Wash the turkey thoroughly, remove any pinfeathers, and singe any hairs along the edges of the wings and around the legs. Rub the cavity with the cut side of a half lemon and stuff the bird lightly with any of the suggested stuffings ( pages 70-71). Close the opening by skewering or sewing it and truss the bird well. Rub the turkey with butter and season with salt and pepper.
Place in a large roasting pan and cover with several layers of cheesecloth soaked in butter. Do not add water to the pan. Roast in a preheated 325° oven. Baste several times during roasting period, right through the cheesecloth. Remove the cheesecloth during the last half hour of cooking to allow the turkey to brown. To test whether it is done, move the leg joint up and down—it should give readily—or take several layers of paper towels and squeeze the fleshy part of the drumstick—if properly cooked, it should feel soft.
To roast an 8- to 10-pound stuffed turkey, allow 4 to 41/2 hours; for a 12- to 14-pound stuffed turkey, allow 5 to 51/4 hours; and for a large stuffed turkey, 18 to 20 pounds, allow 61/2 to 71/2 hours.