Q:What size turkey should I buy?
A: Plan on about one pound of turkey per person, which translates to around half a pound of edible meat. Turkeys of more than 15 pounds or so are more difficult to cook, take much longer, and are more prone to drying out. I find that the best birds are around 10 to 12 pounds. If you're cooking for a large group, I'd strongly recommend that you consider cooking two smaller birds instead of one large one. Smaller birds come out more evenly cooked and moist. If this is not an option, then you'll need to adjust your cooking temperatures. For birds between 15 and 20 pounds, reduce the oven temperatures suggested in our roast turkey recipes by 50°F and increase cooking times by up to 40%. (Make sure to use a thermometer to tell when the turkey is done.) You may find that the skin will not crisp as much on a larger bird. To get crisper skin, return the bird to a 500°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes after resting, then carve and serve immediately.