First of all make sure you defrost your turkey in time. Thawing a turkey takes time to do it safely the best method is to place it in a pan in your refrigerator and give it 24 hours per 4-5 lbs. Yep that is 3 days for my 18 lb turkey! What if you forgot? Don't freak out. You can use the cold water method. Immerse your turkey (stilled sealed) breast side down in cold water. change the water every 30 minutes and it'll take about 30 minutes per pound, that is 9 hours for that 18 lb turkey so ... hopefully you'll remember to thaw it in the fridge.
Now that your Turkey is thawed, open the seal and drain the juices. Remove the giblets, gizzards and neck (most companies are nice enough to bag these for you and put them inside the turkey) Don't throw them away I have recipes for them!
Okay now you are ready to make your turkey. Do you want it stuffed or un-stuffed? I prefer mine stuffed. I have a friend who stuffs her turkey with root vegetables and that is really tasty. I use cornbread stuffing.
Here is my recipe for the turkey
Donna’s Famous Thanksgiving Turkey
In addition to the ingredients you will need a large cooking bag (Reynolds sells a good one) or a large brown grocery bag. Using the bag does the job of automatically basting your turkey. Large roasting pan.
· 1 18 lb. turkey, neck and giblets removed
· 1 stick or ¼ cup butter
· 2 tbsp. flour
· 2 tbsp. adobo complete seasoning (use seasonings of your choice, I like this mix)
· 2 onions chopped (optional)
· ½ lb. carrots, peeled and cut in half (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
2. Rub butter liberally on outside of entire turkey
3. Apply seasonings
4. Stuff turkey per your choice
5. Put flour into large cooking bag (or a large brown paper bag if the cooking bag isn’t available) and shake
6. Put turkey in bag and place in large roasting pan
7. Surround with onions and carrots
8. Bake for 15 minutes (unstuffed) or 20 minutes (stuffed) per pound
9. Cut the top of the bag open for the last 30 minutes to give it a nice golden brown color
Use turkey thermometer, turkey is done when internal temperature reaches 165ºF