Cut plastic wrap off turkey in kitchen sink, as it will be drippy.
Legs will sometimes be held together with a flap of skin or a metal clip. Work one leg out of the clip.
Reach into one cavity and remove the dreaded neck.
Reach into the other cavity and remove the disgusting little bag of “giblets”.
Pour salt into each cavity and then rinse out under cool water.
Shake salt all over the outside of the bird and rub lightly with your hands, then rinse.
This is where you might see a couple of random feathers. Pluck them out, and be happy you weren’t brought up in the old country where you would have to grab a chicken out in the yard and break its neck.
If you are NOT stuffing the bird, simply hook the leg back in to the clip or skin flap and place the turkey in a roasting pan, breast side up. You can rub olive oil over it, or put your hand in a sandwich baggie and rub all over with margarine or softened butter.
Use a roasting pan OR use two foil pans together for support. (And, if you’re like me, you might poke a hole in a single foil pan and have a leak.)
Most people suggest using a “tent” of foil over the bird, to protect it from drying out. I usually wrap a part of the tent onto the ends of the pan, to secure it.
Place in pre-heated 325 degree oven and plan on about 15 min. for each pound.
325 degrees is so low, that I usually roast a large turkey (18-20 lbs.) for 5.5 to 6 hours.
Now the FUN part! If you like, every hour you can use a turkey baster to gather up the juices in the bottom of the pan and squirt them over the top of the bird.
You can remove the foil tent for the last hour or so of roasting to get a golden brown color.
If you use a “roasting bag” just remember that the cooking takes about half the time.
If stuffing the turkey:
After the salt and rinsing for cleaning the bird, put the turkey into the roasting pan at 400 degrees for about 10 to 15 min. to kill bacteria on the inside of the cavity. Then remove it from the oven, and put the temp. back down to 325 while you are working on the stuffing. You will see that if you take the bird (use pot holders as it’s HOT) and tilt it, bloody fluid will run out of the cavity. Most people don’t do this, but it runs into the stuffing during cooking. (gag) Vampires can skip this part.
Then, make your stuffing according to package directions. Stuff both cavities of the turkey, firmly, but don’t pack it it too tightly. If you have leftover stuffing, you can always pop that in the oven during the latter part of the cooking process in an oven safe dish or even in foil.
Gravy? Why would I try to make that? It comes in jars at the grocery store!