How to Roast a Good Turkey

I've roasted a few turkeys since Derek and I married in 2003. This year was my best one. When it came out of the oven, perfectly roasted, my husband asked me why I wasn't taking a picture of it. He was giving me a hard time. I think it drives him crazy how often I take photos of food. (I would have, but there were 19 people in my home. I didn't think I could do it easily with the lighting I had available.)

(Yes, Big Sister requested the drumstick. She ate 80% of it on her own, along with the rest of her dinner. Her dad helped her to finish it.)
How to roast a good turkey, with advice from a former turkey farmer.

Fresh or Frozen Turkey?

I'll let you decide if a fresh or frozen turkey is best. But I caution you to be sure to allow adequate time for thawing a frozen turkey. It's typically suggested to allow one day for every 5 pounds of turkey. I always give it an extra day.

Frozen Turkey Tip

Grandma suggests the night before you roast your turkey, remove it from the packaging. Remove the neck and any other parts. Take this time to remove any ice still within the cavities. Run cold water over and in the turkey. Dry the turkey. Place it in your prepared roasting pan. Place a large wet towel over the turkey. 

If the turkey is completely thawed, you can season it if desired. I make a mixture of paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper and rub it on the turkey. Seasoning is completely optional.

Prep the Turkey for Roasting

If you placed a towel on the turkey, remove it. Rub butter all over turkey or spray with Pam. Place chopped carrots, celery, and onion in the cavity of the turkey.

Roast the Turkey

Place turkey in an oven preheated to 425° on the lowest rack. Roasting at the high temperature for one hour browns the turkey. After one hour, reduce heat to 325°. Roast for two or more additional hours. The breast of the turkey should reach at least 157° before removing from the oven. As you allow the turkey to rest, the internal temperature will continue to rise to 165°. If you need to use your oven for other foods, use this turkey tip to keep your turkey steaming HOT for HOURS. (It's still steaming HOT after two to three hours.)

Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes and then carve as desired.

How do you prefer to cook your turkey? 

~ Annette
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  1. The way I've heard to roast a turkey perfectly (and have it be moist) is to cook it upside down for the first few hours, allowing the juice from the dark meat to flow down into the white. Then you flip the bird for the final hour (or so?) and roast the top. And if you are feeling like making sure of the moistness, use cheese cloth! I ate the most moist turkey EVER this Thanksgiving and it restored my faith in turkey (which I normally don't like).

  2. Huh, that would explain why our turkeys are often still somewhat frozen when it reaches Thanksgiving.


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