Dry-brining a turkey is the way to go. Russ Parsons knows it, we know it, the American people know it.
Salt with sage and bay leaves is an addition you may wish to make. Sage-bay leaf salt recipe here.
It makes for a delicious bird.
From Judy Rodgers via Russ Parsons and the Los Angeles Times.
1 (12- to 16-pound) turkey
Wash the turkey inside and out, pat it dry and weigh it. Measure 1 tablespoon of salt into a bowl for every 5 pounds the turkey weighs (for a 15 pound turkey, you’d have 3 tablespoons).
Sprinkle the inside of the turkey lightly with salt. Place the turkey on its back and salt the breasts, concentrating the salt in the center, where the meat is thickest. You’ll probably use a little more than a tablespoon. It should look liberally seasoned, but not oversalted.
Turn the turkey on one side and sprinkle the entire side with salt, concentrating on the thigh. You should use a little less than a tablespoon. Flip the turkey over and do the same with the opposite side.
Place the turkey in a 2 1/2-gallon sealable plastic bag, press out the air and seal tightly. Place the turkey breast-side up in the refrigerator. Chill for 3 days, leaving it in the bag, but turning it and massaging the salt into the skin every day.
Remove the turkey from the bag. There should be no salt visible on the surface and the skin should be moist but not wet. Wipe the turkey dry with a paper towel, place it breast-side up on a plate and refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.
On the day it is to be cooked, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Place the turkey breast-side down on a roasting rack in a roasting pan; put it in the oven. After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and carefully turn the turkey over so the breast is facing up. It’s easiest to do this by hand, using kitchen towels or oven mitts.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, return the turkey to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone, reads 165 degrees, about 2 3/4 hours total roasting.
Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a warm platter or carving board; tent loosely with foil. Let stand at least 30 minutes to let the juices redistribute through the meat. Carve and serve.
Total time: 2 hours, 50 minutes
Servings: 11 to 15