1 fresh or frozen turkey, (14-18 lb. average)
2 Tbsp. black pepper
1 stick margarine, softened
4 Tbsp. Frank Davis Poultry Seasoning
2 Tbsp. salt
2 cups prepared barbecue sauce
First, put the turkey in the sink under cold running water and wash it thoroughly, making sure to remove all the debris from the internal cavity. Then, with paper towels, pat the bird dry inside and out and place it onto a sheet of waxed paper on the countertop. At this point, you also want to pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees.
Next, season the turkey front and back, inside and out, with the poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. And I don’t mean just sprinkle it on – rub those seasonings into the bird hard! Then with the margarine, massage the bird liberally, again both inside and out, until the margarine completely coats the skin. And be sure you put margarine up under the skin too! Now place the turkey breast-side up into a high-sided baking pan large enough to hold the bird plus whatever juices will be rendered out (and you will get juices!). Then tightly wrap the ends of the wing tips and drumsticks with a 4 x 4 square of aluminum foil–this keeps the tips from burning. You can truss the turkey with butcher’s twine if you want to, but do not wrap it in foil! Do not tent it! And do not put it into a baking bag! Cook it completely uncovered!
When your thermostat indicates that the oven is at 500 degrees, slide the turkey in, but watch it closely. At that high a temperature, it should brown to a honey color in about 20 minutes or less. And that’s all you want it to do–just turn a honey brown.
Now, as soon as it reaches the right color (which actually seals the skin and holds in natural moisture) reduce the temperature to 225 degrees. Then slow roast the turkey until it is tender and juicy (which should take you about 40 minutes to the pound, depending upon the insulation of your oven). Do not, however, trust doneness to the “minutes-per-pound” technique only. Insert a meat thermometer into the turkey breast or into the thickest part of the thigh and continue to cook until the internal temp reaches 180 degrees.
Oh, one note here--when it’s almost done, remove the turkey from the oven, use a ladle, and dip out as much of the drippings as possible from the baking pan (but save them for your oyster dressing). Then take the barbecue sauce and a pastry brush and paint the sauce all over the turkey. Then turn the oven temperature up to 375 degrees, slide the bird back into the oven, and continue to bake it, basting occasionally with the barbecue sauce, until the turkey is glazed to a rich dark color. I do suggest you keep an eye on the oven though–you don’t want the sugar in the barbecue sauce to burn.
After the bird is cooked, you may take a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and cover it “tent-style” to keep it warm and prevent it from drying out.
Then when you’re ready to eat, place the bird onto a serving platter, move it to the table and carve it fresh for your family and dinner guests. The light barbecue sauce gives it a unique flavor that accompanies most holiday side dishes. Of course, extra barbecue sauce on the side can be used as a topping.
You can prepare either a fresh or frozen turkey this way. But if you use a frozen turkey, it must be thoroughly thawed out before you attempt to cook it. And I recommend that you do that in the refrigerator (it takes about three days). Just remember, to prevent contamination, never, never, never thaw on the countertop, or in the sink, or at room temperature!
Once again, I also recommend that to cook the turkey to perfection, you use that meat thermometer—just place it into the bird so that it doesn’t touch any bone and bake until the temperature gauge reaches 180 degrees.