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November 22, 2006

How to Cook Oven Roasted Turkey

by pat — Categories: Belch.Com, Enablers1 Comment

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I have been using a recipe I found on Clemson University’s website for the past few years (apparently cribbed from Butterball), and added my own touches to make a consistent, delicious holiday bird. The Clemson website also has the best guide for thawing, smoking, stuffing and deep-frying that I have found anywhere, so refer to that site for more help.

This is my recipe to cook the best, picture perfect, oven-roasted turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Enjoy!
Roasting Method Only: The open pan roasting method will consistently create a juicy, tender, golden brown, picture-perfect turkey.

  1. Place thawed or fresh turkey, breast up, on a flat rack in a shallow pan, 2 to 2 inches deep.
  2. Remove giblets.
  3. Using a basting brush, use 1/8 cup of peanut oil to lightly coat the whole turkey. Peanut oil results in a beautiful crispy red skin. If there are peanut allergies, consider olive oil, melted butter or vegetable oil as a substitute.
  4. Mix and grind together 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp fresh rosemary, 2 tsp cracked black pepper, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp parsley flakes. Sprinkle mixture on oil-coated turkey.
  5. Insert oven-safe meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh.
  6. Place in a preheated 325 F oven.
  7. When the skin is a light golden color and the turkey is about two-thirds done, shield the breast loosely with a tent of lightweight foil to prevent overcooking of the breast.
  8. Use the roasting schedule in the table below as a guideline; start checking for doneness a half-hour before recommended end times.
  9. Turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures
  10. Let turkey stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set.

A word about basting: Most turkeys do not require basting. Constantly opening the oven for basting cools the oven and adds time to the roasting. The turkey will be tender and juicy without basting. You can remove juices during roasting for gravy and stuffing, but basting will wash off the oil and spices.

Approximate ROASTING TIMES FOR TURKEY (325 F oven temperature)Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of both turkey and stuffing.
Size of Turkey Unstuffed Timing Stuffed Timing
8-12 lbs. 2 – 3 Hours 3 – 3 Hours
12-14 lbs. 3 – 3 Hours 3 – 4 Hours
14-18 lbs. 3 – 4 Hours 4 – 4 Hours
18-20 lbs. 4 – 4 Hours 4 – 4 Hours
20-24 lbs. 4 – 5 Hours 4 – 5 Hours

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