Roast Turkey

Directions for an 18 lb brined turkey.

  1. Remove all oven racks except for one. Set this rack in the next-to-the-lowest position. Preheat the oven to 500°.
  2. Rinse turkey with cold water and then pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Loosely pack turkey with a combination of herbs, carrots, celery, and onion. Keep packing loose. (NOTE: skip the herbs.)
  4. Truss or don’t truss. Not trussing can make the breast meat juicier because the legs can cook faster untrussed.
  5. Cut a piece of foil big enough to cover the turkey’s breast. Mold piece to breast. Remove foil, then grease with soft butter.
  6. Thoroughly rub softened butter all over turkey with your hands to get a nice, even coating.
  7. Add about an inch of hot water to roasting pan.
  8. Place turkey, breast side up, on a V-shaped rack set inside the roasting pan.
  9. Place turkey in oven, neck end first and breast up. Roast turkey until nicely browned, 30–40 minutes.
  10. Apply foil to breast of turkey. Insert thermometer probe directly through foil into deepest part of breast or use an instant read thermometer after 1½ hours, but don’t pierce the skin too much.
  11. Periodically check to see that there’s a little moister in the bottom of the pan.
  12. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and return turkey to oven, foil securely in place. Do not open oven to baste turkey.
  13. Roast until probe registers 165° for breast and 180° for thigh, 2–2½ hours.
  14. Cover turkey with foil and let rest 30 minutes. Turkey will continue to cook a bit.
  15. Save pan drippings for gravy.
  16. Carve turkey.