At least 24 hours before cooking the turkey, remove anything from the cavity. Reserve the neck and giblets if present. Pat the entire turkey very dry, inside and out. Sprinkle the turkey liberally with kosher salt, about 1 tablespoon for every five pounds of bird. Return the turkey, breast side up, to the refrigerator.
Several hours before cooking the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. The salt should be absorbed and no longer visible on the surface of the turkey. Mix butter, herbs, and black pepper to taste. Rub the mixture all over the turkey, concentrating it where the meat is thickest.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roast the turkey, breast up for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325°F. Cover the turkey breast with a triangle of aluminum foil to prevent it from over-browning and roast until a meat thermometer inserted halfway into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove the turkey, transfer to a platter, and tent with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving and serving.
I'm a public health professional in the nation's capital, and an enthusiastic home cook and writer in my rural Virginia kitchen. I love simple, market- and garden-driven food and entertaining that's accessible and low-fuss.
I like to think I write about the life lived between the lines of the recipe.