Figure on 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person. To buy the right size turkey for your party, simply tally up the turkey-eating guests. Add a few pounds on for bones and you've got your turkey weight. For example, 8 people will require a 12 to 14-pound turkey. Don’t cut it too close, however: Thanksgiving is the one meal where everyone expects and loves leftovers and cold turkey sandwiches the next day or two.
Cook the turkey on a rack of vegetables. Create a natural roasting rack for your turkey by layering carrots, onions and celery on the bottom of the roasting pan. Lifting the turkey off the base of the pan helps to increase hot air circulation around the whole bird so that it will get crispy all over. And the vegetables add great flavor to the gravy.
Rub the turkey with butter or oil. Before putting it in the oven, make sure the skin of the turkey is as dry as possible, and then rub it all over with butter or oil. For even moister meat, place pats of butter under the skin.
Skip the basting. Basting means more oven door opening, resulting in temperature fluctuations that can dry out your bird. Instead, keep your turkey moist by brining it in advance or by rubbing it all over with butter or oil.
Invest in a good meat thermometer. Check for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey around the thigh, avoiding the bone. At 165 degrees F, it's done. The turkey will continue to cook as it rests, so the temperature should rise another 10 degrees or so out of the oven.
Give it a rest. To lock in juices, tent your turkey with foil and let it rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Be sure you don't cover the turkey too tightly as you don't want the bird to steam under the foil.