You have probably heard that basting frequently results in a better turkey that is much more moist and juicy than its non-basted counterpart. But did you know that basting a turkey actually does little to make it less dry?
Basting your turkey has only one purpose – to give the skin that golden roasted turkey color to the skin that most people associate with a perfectly cooked turkey. But frequent basting has a significant downfall. Every time you open the oven, it loses heat. This means it will take that much longer for your turkey to cook since every time you open the oven for basting, it will take time to bring it back up to temperature.
So you should leave basting for the last hour of cooking, and not do it too frequently. This way you get the benefits of basting by having that golden skin, while not prolonging cooking time significantly – something that can definitely put a crimp on your Thanksgiving dinner plans, especially if you have everything planned to when the turkey should be done before you started opening the oven all the time for basting!!!
If you want to have a juicier turkey, consider one of the self-basting turkeys instead, where there is a seasoned broth mixture injected into the turkey below the skin.