Roasting a whole turkey is easier than you think. Just follow these simple instructions for a fresh or thawed turkey.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 quarts turkey stock
8 cups stuffing (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Reach inside the cavity and remove the neck and giblets, rinse the turkey, and pat it dry with clean paper towels.
Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan (2 to 2 1/2 inches deep).
Tuck the wings back behind the turkey's neck. (Tucking the wings will help stabilize the turkey in the pan and when carving).
Loosely fill the cavity with stuffing.
Rub the skin with softened butter and season with salt and pepper.
Pour 2 cups of turkey stock into the bottom of the roasting pan.
Place your turkey in the oven.
Baste the turkey with the juices from the bottom of the pan every 30 to 45 minutes. If the drippings in the pan evaporate, add more stock 1 to 2 cups at a time.
When the turkey is about 2/3 done, loosely cover breast and top of drumsticks with a piece of foil to prevent overcooking.
The turkey is done when the temperature with a meat thermometer is 180 F in the meaty part of the thigh, and 165 F in breast or stuffing.
Lift turkey onto a large serving platter, and let it stand for at least 20 minutes before carving.
The general rule for roasting a turkey is 15 to 20 minutes per pound, but that can vary. Allow more time if the turkey is stuffed, less time if not stuffed. Also allow longer time if the turkey was defrosted, and shorter if it was fresh.