Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 2½ to 3¼ hr
* Allow 3 full days for defrosting a frozen turkey in the refrigerator.
One 12-16-pound turkey
Salt and pepper
1 lemon, halved
2 sprigs rosemary
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 450°. Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey and reserve for making gravy, if desired. Rinse the bird and pat dry. Season the cavity with salt and pepper; place the lemon and rosemary inside. Tuck the wings under the body. Set the turkey on a rack, breast side up, in a large roasting pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with the thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the turkey to the oven and lower the heat to 4000. Roast, basting with the pan juices every half hour, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, without touching the bone, registers 165°, about 2½ to 314 hours; cover with aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning, if necessary.
Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil, for at least 15 minutes before carving.
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Now for the… “How-to” Carve a Turkey to Perfection”
Holding a drumstick in one hand and a carving knife in the other, slice the band of skin connecting the Leg to the body.
Twist the drumstick with your hand to pop the joint, and then disconnect it from the body by slicing through the joint.
Wiggle the thighbone to find the joint. Using the knife, sever the skin around the thighbone and slice through the joint to remove.
Using a carving fork to hold the wing steady, make a deep, horizontal cut above the wing joint.
Hold the turkey steady with the carving fork and slice the breast. Each slice will fall when the knife reaches the cut from Step 4.
Slice behind the wing joint to remove the wing; repeat Steps 1 through 5 on the other side.