Three days before serving, in a blender or spice grinder, finely grind salt, marjoram, thyme, juniper berries, peppercorns, and anise seeds.
Remove and discard leg truss from turkey. Pull off and discard any lumps of fat. Remove giblets and neck; save neck for gravy. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. Cut off wing tips to the first joint and reserve for gravy. Rub half the herb mixture all over turkey; sprinkle remaining in body cavity. Cover and chill for 3 days.
Preheat oven to 325° (convection not recommended). Put rosemary sprigs and garlic inside turkey body cavity. Gently push your hand between skin and turkey breast to separate skin from breast. Spread about half the butter over breast under skin. Melt remaining butter and brush lightly over top of turkey. Coat a V-shaped rack with cooking-oil spray and set in a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan. Place turkey, breast down, on the rack. Roast turkey for 1 3/4 hours.
Meanwhile, cook turkey wing tips and neck for pan gravy. Remove turkey from oven and turn breast side up. Return to oven. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted straight down through thickest part of breast to the bone registers 160°, 45 to 60 minutes longer.
Tip turkey to drain juices from cavity into pan and transfer to a platter. Let stand in a warm place, uncovered, for 15 to 30 minutes. Finish gravy, then carve turkey.
Note: In nutritional analysis, sodium is N/A.
Use a turkey that hasn't been infused with broth or butter.
Total time does not include curing.
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I first made this turkey for Thanksgiving when the recipe came out in Sunset magazine. My sister and brother-in-law came over for dinner that year.
They asked for the recipe, and DUPLICATED the entire meal at their house the following week. When asked why, they replied that they couldn't get enough of the turkey, and had to make more for themselves!
It's THAT good. :-)
I found the original recipe in Sunset magazine five years ago, and have been making this ever since! My best friend was there the first time I made it, and now SHE has been making it also. This is, hands down, THE best turkey (and gravy!) I have tasted. I have had a couple people (that I have given the recipe to) tell me they have scaled it down and used it on chicken as well, with great results. If you are unsure about this... DO NOT BE. It really is fabulous, and I hope Helena Darling realizes what a gem she has in this recipe! If I could give her a hug, I would! :D I have the spice rub all ready to go for tomorrow, and I cannot wait until Thursday to enjoy this again. The only ingredient that *may* be a little harder to find would be the juniper berries. I get them at a local spice shop.
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