Made a turkey this past Sunday.
First of all, BRINE IT OVERNIGHT! Makes for a delicious, juicy turkey.
Then.....get some sage and thyme leaves, and some sliced garlic, and some butter patties. Insert these under the skin on the breast side, being sure to push some down to the leg joint.
Season the cavity of the turkey with garlic powder, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Then, if your gonna stuff it, do so. If the stuffing is not going in the turkey, fill the cavities (both the front and back one) with quartered onion, rough chopped celery, rough chopped garlic, and a quartered apple. Tie or skewer it shut.
Put it on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up. Put in a pre-heated 450 oven for 15-20 muniutes.
Take it out, and turn it on one side, and baste with butter. Put it back in the 450 oven for another 15-20 minutes.
Take it out, baste it again, and turn it on it's other side, baste again, and put it back in the 450 oven for another 15-20 minutes.
Take it out, leave it on the same side, baste it some more, and turn down the oven to 325 or so. Throw some onions, celery, whole garlic cloves, and mushrooms in the bottom of the roasting pan.
Put it back, let it go about 45 minutes or so, basting it once or twice. Then take it out, leaving it on the same side, baste some more, and sprinkle some salt and garlic powder on the skin.
Put it back, let it go about 15 minutes more, then take it out. Turn the bird back on it OTHER side, baste it, and put it back in for about 30-40 minutes, basting once or twice. Take it out, baste it, do the salt and garlic powder thing to that side, and put it back still on the same side for another 10-15 minutes.
Take it out, turn it breast side up, baste it, and do the salt and garlic powder to the breast side. Also, at this point, check where you are with a meat thermometer.
Put it back, give it another 15 minutes or so breast side up (depending on what you get for a temperature reading). When you get a temp of 160-165 in the thigh, take it out, cover it with foil, and let it rest for about 1/2 an hour.
In the meantime, make your pan gravy, smashing the vegetables, adding some white wine and chicken or turkey stock over high heat on the stove top to de-glaze. I mix up some potato starch (corn starch will do) with some COLD stock, and then use that as a thickener.
The above method for cooking the turkey is the Julia Child Method of roasting a chicken. The idea is, that if you cook the bird breast side up the whole time, the breast gets done and dried out before the legs and thighs get done enough. By cooking it on its side and doing the flipping method, the legs and thighs cook more evenly, and the breast cooks slowly and last. I found it works just as well with turkey, though turning a large turkey is a bit cumbersome, but just deal with it. The salt and garlic powder helps to get a nice golden brown, crispy skin at the low temperature with out it getting burnt.
The timing above was for a 13 lb turkey, unstuffed (except for the apple and veggies). Adjust for the size of your bird and/or if you decide to stuff it.
It was awesome, and in fact, we are having leftovers tonight.
I also made a wild rice and goat cheese stuffing that was cooked outside the bird in a seperate dish. That was really goos as well.
So I guess the bottom line is.....UNCOVERED.