This recipe produces a properly cooked turkey with crisp skin and awesome gravy. What more could you want?
1. Dry brine turkey 3 days before cooking. 0.5% salt by weight, same of sugar.
2. The morning of cooking, uncover the turkey in the fridge (this helps to dry out the skin).
3. Take out of the fridge two hours before cooking. Butterfly turkey. Rub under the skin with 1/4 cup of butter, and whatever herbs and spices you prefer. Use toothpicks to pin the skin down if it looks like it will not stay stretched out.
4. Take a large baking sheet and cover bottom with parchment paper. Roughly chop carrots, celery, onions, and garlic and put on the sheet, so that the sheet looks covered. Add the turkey back to one edge of the tray. Add any extra bits of fat or skin.
5. Put in a 450 degree oven (convection roast) directly on the oven rack in the middle of of the oven. Put another rack directly below. Cover that rack with parchment paper (to catch any drips) and put the vegetables on the lower rack, directly below the turkey.
6. In 20 minutes, turn bird sideways, and check to see if back is browned. After an additional 20 minutes, lower heat to 300 degrees convection roast and continue to cook. Add more vegetables as needed, to prevent pan drippings from burning
7. Make turkey stock out of the back and neck - add vegetables, herbs and spices and the back and neck to a pot and cook, uncovered, on a bare simmer until turkey is done. Then reduce until think and flavourful, and add strong flavours (like orange and star anise) afterwards.
8. Turkey will be done in about 2 hours. Remove from oven when the breast meat reaches 150 (I think, we did 155 last time and it was a little overcooked - depends how fast the temperature is rising.
9. Let the bird rest for at least 30 minutes
10. While bird is resting, add the drippings and rendered fat in the sheet pan to the stock. Put it through a gravy separator, and separate. The ideal proportions for gravy are apparently 1.5 tbsp fat, 1.5tbsp flour, 1 cup liquid. Heat the fat in a pan untill all the liquid has boiled off. Add an equal amount of flour, and cook until fragrant. Add the turkey stock the pan drippings, and more chicken stock if you need to thin it out.
11. At this point, the gravy probably needs more salt and pepper. Lemon juice can help a lot too.