Thanksgiving Turkey

Making a good juicy turkey is something of an art. Success has a lot to do with selecting the right bird and the cooking method. A fresh hen turkey will nearly always produce the best result. Frozen or pre-basted birds are good, but certainly not the best, in my opinion. The right stuffing for a turkey will also make for a good bird.
  • 1 turkey, 12 lbs. or larger
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red or pink wine

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees while preparing the dressing and stuffing the turkey. Stuff the dressing mixture into the body and neck cavities of the turkey. Any remaining dressing can be put into a casserole dish for later baking.

Once the turkey is stuffed, rub the bird with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the bird into a large roasting pan and place into the oven, uncovered. Allow the bird to brown at 500 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes. This high heat will seal the juices into the bird resulting in a much juicier end product. In addition, the heat also kills any bacteria, such as salmonella, that may be present on the bird. After searing at 500 degrees, reduce the heat to 325 degrees and cover the bird.

Allow the bird to cook for 20 minutes per pound of weight. After the first hour, begin basting the bird at 30 minute intervals, using the juices which build up on the bottom of the roasting pan. About halfway through the cooking process, pour a little red or pink wine over the bird. This will produce a better tasting gravy. About ½ hour before the bird is done, remove the cover and allow the skin to brown. At this time you may also begin baking any addition dressing.

Once the bird is done, remove from the oven and let sit for approximately 15 minutes. This part of the process is essential so that the juices may be reabsorbed into the meat as the temperature of the bird decreases.

Finally, spoon out the dressing into a serving bowl. The turkey may now be sliced in preparation for serving.

  • Yields: 12 or more servings
  • Preparation Time: 2 to 4 hours
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