To the left in the photo are the ingredients I used for roasting the bird: one quart of chicken broth (not quite all of it is gone) for basting, two bottles of Killian's Irish Red, three sticks of butter and some salt and pepper.
I decided to use the Killian's because of an unusual roasting method Pat was telling me about: he makes the best turkey, like, EVER and he uses butter, salt, pepper and a can of Coke or Dr. Pepper or something like that. I decided to use the lager because it is made of God's own sweet barley and frankly, I'm not sure what soft drinks are made of. Besides, I thought it would be a nice experiment. If I throw some red wine in my ragù, why not some beer in the turkey? The worst that could happen, I thought, would be a really rich, smooth broth. Bummer.
Here's what I did. It couldn't have been easier:
1. I preheated the oven to 325 degrees and sprayed the inside of that big, disposable roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray
2. Unwrapped Mr. Butterball and rinsed him well with warm water, making sure to remove those mysterious packages in the neck and body cavities, which is what I didn't do the first time I roasted a turkey. Imagine my embarrassment when my mother-in-law, who was doing the carving, said, "You're supposed to take these out. Dear." Some people make gravy with the contents of those packages, but I throw them STRAIGHT IN THE TRASH.
3. Plunked the turkey breast side up in the roasting pan. Two sticks of soft butter in the body cavity, one stick of soft butter rubbed all over the outside of the turkey, which would have been a rather pleasant massage, I imagine, if he'd been alive and all.
4. One bottle of Killian's poured into the body cavity, one bottle reserved on the counter for basting. Chicken broth, ditto.
5. My turkey was 13 pounds and Butterball's instruction sheet recommended some configuration that ended up with my turkey needing to cook for three hours or so. So! Turkey into the oven at 11:30.
6. Basted that baby with a great deal of loving care and attention, just like a Julia chicken. Every half hour on the dot. Killian's and broth poured over the top.
7. Made a little foil tent and crimped it to the roasting pan at 2:00 and continued the roasting until 3:00.
8. Removed foil tent (being very careful not to be burned by the steam) at 3:00 and left in oven an additional twenty minutes to make the skin a nice, toasty golden brown.
9. Retrieved from oven at 3:20 and allowed to stand undisturbed for fifteen minutes, at which point the girls and I did a taste test. Delicious!
I carved the turkey later in the day and we had it for dinner last night, along with some rich gravy I made from the pan juices. It was a complete success and so simple. Obviously, with a good-sized turkey and the stock and lager and all, the most difficult part was taking the turkey in and out of the oven. (For basting, I just pulled the oven rack out a little bit, but I took the whole kit and kaboodle out when I made the foil tent.) Just make sure you have hot pads that have no thin places in them, you know what I'm saying?