How to Roast a Turkey — A No Fail Guide to a Delicious Bird

Golden, seasoned — gobble, gobble indeed

I remember a few years ago, I was given the task of baking the Thanksgiving turkey. Now I’d watched my mother prepare a turkey for years and years but I still had NO idea what I was doing. I did a little research and set to work. The result was a lovely juicy turkey. I’ve made several since and switched up my methods a bit. This is the surefire way to get a beautiful bird.

You Will Need

8lb-24lb  Butterball Turkey, fresh or thawed*
Garlic Powder
4 sprigs fresh Rosemary
4 sprigs fresh Thyme
1 Lemon sliced
2 stalks celery
2 cloves garlic halved
1 Onion, quartered

*Whether your turkey is frozen or fresh you want to store it breast side down until thawed and ready to cook. This makes for a lot of juice in the breast meat.

Step 1. Remove the outer wrapping. Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse the turkey and cavity thoroughly. (I admittedly forgot to remove the innards from the darn thing the first time… don’t do that)

Step 2. Set turkey on wax paper. Rub a generous amount of room temperature butter on turkey. It gets messy but it’s fun. I used to call this tickling the turkey when I was a girl — kids love helping on this part.

Step 3. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Don’t forget to season UNDER the skin! You want flavor all the way through after all. I also recommend placing one sprig of fresh herbs under the breast skin. It’s amazing what happens. Place lemon, celery, garlic, onion, and remaining fresh herbs in the cavity of the bird.

Step 4. Place bird in roasting pan — some people line the bottom with foil. I do not as it makes basting more difficult in my opinion. Try to make sure the bird isn’t touching the sides of the pan. You will end up with charred spots if it is stuffed into a pan that is too small. Prepare the tent for the pan. Simply take your Reynold’s Wrap Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil and roll it out over your roaster to determine how large your tent will need to be. You won’t use it quite yet but you don’t want to attempt figuring it out in the middle of the cooking process.

Step 5. Place turkey in oven. Let cook uncovered for about 40 minutes, then place the foil tent over the turkey. You want to make sure your turkey does not touch the foil as it may char where there is contact. Cook the turkey according to the time indicated on the packaging. If you tossed it or it doesn’t have a guide, go ahead and use this awesome calculator and conversion chart from Butterball. This will help guide you on when to remove the tent again. Once the bird starts making juices you will want to baste the turkey with the drippings in the pan. Do this every 30 minutes until done (course if you skip a time or two it won’t kill anything)

Step 6. When you are in the final hour of cooking, go ahead and remove the tent to finish browning the bird. Continue basting and make sure you watch your meat thermometer. While the calculator is great and the rule of 15 minutes per pound is pretty accurate, each bird and oven is different. A meat thermometer is your safest bet. Place the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone). When it has reached 165 degrees the turkey should be done. Retest a few times just to be sure. If your turkey browns faster than it finishes cooking, don’t worry about it. Just recover with the foil tent and it will be fine.

Step 7. Once your turkey is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

My loving family enjoying dinner way too much for picture time.

The thought of making the centerpiece dish of Thanksgiving can be intimidating but it’s really not bad at all. All it takes is a little butter, a little patience, and a lot of slow roasted love. I won’t be making the turkey this year since we’re going to family’s for dinner but I do look forward to my Christmas gobbler. If I’m lucky, my mother may even teach me how to make her cornbread dressing. Here’s hoping, I guess.