Allow the turkey to come up to room temperature for an hour before rubbing with butter. You can prepare the herb butter from the previous day.
1 12- to 14-pound turkey, rinsed and patted dry, neck and giblets removed
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) sage, rosemary, and thyme compound butter
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 lemon, quartered
Head of garlic cut in half
A few sprigs of thyme, sage, and rosemary
Step by Step
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line the v-rack of a roasting pan with heavy-duty tinfoil, and use a paring knife to poke holes in it every inch or so (this will protect the turkey from sticking to the rack, while allowing the drippings to accumulate on the bottom of the pan).
- Remove any remaining feathers from the turkey with tweezers. Spread butter over the entire outside and inner cavity of the turkey. Sprinkle with salt both on its entire outside and inner cavity.
- Place turkey breast-side down on the prepped v-rack and add 1 1/2 cups water to the bottom of the pan (this will prevent the drippings from burning). Stuff with the quartered lemon, the head of garlic, and the herb sprigs.
- Roast for 45 minutes, then using clean oven mitts or a wad of paper towels, flip the turkey so that the breast side is facing up, and return to the oven.
- Roast for an additional 50 to 60 minutes, or until the thickest part of the thigh registers 170-175°, and the thickest part of the breast is 160°.
- Remove the turkey to a carving board, and let rest 30 minutes before carving.