Chefs often rely on a technique called scoring to guarantee a succulent, flavorful turkey with crisp, golden skin. Use a meat tenderizer to make tiny pinpricks across the surface of the poultry skin. This allows seasonings to quickly and completely penetrate the meat and encourages the fat to render, resulting in optimal flavor and texture.
- 2 tsp. dried rosemary
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. ground sage
- 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 Tbs. granulated honey
- 1 whole clove
- 1 tsp. fennel seed
- 1 tsp. crushed Aleppo chili
- 2 tsp. Hungarian paprika
- 3 Tbs. kosher salt
- 1 fresh turkey, 14 to 16 lb., neck, heart and gizzard removed
In a spice grinder, combine the rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic powder, peppercorns, granulated honey, clove, fennel seed, Aleppo chili and paprika. Grind the spices to a medium to fine consistency. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the salt.
Adjust a meat tenderizer so the spikes protrude 1/2 inch. Pound the outside of the turkey with the tenderizer. Rub 1 Tbs. of the spice mixture under the skin of each breast and leg. Rub the remaining mixture on the outside of the turkey. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.
Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 165°F and into the thigh registers 175°F, about 2 hours more. Transfer the turkey to a carving board, tent with foil and let rest for about 30 minutes before carving. Serves 12 to 14.