Stir together apple juice and next 2 ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Remove giblets and neck from turkey, and rinse turkey with cold water. Drain cavity well; pat dry. Place turkey in a large roasting pan. Dip cheesecloth in apple juice mixture. Wring dry. Cover turkey with cheesecloth; pour apple juice mixture over cheesecloth, coating completely. Cover and chill 12 to 24 hours, basting occasionally with marinade.
Preheat oven to 325°. Remove turkey from pan, discarding cheesecloth and reserving 3 cups marinade. Sprinkle cavity with desired amount of salt; rub into cavity. Sprinkle desired amount of salt and freshly ground pepper on skin; rub into skin. Tie ends of legs together with string; tuck wingtips under.
Arrange celery and next 3 ingredients in a single layer in bottom of roasting pan. Place turkey, breast side up, on celery mixture; pour reserved marinade over turkey in pan.
Bake at 325° for 3 hours and 15 minutes to 4 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh registers 165°, basting every 30 minutes with pan juices and shielding with aluminum foil after 2 hours and 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Remove from oven, and let stand 30 minutes.
Transfer turkey to a serving platter, reserving 2 1/2 cups pan drippings. Pour reserved drippings through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup, discarding solids.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually add drippings, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring mixture occasionally, 5 minutes or until gravy thickens. Add up to 1/2 cup chicken broth for desired consistency, if desired. Stir in salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve turkey with warm gravy.
This was the very first Turkey I have ever cooked and IT. WAS. FANTASTIC! Everyone raved! The color was gorgeous, the turkey was so moist, the flavor was perfect and the gravy was delicious! I've never made gravy either and it was a cinch! The directions for this recipe are spot on.