2. It's best not to go above 16lbs for a turkey. If you need more for a larger group, consider buying and roasting two small 10-12 pound turkeys instead of one super giant bird. Smaller turkeys cook more evenly and produce juicier, tenderer meat. They are also easier to work with, will fit more comfortably in your oven, and will allow for a bigger selection of white meat vs. dark meat.
3. If cooking a fresh (not frozen) bird, buy it no earlier than four days before Thanksgiving, and store in its plastic wrapping on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.
4. If buying a frozen turkey, start defrosting it four days before Thanksgiving. Frozen turkeys take about 24 hours per every 4 pounds to thaw. Plan accordingly!
5. Defrost frozen turkeys in the refrigerator. Keep it in its wrapping and put in a large roasting pan or aluminum tray to catch any drips.
6. It’s best not to stuff a turkey before roasting, as it extends the cooking time and dries out the meat. If you like the look of the stuffing with the bird, cook the stuffing separately, and then arrange the stuffing coming out of the cavity of the cooked turkey on the serving platter.
7. For the best flavor (if not brining), rub or marinate the turkey one to two days before Thanksgiving (on Tuesday night or Wednesday). If that’s not possible, prep and marinate as early as possible on Thanksgiving morning, and let sit for at least 4 hours before roasting.