Some helpful information from Martha Stewart Living Magazine, November 1996 to help you make the perfect Holiday turkey!!
1. Getting Started
Have ready the following equipment:
Large, heavy roasting pan (not nonstick)
Roasting rack (V-shaped or flat)
Toothpicks or small metal skewers
17-inch square of four-ply cheesecloth
Remove giblets from the body and neck cavities, and reserve them; you can make Giblet Stock while the turkey is roasting.
Rinse the turkey under cool running water, and pat it dry with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body to prevent them from burning.
Insert the stuffing just before the turkey goes into the oven; never do it ahead of time. And don't pack it too tightly, as the stuffing won't cook evenly and bacteria may grow; also, don't forget to stuff the neck cavity.
3. Securing the Neck Flap
Pull the flap of skin at the neck down, and use toothpicks or small metal skewers to fasten it.
Pull the legs together loosely, and tie them with kitchen string; a bow will be easy to untie later. Any kind of sturdy white string or twine will do, as long as it's made of cotton, not polyester (which may melt in the oven's heat). Rub the turkey with butter, and season it with salt and pepper.5. The Basting Process
Cover the turkey with cheesecloth that has been soaking in butter and wine; the cloth should cover the breast and part of the leg area. Make sure the cheesecloth never dries out or comes into contact with the inside walls of the oven; in either situation, it may ignite.
Every 30 minutes, use a pastry brush (better than a bulb baster) to baste the cheesecloth and exposed area of the turkey with the butter-and-wine mixture. (The turkey pictured here is out of the oven, but basting should be done in the oven and as quickly as possible, so the oven temperature doesn't drop.) Watch the pan juices; if they are in danger of overflowing, spoon them out and reserve them for the gravy.
After the third hour of cooking, take the turkey out of the oven. Carefully remove the cheesecloth, which will have turned quite brown, and discard it. Baste the turkey with pan juices, taking care not to tear the skin, and return it to the oven.
6. Temperature Taking
After the fourth hour of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (if you poke a bone, try again); when the temperature reaches 180 degrees, the bird is ready.
Use a thin-bladed, flexible carbon-steel knife to carve the meat into thin slices.