Thanksgiving Turkey| Christy Rost
- 1 20-pound turkey, fresh or frozen
- stuffing mixture, if desired
- 3 tablespoons butter
If the turkey is frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator 2 to 3 days before cooking. If purchased fresh, keep it refrigerated until ready to prepare.
Early in the day, remove wrappings from the turkey and place it in a clean sink under running water. Remove all giblets and other loose turkey parts. Save the giblets for gravy, keeping well-wrapped and chilled.
Wash the turkey inside and out with plenty of water, remembering to clean inside the tail flap, where the giblets are often packaged and stored by the poultry processor. Pat the turkey dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Season the inside cavities with salt and transfer the turkey to a large roasting pan.
Wash sink and counter areas with soap and water to remove all traces of raw turkey juices and wash your hands well with soap and water before preparing the stuffing.
If stuffing the turkey, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Stuff the turkey's tail flap with a small amount of stuffing to create a rounded appearance, then tuck the tail flap under to secure it. Stuff the large cavity loosely with stuffing mixture. Spoon excess stuffing into a buttered casserole dish, cover, and chill until 1 hour before serving. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 minutes more to brown the top.
Tie turkey legs together; rub the skin with butter. Wash your hands thoroughly, then cover the turkey with a tent of foil, taking care the foil doesn't come in contact with the skin.
Roast the turkey in a preheated 400 degree oven 30 minutes; then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees, and continue roasting according to the time chart printed on the turkey's original wrapping, or 20 minutes per pound.
Roasting time for a 20-pound, stuffed turkey is approximately 5 ½ to 6 hours. Baste the turkey occasionally, if desired. Remove foil during final 30 minutes to brown the skin. Remove turkey from the oven, cover it with foil and allow it to stand 10 minutes. Remove foil and spoon out all the stuffing from both cavities. Carve turkey.