I overheard Brian talking on the phone the other day. He was trying to convince Shane to come up and visit us over Thanksgiving weekend. He said something like this "You've got to come, Rachel makes the absolute best turkey." That made me smile. Now, I don't claim that I make the best turkey, but this is the recipe that I have been using since 1994, and well we love it. I found this photo from last year. It's not the best, but it gives you an idea of what your turkey will look like when it is done.
Roast Turkey with Herb Rub
From Bon Appetit, November 1994
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 1/2 tbs. dried
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh Thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh Tarragon or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 Turkey (I usually get a 10-18 pound, if you have a bigger one that is fine)
Fresh herb sprigs (if you do not stuff your turkey)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
6 Tablespoons melted butter
4-6 cups low sodium broth
Mix the first five ingredients in a small bowl. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and place on a rack set in a large roasting pan. If you are not stuffing your turkey, place the herb sprigs in the main cavity. If you are stuffing the turkey, spoon stuffing into both cavities. Tie the legs together loosely to hold the shape of the turkey. Brush the turkey with oil Rub the herb mixture all over the turkey. (You can prepare this one day ahead if the turkey is not stuffed. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.) If you are stuffing your turkey, let it sit with the herbs for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
Position your rack in the lowest third of your oven and preheat to 325. Drizzle the melted butter all over the turkey. Pour two cups of broth into the pan (DO NOT POUR THE BROTH ON THE TURKEY)! Roast the turkey for about 1 1/2 hours. Check the pan and see if it needs more broth. Also check the breast, if it is getting too brown cover it with foil loosely. You will want to keep checking how much broth is in the pan and how brown the breast is getting periodically until the turkey is done (DO NOT BASTE THE TURKEY WITH THE BROTH, POUR IT IN THE ROASTING PAN. The size of your turkey will determine how long it will need to roast. I think the best way to determine if your turkey is done is to use a meat thermometer. When inserted into the deepest part of the thigh without touching the bone it should reach 180 degrees. For a 10- 18 pound turkey this should be 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours. When your turkey is done, take it out of the roasting pan and tent it with foil loosely. Let it rest for about 30 minutes. If you have stuffed the turkey, take it out of the pan and remove the stuffing, and then tent it with foil. Again, let it rest for about 3o minutes before carving.