The rule of thumb for selecting your Thanksgiving turkey is to pick a bird that weighs 2 pounds more than the number of people you are going to feed. You will need to thaw your frozen bird in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, perhaps more. I generally buy a 15-pound bird to feed 12 generously and have some leftovers.
Once the bird is thawed, remove the innards, wash it well, pat dry, and lay on a cloth for approximately 2 hours to remove the chill. To prepare the cavity of the bird, salt and pepper it well and stuff with 1 quartered onion, 1/2 orange cut in large pieces, 1/2 apple cut in large pieces, and some celery. Place the turkey breast side up with wings tucked under on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Rub the bird liberally with softened butter, season with kosher salt and ground pepper.
Melt 2 sticks of butter and mix with
2 cups of dry white wine. Soak cheesecloth in the wine/butter mixture and lay it on top of the turkey.
Place the bird on lower rack in a 325 F preheated oven. Bake 15 minutes per pound (3 to 4 hours), basting every 20 minutes with more of the wine/butter mixture or pan juices. The test thermometer should be 165 F in the thigh, not touching the bone.
Never carve the turkey directly out of the oven. Like most meat, the turkey will need to rest for the juices to redistribute. This will take about 15 minutes. This recipe yields a plump, juicy, regal bird –– the cheesecloth is the secret –– tantalizing to smell as well as to taste!