½ cup canola or olive oil
2 Tablespoons coarse salt (sea salt or Kosher salt)
1 Tablespoon of sweet Hungarian paprika
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
3 Tablespoons of fresh or 2 Tablespoons of dried herbs (we like sage and thyme but rosemary and dill are wonderful as well)
2 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper (approx.)
1 whole turkey (12-14 lbs.) for smaller birds check doneness after 1½ hours
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.
Wash your bird and remove the giblets from the cavity. Salt and pepper the cavity and if you are not stuffing the bird toss some chopped onion and celery into the cavity. Let the turkey come to room temperature, which will take at least 30 minutes.
IF YOU HAVE BRINED YOUR BIRD, BE WARNED THAT BRINED MEAT TENDS TO COOK FASTER!
Place the turkey in a large roasting pan on a rack and generously rub the oil mixture all over the entire bird.
Roast the turkey for 20 minutes, then baste with pan juices and/or oil mixture. Tent the bird with foil and lower the heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast for approximately 15 minutes per pound of turkey.
Check the temperature at this point by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should read 150 degrees. (If you don’t have a thermometer, insert a skewer or sharp thin knife into the thigh. If the juices run clear, the turkey is done.) Check the temp every 10 minutes.
If the turkey isn’t ready after 2 hours, baste again (add water or white wine to the bottom of the pan if it is dry) and continue to check every 10 minutes. Remember to adjust the time for smaller or larger birds (or heritage birds, which cook faster) and use your meat thermometer. It is the most accurate way to tell if your turkey is done.
Remove turkey from the oven when a thermometer stuck into the turkey’s thigh reads 150 degrees or the juices run clear. If the joints show some redness, this should not be a concern.
Keep the turkey covered in foil and a slightly damp kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minute before carving and serving. The turkey will continue to cook up to 160 degrees — the optimal point.