Easy and Juicy!
Before Thanksgiving, stores have fantastic sales on turkey. This is when I stock up. Turkey also goes on sale before Christmas and Easter, but not as cheap as it does before Thanksgiving. I like to buy 7 or more turkeys with a reular freezer; when I got a second freezer, Iincreased it to 12 turkeys, so that I can cook one each month. If you have a separate freezer, you can buy a few more! I usually pay $7-$10 for a 19-21 pound turkey. This is the least expensive meat I can buy, and I use it in place of chicken in recipes wherever I can.
Defrost turkey in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Preheat oven to 325º.
Take turkey out of the package. Remove the pop-up timer from the breast of the turkey. Take out the bag of giblets and the neck of the turkey.
Put turkey in a roasting pan, breast side down. Putting the turkey breast side down ensures a juicy turkey, without basting. This is opposite of tradition. Trust me on this–we wouldn’t be eating 7 turkeys a year if they weren’t moist and delicious!
Add about 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Add the neck of the turkey to the pan as well. There is a lot of meat on the neck!
If you want crispy skin, you can brush the bird with oil, using a pastry brush. If you don’t plan on eating the skin or this doesn’t matter to you, you don’t need to do that. I usually do not.
Cover the turkey loosely (tent it) with two pieces of aluminum foil.
Cook turkey 4 1/2 to 5 hours for a 19-20 pound turkey (your time will be less for a smaller turkey, but I always get the biggest turkeys I can).
When the turkey is done cooking, the meat will pull away from the bone on the wings, as in the photo above. The pan will be filled with broth. The meat will easily pull away from the bone. To test for doneness, stick a knife into the thickest part of the thigh. The juices will run clear.
Cooked this way, the meat falls from the bones. For Thanksgiving, I served it on a platter (see the top photo) in piles of light and dark meat. No one had to wait for the meat to be carved, which is nice!
We usually freeze several quart bags of turkey to use in other recipes. The leftovers are put into lots of recipes, including BBQ turkey sandwiches, stir fry, chicken (turkey) Devan, Chicken (turkey) caccitore, curry, soup, chicken and ham crepes, etc.!