1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (15-pound) whole turkey
1 pound raw Italian sausages
1 pound applewood smoked bacon
10 fresh rosemary springs
2 cups water
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Step 2: Prepare a large roasting pan with a raised rack. Add two cups of water to the bottom of the pan and set aside.
Step 3: Make compound butter by combining the butter with the garlic, herbs, and lemon juice. Set aside.
Step 4: Remove the neck and insides of the turkey. Rinse the turkey toroughly, inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Use your hands to loosen the skin on the turkey breast and legs, and rub the compound butter under the skin, being very careful to leave the skin intact.
Step 5: Place the turkey, breast side up, on the roasting rack and slide into the over. Roast the turkey until the skin is brown (about 30 minutes).
Step 6: Remove the turkey form the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees.
Step 7: Gently turn the turkey over so it sits breast-side down on the rack. Cover the entire turkey back and sides with the sausages and bacon, using the sprigs of rosemary as toothpicks to hold the meat in place.
Step 8: Insert a meat thermometer into your turkey. Return the turkey to the oven and roast until the internal temperature is 155 degrees. The final internal temperature will be about 165 degrees, as the turkey will continue to cook for several minutes outside the oven. (This is called carry-over cooking.) The juices should run clear and the legs should move easily when it's done. Cooking times might vary, but it should take about 2 hours. If your turkey is getting too brown, cover it with foil.
Step 9: Wait at least 20 minutes before carving the turkey; this allows the juices to settle. Wwhen it's time to carve, remove the bacon and sausages first and set aside. You can add this meat to your serving platter, or use it in side dishes.
When choosing a turkey, allow one pound per person. It's always better to get more than you think you'll need. (Leftovers are the best!)
Purchase your turkey no more than one to two days before you plan to cook it, and keep it stored in the refrigerator until you're ready to pop it in the oven.
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