Four helpful bits of information when preparing for Turkey Day, taken (pretty much) word-for-word from Martha Stewart.
Place the turkey (in its original packaging), breast side up, on a rimmed baking sheet; refrigerate. Plan ahead to allow one full day of thawing for every 4-5 lbs of turkey.
Set the turkey on a clean work surface kept clear of other foods. Remove the neck, liver, and giblets from the cavity, and rinse the inside and outside of the turkey with cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Naturally, wash hands and work surfaces well afterwards.
If stuffing the turkey, do so just before roasting to prevent unwanted bacterial growth. Because the stuffing will expand as it bakes, fill the turkey’s cavities loosely; this also allows the stuffing to cook more evenly and keeps it from becoming too dense. To test doneness before serving, insert an instant-read thermometer in the center of the stuffing to make sure it reaches 165. Cook any extra in a baking dish at 375 for 30-45 minutes, depending on the ingredients and amount.
Always roast the bird on a rack set in a shallow roasting pan so the oven heat circulates and helps the turkey to brown. After the first hour, baste the turkey often with pan drippings to keep the meat moist and give the skin an even color. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, avoiding the bone, registers 165. Let the turkey rest, loosely tented with foil, for at least 30 minutes before carving so the juices can reabsorb. If the turkey is stuffed, remove the stuffing before carving.