Walk into a kitchen when a turkey is roasting and it smells simply delicious. Today’s turkeys cook faster than turkeys in the past so use a good thermometer to check its progress. You’ll want the turkey to be tasty and moist. Here are several ways to keep a turkey moist.
Always rinse the turkey well and remove anything that might be inside the bird, including the neck. Often there is a plastic cord that is holding the turkey together.
Rub butter (or margarine) over the entire bird. Since the turkey will be cold before it goes in the oven, wait about 15 minutes after placing the bird in the oven. Continue to baste with the butter/margarine and pan drippings every half hour while it’s cooking.
Soak two or three layers of cheesecloth in butter (or margarine) and drape over the turkey while it cooks. If you like crispy skin, remove the cheesecloth for the last half hour of cooking.
Make a brine solution and soak the turkey in it overnight in your refrigerator. Allow about an hour of time for every pound of turkey. Choose a turkey that is not pre-basted because the brine will make it very salty. Place the turkey in a container/pan or a heavy plastic bag--the container should be big enough so you can turn the bird over. For the brine you’ll need enough water to cover the turkey. Use one cup of table salt or kosher salt to one gallon of water and adjust the amounts of each to fit the turkey and the container. Be sure the salt is fully dissolved before adding additional seasonings. You can add any seasoning you like garlic or perhaps something spicier. Turn the turkey over a couple of times to distribute the brine evenly. Rinse well before cooking.
Place your turkey with the breast side down until the last half hour of cooking time. Turn the turkey over for the last part of cooking so you’ll get a nice, browned skin.
Butter a piece of tin foil that is big enough to cover the turkey (or turkey breast). Cover the bird before placing it in the oven. Remove the foil for the last 30-40 minutes of cooking
When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and let sit for about 30 minutes. This allows the juice to be reabsorbed making a moister turkey. Doing this also makes it easier to carve.