This is a summary of my turkey cooking tips. For more detail, check out the Web site at the bottom of the page.
Purchase your turkey far enough in advance to allow it to completely thaw out in the refrigerator. You will need one day for each 5 pounds of weight.
On the day of cooking, remove turkey from the outer bag. It is best to do this in the sink to prevent contaminating counter tops. Remove the bags of giblets and neck pieces from the inside of the bird. Rinse inside and outside of the turkey with running water.
Wash your hands.
Grease the bottom and sides of the baking pan.
Place washed and drained turkey in the pan.
Rub turkey with canola oil.
Wash your hands and any utensils that were in contact with the raw turkey.
Using soap and hot water, wash any counter tops that were in contact with the turkey.
Insert thermometer into thickest area of the inner thigh.
Sprinkle the breast and leg area with pepper and seasoned salt such as Lawry?s salt.
Loosely tent the breast and leg area of the turkey with aluminum foil. Do not wrap it tightly. Cover the cavity opening with foil.
Place turkey in preheated oven at 300?325 degrees.
General guide for unstuffed turkey:
16?18 pounds 3?4 hours 18?20 pounds 4?4 ½ hours 20?24 pounds 4½-5 ½ hours
Bake until temperature reaches about 140 degrees in the thigh. Remove aluminum foil tent.
Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake until breast is beautifully brown and temperature is 160 - 165 degrees in the thigh.
Be flexible with the serving timing of your meal. You may need extra time to make sure that the temperature reaches 165 degree.
Remove turkey from the oven and let set for at least 30 minutes to allow the juices to distribute throughout the turkey. This is an important step to make sure you have a wonderful juicy turkey.
Enjoy the day and enjoy the leftovers!