The first time I cooked a half turkey, it felt like a revelation. “You mean, the delicious taste of roast turkey, with ample meat for 4 - 6 people, in more or less the same time it takes to cook chicken? I should do this every week!”
Half turkeys include one breast, one thigh, one drumstick and one wing — that is, they are sliced down the breast bone to be a half of a whole turkey. Roasted on their side (skin side up, bones down), they look pretty impressive in their roasting pan, and cook much more quickly than a whole bird.
Half turkeys generally weigh between 5 - 10 pounds, and we recommend you allow about 10 minutes/pound at 325°F. You can follow any turkey recipe with a half-turkey, just remember that it will cook more quickly than you expect — possibly even under an hour, so don’t let it go too long without checking. A meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast should be 165°F (meat will continue to rise an additional 10°F once you take it out.)
If you’re having a large crowd for Thanksgiving, consider choosing a whole turkey and a half turkey, rather than just one very large bird. You’ll have the (medium-sized) whole turkey to show off and carve at the table (if you must), and the half turkey can stay in the kitchen, ready to replenish the serving platter.