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Roasted Turkey For A Crowd

Posted by & filed under Poultry.

Roast turkeySERVES 20 TO 24

For detailed tips and techniques on roasting a “big” bird, please click HERE

You can use any roasting pan to roast the turkey, even a disposable one, but make sure to use a V-rack to elevate it.  Be careful to dry the skin thoroughly before brushing the bird with butter; otherwise, it will have spotty brown skin.  Rotating the bird helps produce moist, evenly cooked meat, but for the sake of ease, you may opt not to rotate it.  In that case, skip the step of lining the V-rack with foil and roast the bird breast-side up for the entire cooking time.  Because I do not brine the bird, I had the best results with a frozen Butterballl (injected with salt and water) and a kosher bird (soaked in salt water during processing).


  • 2 medium onions, chopped coarse
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped coarse
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped coarse
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 frozen Butterball or kosher turkey (18 to 22 pounds gross weight), rinsed thoroughly; giblets, neck, and tailpiece removed and reserved for gravy
  • 4 tablespoons (1/22 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position; remove the remaining racks.  Heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Lina a large V-rack with heavy duty foil and poke holes in the foil; set the V-rack in a 15 by 12 inch roasting pan.

Toss the onions, carrots, celery, lemon, and thyme in a medium bowl; set aside.  Brush the turkey breast with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, then sprinkle with half of the salt and half of the pepper.  Set the turkey breast-side down on the V-rack.  Brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper.  Fill the cavity with half the onion mixture; scatter the rest in the roasting pan and pour 1 cup water into the pan.

Roast the turkey 1 hour; remove the roasting pan with the turkey from the oven.  Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Using s clean dish towel or 2 potholders, turn the turkey breast side-up; return the roasting pan with the turkey to the oven and continue to roast until the legs move freely and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 to 280 degrees, about 2 hours longer.  Remove the turkey form the pan to a carving board and let rest until ready to carve, 35 to 40 minutes.  Serve with gravy.

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