Roasting Temperatures and Times
The following baking times tend toward the maximum rather than the minimum. It’s hard to be precise because you may have started with the bird more or less chilled from the thawing, and ovens vary in their true temperatures, and stuffings vary in their density and temperature. So your bird is quite likely to be done an hour or so sooner. That’s okay. It’s easy to keep a roasted turkey warm in the oven before dinner. It’s impossible to hurry one up while your hungry would-be diners are waiting for it to finish baking. Note also that fresh turkeys take a little longer to roast than ones that have been frozen— about 5 or 10 minutes longer per pound.
Roast at 425˚F for half an hour, then finish at 325˚F. Continue roasting until it has turned a nice shade of brown. The larger the turkey, the more baking time. With stuffing, figure on cooking a 6 lb. turkey, 3–3 1⁄2 hours at 325˚F; an 8-pounder, 3 1⁄2–4 hours; a 12-pounder, 4 1⁄2–5 hours; a 16-pounder 5 1⁄2–6 hours; a 20-pounder, 6–7 hours; and a 24-pounder, 7 1⁄2 hours.
Eating Up a Whole Turkey
*One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is leftovers! There is nothing tastier than a plate of residual holiday yumminess. But after the novelty of turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey pot pie, and whatever else you can incorporate turkey into, what is left is a sad carcass. Literally.
*Instead of discarding the relic of Thanksgiving past into the rubbish or compost bin, take advantage of the flavor still locked in your turkey with Turkey Bone Soup:
Turkey Bone Soup
1. Break up leftover cooked turkey when you’re seeing more bony skeleton than meat on the carcass.
2. Put bones, meat, and your leftover stuffing along with carrot
chunks and some onion and maybe celery into a kettle with
plenty of water.
3. Add a few peppercorns, salt, and a bay leaf.
4. Cook an hour or until you can get the remaining meat easily off
the bones. Then sort out and discard the bones.
5. Add about 1⁄2 c. rice or barley, and cook on low heat until the grain is ready.