Open the turkey and remove the wrap. Pat the turkey dry with paper toweling.
Place the neck and giblets without the liver (save for another use) into a 2-quart pot.
On a cutting board and with a knife, remove the wing tips and add to the pot. Cover with cold water and place the pot on a medium high flame to prepare broth for gravy. Bring the water to a simmer and lower the heat to a very light, trickling simmer. Cook for 90 minutes and set broth aside to use as a base for gravy or soup.
Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly over the skin and cavity of the bird. Add herbs, if using, and place the turkey, breast side up, on a wire rack in a roasting pan. If you don’t have a rack, use a 2-foot long sheet of foil. Twist and shape the foil into a ring and place under the bird so the turkey will sit elevated and steady in the pan.
Place roasting pan in the oven.
Using the drippings, baste the meat at 30-minute intervals until cooked. To prevent the breast or drumsticks from getting too dark, tent them loosely with foil if necessary as the skin browns to your liking.
Cook until a stem thermometer, placed between the thigh and drumstick, reaches 163°F. The temperature will continue to rise after the bird is removed from the oven.
Let your turkey rest, loosely covered in a warm place, for at least 20 minutes before carving. Resting your turkey allows the juices to permeate the meat.
The breast may cook at a different rate so take the temperature of your thigh and breast at about 2 hours or roasting to estimate the remaining cooking time.
This simple recipe lets the quality of our turkeys shine through. For a boost of flavor and nutrition, incorporate fresh herbs like thyme, savory and sage into gravy, stuffing and other savory dishes. Herbs can also be tucked in the cavity of the turkey or under the skin before roasting, taking care not to puncture the skin.
Plan about 3/4 pound uncooked weight per person. You’ll need a roasting pan, roasting rack (a tin foil ring can be substituted) and a spoon, brush or baster. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1/2 hour or more before cooking to facilitate even cooking and moist meat.
TURKEY COOKING TIMES/TEMPS – Average Cook time is approx. 15 minutes per pound at 325º ( 8–12 lbs is 2 3/4–3 hours, 12–14 lbs is 3–31/4 hours, 14– 18 lbs is 3 3/4–4 1/4 hours, 18–20 lbs is 4 1/4–4 1/2 hours)
1teaspoonblack pepperfreshly ground