Two days before roasting, rinse, clean and dry the turkey thoroughly. In a food processor, pulse 2 tablespoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the granulated garlic, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and orange zest until uniform but still coarse, about 10 times. Rub the inside of the turkey with the salt mix, then carefully slip your fingers under the breast skin and rub a liberal amount under the skin. Flip the turkey on its side and sprinkle more of the salt mixture on the thigh, wing and leg. Repeat on the other side.
Place the bird in a large zip-top bag or brining bag. (If neither is available, cover with plastic wrap.) Place the bird breast-side up on a wire rack on a sheet pan and then place in the fridge away from any raw food (on a lower shelf). Leave in the fridge for 2 days.
The night before cooking, remove the turkey from the fridge and take it out of the plastic. The skin should be mostly dry and the salt should be dissolved; if any large patches of moisture are present, wipe with paper towels. Place back in the fridge, uncovered, for another 8 hours to dry out completely.
On the day of, take the turkey out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Fit a roasting pan with a wire V-rack. Put the turkey on the rack and brush with one-quarter of the melted butter. Roast 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 325° and continue roasting, basting occasionally with the remaining melted butter, until a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees F, about another 2 hours. Let the turkey rest 30 to 45 minutes before carving.
5. "This turkey is the perfect blend of moist, seasoned meat and crisp skin. It's the best darned thing I've ever made."
ACTIVE: 30 min TOTAL: 3 hr (plus 2- to 3-day brining and refrigerating) SERVES: 10 to 12
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