The tips and techniques described below are all included in the vidoes on how to prep, stuff and roast a turkey.  They are included here for brevity and so you have them as a reference when you are cooking.  See also, "Roasting a Turkey:  Frequently Asked Questions."

  1. Make sure your turkey is at room temperature before it goes in the oven.  Take it out of the refrigerator 40 minutes to an hour before roasting.
  2. Remove any goodies from inside the turkey, such as the neck and bag of giblets.  You can discard them or use them to make gravy and/or dressing.
  3. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold running water, then pat the turkey dry with paper towels.  Rub the skin with softened butter or olive oil to keep it moist, and be sure to salt and pepper the whole bird, inside and out.
  4. If you plan to stuff the bird, make sure the stuffing is loose in the cavity; the cavity shouldn’t be filled to bursting (there should be room for air circulation during cooking).
  5. Tuck the turkey legs into the plastic widget that sometimes comes with the bird, or use cotton kitchen string to tie the legs together.  This helps the bird roast more evenly.
  6. Tuck the turkey wings behind the turkey.
  7. Roast the turkey on a rack set in a large roasting pan.  Add a cup of water to the roasting pan so that the turkey juices don’t evaporate and burn when they drip from the turkey.  Add more water as necessary during roasting.
  8. Start the turkey at a high temperature, (450F or 500F), with the oven rack at the lowest setting in the oven.
  9. Once the top of the turkey is nicely browned (about 30 minutes later), turn the oven temperature down to 350F, cover the turkey with foil and rotate the pan 180 degrees.
  10. A 12 to 14 pound turkey should take about 2 1/2 hours to cook if you’ve followed the above steps.  Start testing the internal temperature once the turkey has been cooking for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours.
  11. To test the internal temperature, place an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the breast without touching the bone.  At 155F to 160F your turkey breast has finished cooking (the temperature will rise up to 10F as the turkey rests.)
  12. Now test the legs:  insert your thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh.  The legs should be consumed at a higher temperature for food safety.  At 165F your turkey legs are cooked through.
  13. If the breast meat has reached 160F but the legs aren’t done, you have 2 options.  First, you can take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest on a cutting board, loosely covered with foil, for about 20 minutes.  Cut the legs off at the thigh, return them to the rack in the roasting pan, cover them with foil and continue cooking the legs for 20 to 30 more minutes or until the desired doneness is reached.  Your second option is just to leave the whole turkey in the oven until the legs are done.  This may dry out the breast meat a bit but you’ll have a whole, beautiful turkey to present at the table.  The choice is yours.
  14. Once the turkey is done, remove the stuffing from the cavities immediately.  Place the stuffing in a baking dish to be reheated prior to serving.  (For food safety, the stuffing should be heated to 165F.)
  15. Let the turkey rest on a cutting board for at least 20 minutes before carving.  If you tent it loosely with foil it will help retain the heat.
  16. Carve the turkey and serve it on warm plates with hot gravy.  Enjoy every bite.