Source: FamilyTime Favorites

Familytime Roast Turkey for Beginners
Roasting a turkey is not hard, but does require some advanced planning and timing. Follow this recipe and you'll end up with a moist, golden brown turkey. And big smiles all around the table.
Serves: 12 to 16
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: about 4 hours


One 16-pound turkey, fresh or frozen and defrosted
About 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 cups stuffing, optional

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Position the oven rack so that the turkey will be as centered in the oven as possible without hitting the roof of the oven.

Take the turkey from the refrigerator and remove the package of giblets from the body or neck cavity. (Use the giblets to make stock and gravy.) Rinse the turkey under cold water, drain and wipe the cavity clean with paper towels. Set the turkey, breast side up (the flatter side down), on a flat rack in a large roasting pan. The pan should be 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep and roomy enough to hold the turkey comfortably. Lightly rub the turkey inside and out with salt. Rub it with vegetable oil.

If stuffing the turkey, spoon the stuffing into the body and neck cavities of the turkey. Do not pack it tightly. There is no need to truss the turkey to hold the stuffing inside.

Roast the stuffed turkey for about 15 minutes to the pound. For a 16-pound, stuffed turkey, this is about 4 hours. If the turkey is not stuffed, it will roast a little faster, in about 3 1/2 hours.(If you have a very fresh turkey, the time may be a little less. Make sure you have an instant-read thermometer, which gives you the most accurate reading for doneness, see below.)

After 3 hours of roasting, look at the turkey (check about 30 minutes sooner for an unstuffed bird). If the breast is golden brown, cover it loosely with foil to protect it from becoming too brown, while the dark meat continues to cook. If the breast is not golden brown yet, wait for 15 to 20 minutes and check again.

About 30 minutes before the turkey should be done, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest section of the thigh; do not let the wand of the thermometer touch the bone. The turkey is done when the dark meat is 180 degrees F. Insert the thermometer into the stuffing. It should register 165 to 170 degrees F. in the center.

Remove the turkey from the oven and use large spoons or spatulas to transfer it to a platter. Try not to pierce the skin during transfer. Let the turkey sit for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. There is no need to cover the turkey to keep it warm. Skim the fat off the pan drippings and use the remaining drippings to make gravy (see our recipe for Basic Turkey Gravy). Carve the turkey by first removing the drumsticks and thighs. Cut off the wings. Slice the breast meat from the turkey.