Rubbing the turkey with salt ahead of time (aka “dry brining”) guarantees a succulent and flavor-packed bird. Leaving the cavity empty also helps cut the roasting time by a bit.
1 (16- 18 lb) turkey
3 tbsp kosher salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 cups water
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Remove any giblets and neck from turkey cavity. Pat turkey dry with paper towels and arrange on rack in a roasting pan. Season inside with some salt. Gently separate skin from turkey breast and rub some salt underneath skin. Rub remaining salt all over outside of breasts, legs, and wings. Cover turkey with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2–3 days.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove plastic and pat turkey dry all over. Tie legs together with butcher’s twine and tuck wing tips back.
In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, rosemary, thyme, and pepper. Grate zest from lemon and orange into bowl. Stir to combine. Brush butter mixture all over turkey. Add the water to bottom of roasting pan.
Roast turkey 1 hour. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F and roast another 1¾–2½ hours, until thermometer inserted into thigh reads 165°F, loosely covering breast with foil after 1 hour and adding more water if pan seems dry.
Remove turkey from oven and carefully transfer to cutting board. Let stand at least 15 min. Remove twine before carving. Garnish with the parsley.