- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 (10-pound) turkey
- Butter or oil, for basting (optional)
Mix salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Pat turkey dry and use your hands to loosen the skin over the breast and thighs, gently breaking the thin membrane that connects the skin to the meat. Rub half the salt mixture under the loosened skin, then sprinkle the remaining half in the cavity and on top of the skin. Tuck the wings under the breast and place on a roasting pan. Refrigerate uncovered for 1 to 3 days. No need to rinse or pat dry; it’s ready to roast as-is.
Preheat oven to 500° F. Place a rack in a large, heavy roasting pan. Place turkey breast-side up on the rack. Tuck wing tips under bird (to prevent burning). Pour 3 cups water into the roasting pan.
Place turkey in the oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 350° F. Baste turkey with pan juices every 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone reaches 160° F, about 2 1/2 hours. Baste with butter or oil during the last 30 minutes, to crisp skin, if desired. If skin becomes too dark while roasting, tent turkey with foil.
To finish cooking to the final 165° F, remove from the oven, tent loosely with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.
You can scale this up for larger turkeys. Use 1 tablespoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper for every 5 pounds of turkey.
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