When you think of Thanksgiving, we damn near guarantee one of the first things that pops into your head is the holiday's traditional bird: the turkey.
Being in charge of getting the turkey on to the dinner table can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be—not with this foolproof recipe. Follow the directions step by step, and make sure you're always checking the internal temperature (nobody likes raw turkey), and you'll turn out a juicy, perfectly cooked bird without the stress.
Chef's tip: If stuffing turkey, the stuffing should be prepared and loosely packed into the turkey just before placing turkey in oven. Increase roasting time to 3 to 3 1/2 hours. The stuffing should register 165°F on meat thermometer.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Ocean Spray.
Start by making glaze. Combine cranberry sauce and honey in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until sauce is smooth, whisking frequently. Set aside. Makes about 1 cup.
Be sure turkey is completely thawed. Remove turkey from original wrapper and remove neck and giblets from cavities. Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water; drain and pat dry with paper towels. Tuck wing tips under back or tie to body. Refasten drumsticks with metal or plastic clip or band of skin.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Thinly slice 1 lemon. Carefully loosen the skin of the turkey towards the front of the breast. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, gently slide lemon slices under skin on both sides of turkey.
Place turkey breast-side up on wire rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer into the thickest part of the inner thigh; do not let thermometer touch bone. Liberally brush with cranberry honey glaze and season with fresh thyme, salt and pepper if desired.
Roast turkey uncovered until skin reaches desired brown color; cover loosely with a tent of aluminum foil for remaining time. Continue to baste with cranberry honey glaze during cooking. Roast until thermometer reaches 180°F, approximately 2 3/4 to 3 hours. Remove from oven; let stand 20 minutes before carving.