Our never-fail turkey produces a holiday centerpiece that is excellent in every way that other turkeys often fall short. It’s not bland, thanks to a sugar-and-salt dry rub. It’s juicy as heck, because we nailed the optimal target temperature (might as well write 150° on your hand now). And cooking the turkey on a rimmed baking sheet is great for all-over browning, but be extra careful as you remove it from the oven so that the drippings don’t slosh over the sides.
- ½ cup Diamond Crystal or ¼ cup plus 1½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
- 1 12–14-lb. turkey, neck reserved for gravy, giblets discarded, patted dry
- 12 Tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 2x1" strips orange zest
Place salt and brown sugar in a medium bowl and work together with your fingers until incorporated. Place turkey on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. (If you don’t have this setup, place your turkey on a V-shape rack set inside a large roasting pan.) Sprinkle dry brine all over outside and inside of turkey, patting to adhere and nudging some into crevices. You won’t need all of the dry brine, but it’s good to have extra since some of it will end up on the baking sheet as you season the turkey. Chill bird, uncovered, at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.
Remove turkey from wire rack and rinse baking sheet and rack if needed (turkey will most likely release some liquid onto pan). Line baking sheet with 3 layers of foil and set rack back inside. Place turkey, breast side up, on rack and tuck wings underneath. Let turkey sit at room temperature 2–3 hours.
Place an oven rack in middle of oven; preheat to 450°. Using your fingers, loosen skin on breast. Work 4 Tbsp. butter under skin, spreading evenly over both breasts. Smear outside of turkey with another 4 Tbsp. butter.
Tie legs together with kitchen twine and pour 1 cup water into baking sheet.
Roast turkey, rotating pan halfway through, until skin is mostly golden brown all over, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, garlic, orange zest, and remaining 4 Tbsp. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbling and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to lowest setting and keep glaze warm.
Reduce oven temperature to 300° and continue to roast turkey, brushing with glaze every 30 minutes and adding more water by ½-cupfuls as needed to maintain some liquid in baking sheet, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast near the neck registers 150° (don’t worry; the temperature will continue to climb while the bird rests), 65–85 minutes longer. Skin should be deep golden brown, shiny, and crisp. Transfer turkey to a cutting board and let rest at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour before carving.