Happy Thanksgiving!  Cooking starts early today, that big bird isn’t gonna roast itself, so let’s go!

My mom always made her turkey in the oven in a paper bag.  I’ve done that, but I’ve found that, for me, a roaster is the way to go.  It’s like a big crock pot, you throw the turkey in and just let it go.  That way you can use your time to make all of the other stuff you have planned as well as still have time to visit with people as they show up for dinner.

Ingredients:roaster-rack

1 Whole Turkey  (10-20 lbs)

2-4 TBS butter or margarine

2-4 stalks of celery with leaves

1 onion (medium to large)

1-2 cloves of garlic

Now a lot depends on the size of bird you are making, I have to make a twenty pounder this year.  So I’ll be using a large onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 4 stalks of celery, and 4 Tablespoons of butter.  Again, not going for “healthier” just festive, and really 4 tablespoons of butter isn’t that bad.  Start by thawing your turkey (roughly 24 hrs. for each five pounds in the refrigerator).  Mine was still a little (a lot) frozen last night, so I had to defrost it in water for awhile.

Pull the roasting rack out of the roaster pan, then preheat to 375 degrees.

Rinse and chop the celery in big pieces.  Cut the onion into 4-6 chunks and peel your garlic cloves. Take out your thawed turkey, rinse and remove the neck and the giblets. Stuff the onion, garlic, and celery into the turkey cavity with two tablespoons of butter.  Cut up the other two tablespoons of butter and shove under the skin of the turkey around the breast and on the back if you can.

I place my turkey on the roaster rack breast side down.  The turkey doesn’t come out pretty that way, but it bastes itself and comes out super moist.  I have tried pulling it out of the roaster at 155 degrees and then putting it in the oven to brown, it did not go well and wasn’t worth the hassle. At our house the turkey is cut up before anyone sees it anyway, besides yummy trumps pretty in my book.

Insert the turkey on the rack breast side down into the roaster, be careful it’s hot.  Cook the turkey for 18-20 minutes per pound.  The temperature needs to hit 160 degrees (stick thermometer into the thigh or breast, but don’t hit bone)   If you put your bird breast side down, the pop up temperature thing will not work, so it’s best to use a thermometer.  Once the bird is at 160 degrees, turn off the heat, the turkeys temperature will rise to the required 165 degrees while you let it rest for 30 minutes (don’t skip this step, it needs to hit 165 or you risk food poisoning).  I let mine rest in the roaster pan (sometimes I pull the pan out and set it on the counter, if I have room).

While it’s resting you can pull out the drippings to make gravy.  Once the bird has rested for thirty minutes, carefully pull it out of the roaster pan and carve.  This can be trickier than it sounds because the bird might kind of fall apart.  Make sure you have your carving board and a lot of counter space ready.  Lift the rack out of the pan next to the board.  Put the rack on your board then turn the turkey right side up.  If you make it look pretty on the plate no one misses seeing a big golden brown (dry) whole turkey, trust me.