1/2 stick salted butter, softened
One 12-pound turkey, completely thawed and all giblets removed
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 stalks celery, cut in lengths to fit turkey cavity
1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, cut in half
1 large carrot, cut in lengths to fit the turkey cavity
2 cups boiling water
Adjust the oven racks so the covered roasting pan fit easily inside. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Rub the butter on the outside and in the cavity of the turkey. Sprinkle the salt and pepper on the inside and the outside of the turkey. Put the celery, onion and carrot in the cavity. Place the turkey, breast-side up, in a large roasting pan. Pour the boiling water into the pan. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and put the pan in the oven.
Start a timer when the oven temperature returns to 500 degrees F. Bake for exactly 1 hour and turn off the oven. Do not open the oven door! Leave the turkey in the oven until the oven completely cools; this may take 4 to 6 hours. Reserve the pan juices and refrigerate the turkey if it will not be served soon after roasting.
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