I am a firm believer in the high-heat roasting method. It works for all poultry. The skin becomes crisper and the meat juicier. To get the perfect turkey, try cooking for a shorter time at a higher heat. However, if your oven is dirty and not vented to the outside, you could end up with smoke in the kitchen.
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1 14-pound turkey
¼ cup butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped dried herbs of your choice (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 F. Stuff the turkey with your choice of stuffing and rub all over with butter. Season well with salt, pepper and herbs. Truss with string to hold its shape.
Place on a rack sitting on a large roasting pan. Roast for 2½ hours, basting occasionally with the fat, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 170 F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh section.
Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Carve and serve with gravy.
Do not stuff until just before roasting, although you can prepare the stuffing earlier.
Use a rack for air circulation.
Calculate cooking time this way: For the first 10 pounds multiply each pound by 12 minutes; the remaining four pounds takes 7 minutes a pound (at the second stage, the turkey is cooking more quickly -- from both the outside and inside.) With stuffing add one more pound.
If you find the skin is becoming too brown, brush butter or turkey drippings on a piece of cheesecloth and lay the cloth over the skin for the last hour. Never cover with foil; you'll get a steamed bird.
Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes after roasting to let the juices retract.