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Cook the Perfect Turkey

For a juicy, golden-brown bird, try these pointers from Rosemary Black—a food writer and mom of six who's been hosting Thanksgiving for over 15 years:

  • I cook my stuffing in a baking dish, rather than inside the turkey, so I don't have to worry about bringing the stuffing temperature up to where it's safe at the risk of drying out the meat. I put a peeled onion, celery, carrots, salt and pepper into the cavity to infuse the meat with more flavor.
  • I brush the turkey with olive oil instead of butter: It's healthier, lets the taste of the bird come through, and keeps it moist (and one of my kids is lactose intolerant); then I tie the drumsticks together and insert a meat thermometer into an inside thigh muscle.
  • I roast the bird at high heat briefly, then lower the temperature. It crisps the skin but keeps the meat juicy. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow pan (no deeper than two inches, or it won't brown well), Cover loosely with foil and roast 10 minutes, then lower heat to 325 degrees. Uncover and untie drumsticks for the last 45 minutes.