Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 1 hr 20 mins Servings: 8 to 10
1 large onion
4 ribs celery
1 (12- to 13-pound) turkey, completely thawed
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Line a large-rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Very coarsely chop the vegetables and scatter over the pan. Set aside.
Place turkey on a large cutting board, breast side down. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels to make it easier to handle. Use a large pair of sharp poultry shears to cut the backbone out of the turkey. Start at the tail and cut up one side of the backbone, then proceed to the other side. Some bones may be a little tougher to cut through, so you may have to use both hands on the shears. You can also use a chef’s knife for this, but I find the shears safer and easier. (You can discard the backbone or use it to make stock for gravy.)
Then flip the turkey over and place both hands firmly in the center of the breast and press down with considerable force to break the breastbone and flatten the turkey — the flatter the better.
Place turkey on top of vegetables.
In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, poultry seasoning, pepper and salt together. Dry the turkey again with a few paper towels then liberally brush the entire turkey (including the inside) with the mixture. You can rub some under the skin of the breasts for even more flavor. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey to keep them from burning.
Heat oven to 450 F. Allow the turkey to rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes while the oven heats. Cook turkey for 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes (rotating the pan about halfway through cooking) or until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 F (the breast should read about 155 F) when tested with a meat thermometer. Residual heat will continue to cook the bird once it’s out of the oven, so the temperature will rise more even after being taken out. If you find the turkey starting to burn, you can always reduce the heat a bit or cover the darkest part of it with aluminum foil. Each turkey and oven is a little different, so you may need to make minor adjustments as it’s cooking to make sure it’s cooked completely without drying out.
Allow the turkey to rest 15 to 20 minutes so the juices redistribute before carving.