Just to recap, I followed the advice of Russ Parsons (Food Editor of the LA Times) and dry-brined the turkey. The process began on Monday afternoon with the application of 3 TB kosher salt (Morton’s) to a 16 lb. fresh, free-range turkey. Double-wrapped in plastic bags (no leaky turkeys here), it was flipped and turned around and around for a couple of days until I pulled it out on Thanksgiving morning.
I made an herb butter with fresh sage, thyme, and unsalted butter and smeared it underneath the skin all around the bird. I iced the breasts for a couple of hours (with frozen peas that we used later). At around 11 am, it went onto a rack into a covered roasting pan at 425F for 1 hour. The heat was turned down to 300 for one more hour and then it continued to cook for another hour uncovered. At this point, the breasts registered 165F and the dark meat came in at 180. I probably could have pulled it a half-hour earlier, but my family is pretty serious about “no pink turkey,” so I left it in. No matter — even at these slightly high final temps, the turkey was spectacularly moist and especially well-seasoned (but definitely not salty).
My mother proclaimed it the best ever, and we’ve had some pretty good ones in recent years. Overall, this was much less effort than a wet brine and surpassed the results — it may become part of our permanent Turkey Day repertoire, and that’s saying something for us.