TIP: 1. Use Kosher salt for best results. 2. Play around with flavours for the salt and try adding garlic, smoked paprika, chipotle or dried herbs. 3. The drippings are still great for gravy but taste it before adding any additional salt.
- Remove giblets from the cavity and pat the turkey dry. It is important the turkey is as dry as possible before applying the salt mixture.
- In a small bowl, mix together salt, citrus zest and paprika. Pat the salt all over the outside of the turkey. You can also separate the skin from the breast and rub some salt under there. This is not necessary but will help penetrate the breast meat a little better.
- Cut the onions into quarters (no need to remove skin) and break up the head of garlic into cloves and stuff everything inside the turkey cavity.
- Place the salted turkey on a rimmed baking sheet or a grate with pan underneath to capture any moisture that drips off.
- Place the turkey uncovered in the refrigerator for up to three days, but at least 36 hours.
- When it is time to cook the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator but do not rinse it. (the salt should have been absorbed into the turkey by now). Let the turkey come to room temperature before placing it in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the turkey breast side down in a roasting pan with a cup of water in the bottom. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove turkey from oven, flip turkey so it is breast side up. Rub some of the butter over all the skin. Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
- Return turkey to oven and continue to roast until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, basting and rubbing butter on the skin every 30 minutes. A 6-7 kg turkey will take about 2 ½ hours.
- When the turkey is done, remove from oven and let it rest at least 30 minutes prior to carving. Enjoy!