To Baste or Not to Baste?
Basting needn't be a fixation, but every 20 or 30 minutes a sprinkling of melted butter and/or pan juices helps. Be sure that the stuffing and the bird are cold before you cook them in order to inhibit bacterial growth and don't overstuff stuffing expands during cooking. Here is an approximate guide to cooking times, using a 325 degree oven: if your turkey weighs 8 to 12 pounds, figure 3½ to 4¼ hours cooking time; 12 to 16 pounds, 4¼ to 4¾ hours; 16 to 20 pounds, 4¾ to 5¼ hours; and if it’s 20 to 25 pounds, figure 5¼ to 6½ hours. If your thermometer reads 170 to 175 degrees, the turkey is done. The juices should run nearly clear. When done, let it rest 20 minutes before carving.