We wanted a moist and flavorful bird with plenty of well-seasoned drippings. (That way we could use them to make the best gravy!) The key is to use traditional Thanksgiving herbs (think parsley, sage, rosemary, bay and thyme) and classic aromatics like onion and garlic. For richness, we basted with butter which also makes the most golden-brown and crispy skin. Leaving the bird untrussed allows the air to circulate for more even cooking.
Adjust a rack in the lowest position and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove any turkey parts from the neck and breast cavities and reserve for other uses if desired. Dry the bird well with paper towels, inside and out. Salt and pepper the inside of the breast cavity and stuff the onion, garlic, herbs, and bay leaves inside. Set the bird on a roasting rack set in a roasting pan breast-side up. Brush generously with half of the butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tent the bird with foil.
Roast the turkey for 2 hours. Remove the foil and baste with the remaining butter. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F in the thigh of the bird, about 45 minutes more.
Remove the turkey from the oven and set aside to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Carve and serve.