We're hosting our *first* Thanksgiving this year and to my surprise and horror, I realized that neither one of us have ever made a turkey before. I'm scared. I'm already starting to stress out about it. (We must not have been thinking. How could we have offered to do Thanksgiving - the most important food day of the year - without ever having made a turkey before?) We are both decent cooks, but neither of us have much experience with poultry: my SO makes a lot of beef and I cook a lot of seafood; obviously both are very different from turkey. Anyway, if you're willing to help out a couple of neophyte turkey basters, please share your secrets to a great Thanksgiving turkey. Of course there's lots of pressure (mostly self-imposed) to impress.
By the way, some specific questions:
1. Fresh or frozen turkey? Which is better for flavor and ease? We are planning on ordering a fresh turkey from Whole Foods. Any experience with either or both?
2. Why do people always complain about the turkey being dry? And how do we prevent this?
3. I'm paranoid about food poisoning and cooking the stuffing in the cavity of the bird. Any thoughts on this from more experienced folks?
4. Do we need any special equipment? Do we need a rack? We have a roasting pan and a meat thermometer. Anything else?
Any and all help is greatly appreciated!