The single most important thing to do with your turkey is to cook it to the proper internal temperature. I've tried using the extrememly hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes, and then turning down to 350 degrees and roasting with foil arount the breast. I've tried just puting the bird into a 300 degree oven and roasting until done. I've also roasted many a turkey on my Webber Kettle. In every case, I roasted until a meat thermometer, left in the bird the whole time, read 155 degrees. I then removed the bird and let rest for twenty minutes. In every case, the meat was supremely moist and tender.
Cooking hot, then cooling down the oven results in a crispier skin, while the slower cooking temperature requires the bird to be finished under the broiler to brown the skin properly. On the covered grill, do to the nature of the heat source (charcoal and hardwood), the fire is initially very hot, maybe 500 degrees or more. Then when the lid is placed on the grill, and the vents partially closed, the temperature cools to around 350. The grill gives me the best flavor, hands down. But the oven gives great flavor as well.
Also through experimentation, I've found that basting does absolutely nothing to enhance the moisture content of the meat. It only slows the cooking time, and deposites flavor particles on the outer skin.
I also cook my dressing outside the bird, but not because I'm afraid of microbial contamination, but rather, by the time the stuffing comes up to temp, the meat is usually overcooked and dried out.
Cooking until the little plastic pop-up timer goes off will gauruntee that your bird will be dry and tough, as it doesn't pop up until the glue melts at 180 degrees.
So to sum up, cook whichever dressing you prefer outside the bird. Cook to an internal temp of 155, then let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Final temperature should read 165 at that time.
If you want crispy skin, start at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and cook until you reach the proper internal temperature. Basting is unnecessary. Cover the breast with foil to prevent overcooking the white meat as it cooks faster than does the dark meat. Remove the foil when the termometer reads 140 degrees to allow the skin to brown completely.
Your family will rave and you can take the bows.
Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North