1 16 to 18 pound turkey
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crumbled
2 teaspoons ground sage
2 teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
salt pork (optional)
1 stick butter, melted
1 can broth, for basting
Choose a plump turkey. Clean and dry thoroughly inside and out. Remove giblets and turkey neck from inside of turkey and rub liberally with kosher salt. Brine turkey, if desired. Combine rosemary, sage, thyme, salt and pepper in small bowl. Rub some in each cavity.
Pack body cavity loosely with the stuffing (see below) you will be using, or prepare stuffing separately (do not stuff turkey until the last minute before cooking). If turkey is being stuffed, truss or sew closed, or fasten with small lacing skewers and cotton string. Tuck in wings and fold tail in over the stuffing.
The skin over the breast of the turkey can be loosened and thin strips of lean salt pork may be placed just under the skin to keep the breast meat moist. The wings and thighs can also be wrapped with bacon strips, if desired. Brush the top of the turkey generously with melted butter, and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper, and paprika.
Roast turkey, uncovered, at 375°F, basting frequently with melted butter and turkey or chicken broth, or pan juices. After 1 hour, baste and sprinkle with seasonings again, then make a tent with aluminum foil and cover breast loosely. Reduce heat to 325°F and continue roasting for another hour, basting occasionally.
Uncover breast and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of the thigh registers 165°F (be careful not to allow the thermometer to hit a bone or the reading will be false). This will take about 90 to 110 minutes longer, depending upon the size of the turkey and the oven being used. (Convection oven cooking time should be reduced by 25% - see your oven manual).
While the turkey is roasting, prepare giblet gravy (see below).
When turkey is golden brown and done, allow it to sit for 20 minutes to rest before carving. Transfer turkey to a serving platter. Reserve the pan drippings for gravy. Don't wait for the little plastic "pop-up" devices to pop, or it's likely that the bird will be overdone and dry.
If you don't own an instant read thermometer, test to see if turkey is cooked by inserting the tines of a large fork into the upper thigh. If juice is not pink, then turkey is done.
Carve turkey by removing drumstick, wings and thick by running a sharp carving knife through joints. Remove breast and slice diagonally across the grain. Serve with stuffing, gravy, and your favorite sides.