Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey tips: Clean your oven!

You can use any roasting pan, including a disposable one. If you use a disposable pan, make sure to put it on a large sturdy baking sheet.

Defrosting: It takes about 1 day for every 4 pounds of turkey. Do the math! If you have missed the deadline, at least a full day before (so you aren’t worrying about it overnight), place the turkey, in its original wrapping, in a bucket or sick of cold water and leave it for about 10 hours or about 30 minutes per pound. Butterball recommends that you change the water every half hour. If you haven’t started the process the day before, either get a fresh turkey or order out.

1 turkey, 12 to 22 pounds
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 to 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 lemon, quartered
2 rosemary branches, about 4½ to 5½ inches long, or 2 thyme springs, about 3 to 4 inches long
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water

1. Place one oven rack in the lowest position and remove the remaining racks. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Line a 12-inch V-shaped roasting rack with aluminum foil. Poke holes in the foil with the tip of a skewer or knife. Place the rack in a large shallow roasting pan.

3. Remove the giblets (neck, heart, and gizzard) and set them aside to make the gravy. Discard the liver. Rinse the turkey several times, inside and out, with cold running water. Thoroughly pat dry with paper towels; the turkey skin should be as dry as possible.

4. Place the onions, carrots, celery, lemon quarters, and rosemary in a medium-size bowl and toss to combine. Set aside.

5. Brush the turkey with 2 tablespoons butter; then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Set the turkey, breast-side down, on a prepared rack. Brush the turkey with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Fill the cavity with half the onion mixture. Scatter the remaining mixture in the roasting pan; pour water over vegetables.

6. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 1 hour. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and transfer it to a countertop; close the oven door. Do not place the turkey on the oven door! Lower the temperature to 325 degrees.

7. Using a clean dish towel or two pot holders, turn the turkey over so it is breast-side up on the rack. Return the roasting pan to the oven and cook until the dark thigh meat registers 170-180 degrees, the legs move freely, and the juices run clear (not pinkish red), about 2 hours depending on the size of the bird. Remove from the oven and let rest, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Throw the dish towel in the laundry.

From Warehouse to Your House: More than 250 Simple, Spectacular Recipes to Cook, Store, and Share When You Buy in Quantity (Simon & Schuster, 2006)