Leaving the turkey alone for the first hour of cooking allows the skin to crisp. Basting frequently after that gives the bird an even color while helping to seal in juices. Serve with Perfect Gravy.
- 1 fresh or thawed frozen whole turkey (10 to 12 pounds)
- 1 stalk celery, cut into large pieces
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 medium carrots, cut into large pieces
- 2 medium onions, quartered
- 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, such as Bell's
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove neck and giblets from turkey cavity; set aside. Rinse turkey inside and out under cold running water; pat dry with paper towels.
Stuff cavity of bird with celery, bay leaves, and half the carrots and onions; tie legs together with kitchen twine. Rub bird with butter; sprinkle with poultry seasoning. Season with salt and pepper.
Scatter remaining onion quarters and carrot pieces on bottom of a large roasting pan; add turkey neck. Place turkey on a roasting rack in the pan. Cook, basting frequently after the first hour, until bird is golden brown, thigh juices run clear when pierced, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast (avoiding bone) registers 170 degrees, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. (If skin is browning too quickly, tent with foil.) Let rest 30 minutes before carving.