Place turkey, breast side down, on a cutting board. Remove back bone with poultry shears and cut through ribs (you can also have a butcher do this.) Turkey should be able to spread open (we have now butterflied it.) Turn turkey, breast side up, and using good force, push hard down on the turkey breast. You should have the legs and wings pushing out sideways (like the bird has been flattened.) You will hear cracks and notice that the turkey is flatter.
If brining, do this now and follow directions accordingly (I skipped brining this time.)
Remove turkey from brine, move to a baking sheet or pan (with a rack on top) with wings tucked underneath, and pat dry. Allow turkey to sit, uncovered, in refrigerator overnight.
On the day of cooking, remove turkey from refrigerator. Season with pepper, garlic, thyme, and paprika. If you did NOT brine, rub salt on as well. If you DID brine, skip the salt!
Preheat oven to 450°F. Once hot, move turkey into oven.
Cook for 30 minutes. Rotate pan. Cook for another 30 minutes. Check internal temperatures. Turkey is complete when legs reach an internal temperature of 180°F, and breast reach 165°F. Mine needed about an extra 15-20 minutes to cook through.
Immediately cover turkey with aluminum foil and allow to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes. Perfect time to make some gravy!
Slice and serve!
Notes: If you are brining your turkey, omit salt in this recipe. Cook time varies (consistent oven temperature, size of turkey, etc.) Save the turkey neck and backbone to make gravy! For larger turkeys, add roughly 6 minutes per pounds onto cook time. For VERY large turkeys, oven temperature will have to be lowered to 375°F after initial 30 minutes of cook time at 450°F as turkey will burn before it cooks through.
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