Here are some tradeoffs in the different methods:
* Roasting at a high temperature is gaining in popularity. It will give you juicy meat and browned, crisp skin, just like the start high-finish low recipe at left.
Pluses: It's the quickest way to roast a turkey, about 2 hours; it frees up the oven for side dishes before the turkey goes in; no basting.
Minuses: The oven must be clean; a convection oven doesn't work; side dishes cannot be baked or reheated while the turkey is roasting.
How to do it: Follow directions for the Roast Turkey recipe (at left) up to the point of roasting. Roast at 450 degrees until done (about 2 hours).
* Roasting a turkey at a steady 325 degrees is the method that has been used for generations. It is still carried on the USDA Web site, and it's what you'll find on the plastic wrapping of many turkeys.
Pluses: Side dishes may be cooked at the same time, assuming your oven is large enough.
Minuses: It takes the longest (3 to 33/4 hours to roast a 12- to 14-pound unstuffed turkey, and 31/2 to 4 hours for one that's stuffed). Must be basted. It's the hardest technique for getting the breast and thigh meat done at the same time.
How to do it: Follow directions for the Roast Turkey recipe (at left) up to the point of roasting. Roast at 325 degrees until done. Should be tented with aluminum foil after about 45 minutes. About 30 minutes before the turkey is done, remove tent and baste.
* Whichever roasting method you choose to use, the USDA says the turkey is done when the breast meat reaches 170 degrees and the thigh meat reaches 180 degrees. (Many cooks remove the turkey from the oven sooner because the internal temperature will continue to rise a few degrees after the turkey comes out of the oven.) All turkeys should rest at least 30 minutes before being carved.
Read more about the different roasting methods and how to know when the turkey is done in Robert L. Wolke's Food 101 column, coming in Sunday's Food section.