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Roast Turkey

Turkey 17-20 lb range
butter, margarine, or olive oil.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a large pan with foil, or use
foil roasting pan. A commercial full-pan works great! Remove neck
& giblets from turkey. Remove pop-up thermometer if present. Clean
pinfeathers and any excess tissue from inside bird. If a plastic
clip is used for legs, remove it, and cut off tail of turkey. If
a metal clip is used for legs, you can leave it in place, and use
it later to secure the legs. Rinse thawed turkey with cold water,
inside and out. Pat turkey dry with clean white towels. Lay a long
strip of heavy duty aluminum foil on counter. Strip should be long
enough to go around turkey front to back, and overlap some. It is
best to use at least 18" foil for this, 24" is better if you have

Tear small pieces of foil to cover wing tips, and set aside. Grease
the foil with butter, margarine, or olive oil. Rub turkey inside
and out with butter or margarine, or olive oil. It helps if the
butter is slightly softened by leaving out of the refrigerator for
a while. Leave a little extra in the leg joint area. Note that
you can use a garlic butter, or herb butter if you like. It adds
a great flavor. Slide fingers under skin of breast, and place a
small pat of butter or margarine on either side of breastbone. Take
about 1/3 - 1/2 stick of butter or margarine, and make a flattened
ball. Place on TOP of turkey breast area, and place square of foil
over it. The foil square should cover most of the breast area.
Mold the foil to the turkey. Cover wing tips with foil. You can
stuff the bird at this point if you like. I generally don't, as
I like to bake my stuffing separately. However, you should always
use a cold stuffing.

Never put warm stuffing in a cold bird. (Standard disclaimer) You
can also stuff the bird with things like oranges, apples onions
and the like. It is a very flexible process. Re-clip legs if metal
clip is used. Tie legs, or sew bird shut as you prefer. Place
turkey on greased foil sheet. Fold foil over the top of the turkey,
from both ends. Tuck side tops into side bottoms, and crimp. Tear
another sheet of foil, about the same length. Rotate turkey 90
degrees, and wrap from side to side. Crimp the foil. Use 5 or 6
layers of foil. When you are done wrapping, you should have a
tightly wrapped foil "football", roughly the shape of a turkey.
Be sure to crimp and mold each layer of foil. The idea is to
prevent leakage of the juices. Place in pan, and in oven. Cook 3
1/2 hours at 475 degrees. If you start with a mostly-frozen turkey,
cook for 4 hours. If you have wrapped it tightly enough, you won't
smell the turkey cooking. If you do, don't worry. That's why you
used the foil lined-pan.

After cooking time has elapsed, remove from oven, strip back foil
layers, and check leg joint for doneness. Any juices should run
clear. If the turkey is not browned enough for you, leave foil
open, baste, and place back in oven at about 375 degrees for 15
minutes or so. Watch turkey to avoid burning. When you strip the
foil, have a turkey baster and a large pan available. You will
recover up to a quart of turkey broth from the foil. This makes
excellent gravy. To serve, remove from foil layers and pan, and
place on a large platter for carving. The legs and wings may fall
off if it is very very done. It will still be moist. Note that if
you stuff the turkey, the dressing will be very moist. If you
like, mix your dressing a little dry to compensate. Once again,
never place warm dressing in a cold turkey.


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