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Perfect Roast Turkey
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- 1 (18-pound) fresh turkey
- 12 cups of your favorite stuffing
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups turkey stock, preferably homemade, plus more as needed
- Bourbon Gravy
Reserve the turkey neck and giblets to use in gravy or stock. Pull out the pad of yellow fat on either side of the tail and reserve. (These are sometimes already removed by the processor, so don’t worry if they aren’t present.) Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water, and pat the skin dry.
Turn the turkey on its breast. Loosely fill the neck cavity with stuffing. Using a thin wooden or metal skewer, pin the turkey’s neck skin to the back. Fold the turkey’s wings akimbo behind the back (the tips will rest behind the turkey’s “shoulders”) or tie them to the body with kitchen string. Loosely fill the large body cavity with stuffing. Loosely cover the exposed stuffing with a piece of aluminum foil. Place any remaining stuffing in a lightly buttered casserole, cover, and refrigerate to bake as a side dish. Place the drumsticks in the hock lock or tie together with kitchen string.
Rub the turkey all over with the softened butter. Season with the salt and pepper. Tightly cover the breast area with aluminum foil. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in the roasting pan. Place the reserved fat in the pan – it will melt during roasting and add to the drippings. Pour 2 cups of the turkey stock into the bottom of the pan.
Roast the turkey, basting all over every 45 minutes with the juices on the bottom of the pan (lift up the foil to reach the breast area), until a meat thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh (but not touching a bone) reads 180 F and the stuffing is at least 160 F, about 4 1/4 hours. Whenever the drippings evaporate, add broth to the pan, about 1 1/2 cups at a time. Remove the foil during the last hour of cooking to allow the skin to brown.
Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter and let it stand for at least 20 minutes before carving. Increase the oven temperature to 350 F. Drizzle 1/2 cup turkey stock over the stuffing in the casserole dish, cover, and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.
Carve the turkey and serve with Best-Ever Gravy alongside.
Cook in the large stainless steel roasting set