I've only cooked a turkey once, over 20 years ago, using the Frugal Gourmet's recipe, i.e., boiling the legs for some amount of time and then adding in the rest of the carcass and boil until done. It was incredibly juicy and tender, and I got a great stock out of it, but the downside was no gravy.
I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I ordered a fresh turkey this year, and just got word that it will be 12.2 lbs, so at least I won't have to put it in the oven at 7am.
I've researched recipes and have found four basic themes:
1. Cook at 325 or 350, 20 minutes per pound
2. Cook for 20 or 40 minutes at 425, then 20 minutes a pound at 325
3. Cook for 40 minutes at 425, then 20 minutes a pound at 325, then another 40 minutes at 400
4. Cook for 20 minutes at 400, then 20 minutes a pound at 250. Claims that this is the only way not to dry out a turkey.
always extending cooking time if the thigh or breast temperature is not 170 or 180 on the meat thermometer.
Clear as mud.
Most advice is not to baste often, in order to keep the oven temperature consistent. I cook chicken using Julia Child's recipe, which means basting every 8-10 minutes, and with my oven, that usually means adding another 10-20 minutes of cooking time to get over 180 degrees for 6-7 pound chicken.
For a turkey, I'd expect the meat to bone ratio to be bigger than a chicken and for the additional cooking time to be more than double that, but that's just a guess.
Please help me