Whole turkey (10–14 lb), fully thawed*
1–1.5 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
¼ cup oil (canola or olive oil) or melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove turkey from bag and place on rack in roasting pan or rimmed sheet. Discard any juices from the bag. Using a rack is important for even cooking. If you do not have a rack, use a coil or two made from foil.
- Remove neck and giblets from the turkey cavity, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use in soup or this Mainely Dish turkey gravy recipe.
- Pat turkey down with paper towels to dry off the exterior.
- Brush or rub oil or melted butter over the surface of the turkey.
- Season turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Feel free to add additional seasoning, but do be cautious that some seasonings might burn during the cooking process.
- Place in oven and reduce heat to 325° F. The turkey should need 2.5 to 4 hours to cook.
- Check the turkey every 45 minutes and rotate the baking pan.
- At the 2.5-hour mark, remove the turkey from the oven and check the temperature of the breast and thigh. The breast needs to reach 160° F and the thigh should be somewhat higher at 170° F. Continue cooking the turkey until those temps are attained. If the skin on the breast starts to get too dark, make a foil cover for it.
- When the turkey has reached the specified internal temperature, remove it from the oven and place the turkey on a cutting board to rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour before carving. Tent loosely with foil if turkey will rest more than 30 minutes. Carve turkey and enjoy.
- *Read the UMaine Extension publication Food Safety Facts: Helpful Hints on Handling Turkeys for Thanksgiving for guidelines on safe thawing practices.
Recipe courtesy of Rob Dumas, University of Maine Food Science Innovation Coordinator and Facility Manager for the School of Food and Agriculture; Certified Executive Chef, American Culinary Federation.