If you’re cooking a 15lb turkey, you’ll need to allow yourself ample time to get the bird in the oven and prepared for roasting. You can expect it to take around six hours to cook, but will likely only require one hour of prep time prior.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
The first step to cooking a turkey is to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. This temperature is ideal for roasting a 15-pound bird, and will ensure that it cooks evenly throughout. You should also make sure that you’ve set up all of your ingredients before beginning this process–you don’t want them getting cold while you’re waiting for the oven to heat up!
Rinse your turkey and pat it dry with paper towels.
Rinse your turkey and pat it dry with paper towels.
Rinsing your turkey removes any excess blood that might have accumulated on the skin during slaughter, packaging and transport. The rinsing also helps to rinse away some of the water-soluble proteins in the outer layer of skin (the epidermis), which can contribute to an unpleasant texture when cooked if left on too long in a hot oven. If you’re concerned about this effect but don’t want to rinse your bird, consider brining before cooking–it helps preserve moisture while adding flavor!
Dry your turkey thoroughly after rinsing; otherwise steam will develop inside its cavity as it cooks, leading to uneven cooking times across different parts of its body.* Use paper towels for drying purposes because their absorbency allows them
to pick up excess moisture without tearing at delicate areas like wings or drumsticks (which might happen if you try using cloths).
If you’ve purchased a frozen turkey, you’ll need to let it sit out for about a day to thaw in the refrigerator.
If you’ve purchased a frozen turkey, you’ll need to let it sit out for about a day to thaw in the refrigerator. This is important because if you try to cook a completely frozen bird, it could be tough and dry because there wasn’t enough time for all of those muscles and tendons to loosen up and relax. If this happens, your guests will be chewing on their drumsticks instead of enjoying them!
If you don’t have enough time for this process (or if there aren’t any refrigerators available), then just pop the bird into some cold water instead: Place your turkey breast-side down with its legs pointed upward so that they don’t get submerged too deeply; then add cold water until it’s about halfway up its body–you want enough room so that when finished cooking later on all parts are fully submerged but not so much that there isn’t any air space left between flesh and liquid surface levels.*
Coat the entire bird with butter under the skin and outside in order to keep the meat moist throughout cooking.
If you want to keep your turkey moist, spread a little bit of butter under the skin and on top of the turkey. Don’t overdo it though! If you use too much butter, it will drip out during cooking and make a mess in your oven. Use unsalted butter (or margarine if you prefer) because it has less fat than regular butter–and less fat means healthier meat.
Place your turkey breast side up on a roasting rack set inside a large roasting pan filled with 1/2 inch of water.
Make sure your turkey is completely thawed. Place the turkey breast side up on a roasting rack set inside a large roasting pan filled with 1/2 inch of water. Cover with foil and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours, or up to 48 hours before cooking (this process is called “resting”). When ready to bake, remove from fridge and let come to room temperature for about 2 hours before baking (or as directed by recipe).
Butterfly: To butterfly a bird means that you cut it down the middle of its back and open it up like a book so that both sides become flat like wings – this makes it easier for heat to circulate around all sides evenly when cooking!
Once your turkey is completely done, remove it from the oven and cover loosely with foil while you make gravy.
Once your turkey is completely done, remove it from the oven and cover loosely with foil while you make gravy. Gravy should be made at the last minute, so that it doesn’t have time to separate into oil and water. To thicken gravy, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water until dissolved. Slowly add this mixture into hot stock while stirring constantly (you’ll want a wooden spoon for this). Turn off heat once gravy has thickened enough to coat a spoon; season with salt and pepper if needed.
Add onion, celery and herbs for flavor and color!
Cooking a 15lb turkey takes longer than cooking smaller ones
When cooking a 15lb turkey, it’s important to remember that the cooking time will vary based on the size of your turkey. Because you need to cook your bird until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, it’s important that you use an oven thermometer when checking for doneness.
The USDA recommends using an oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes per pound for whole birds or 11/2 hours per pound if you’re roasting parts (such as wings). If you’re unsure what size turkey is best suited for your needs, check out this chart from Cooking Light:
Cooking a 15lb turkey is a great way to celebrate the holidays. It’s also a great way to feed your family and friends at Thanksgiving dinner!