The very first turkey I cooked as a young bride was a memorable one. We had friends over, and I wanted to impress them so badly. We bought a fresh turkey, not one of those frozen store bought birds. I got the stuffing recipe from my mother, and spent great care preparing it for our company. It smelled wonderful, and I was so happy to bring it to the table, and place it in front of a friend to carve for us. Imagine my horror, when he quickly pointed out that I should have removed the pin feathers before cooking it. I was devastated.
Let me help you make your first turkey a success to make up for that memorable day in my own personal history.
1 - if you buy a fresh turkey, remove the pin-feathers. :)
2 - Set the temperature on your oven to 325. You do not need to preheat your oven.
3 - Your turkey should be completely thawed. Remove the package of giblets from the inside of the cavity. Rinse the cavity under cold water, and pat gently dry before stuffing.
4 - Place your turkey with the breast side up on a wire rack in your roasting pan. Your pan should be at least 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep. Add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of your pan.
5. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil and fold it in half and place it over the top of the turkey like a tent. Keep it on the turkey for the first 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours of cooking, and then remove it to allow the turkey to brown.
6. If you use a meat thermometer to test doneness, it should read 180-185F in the thigh or 170-175 in the thickest part of the breast. If you are testing via the stuffing it should be 160-165F in the center of the stuffing. If you poke the turkey with a fork, the juices should run clear with no pinkish color at all.
7. Remove the turkey from the oven and let it stand 20-30 minutes before removing the stuffing and carving.
Weight, Temperatures and Oven times
If you prefer to cook your stuffing/dressing outside of the turkey I recommend this recipe. Click on the photo to be taken to the directions.