temperature, put the turkey back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Shield the breast meat with foil if needed to keep it from overcooking.
- Rest the turkey before carving. Remove the turkey from the oven. Grab one side of the roasting rack with an oven mitt and tilt the whole pan so the liquids inside the turkey cavity run out into the pan. (These juices are used to make the gravy.) Then, lift the whole turkey (still on the rack) and transfer it to a clean cutting board. Tent the turkey loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This gives time for the meat to firm up and the juices to be re-absorbed into the muscle tissue, making the turkey easier to slice and taste juicier.