Take the giblets and neck out of the turkey and wash the bird inside and out (use the giblets and neck to make stock). Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers, and pat the inside and outside dry. Then pour hot water over the skin of the turkey. The skin will tighten (this pulls the proteins in the skin together to form a tight surface that crisps up better). Pat dry the turkey again with paper towels.
Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan. Add one cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Brush the outside of the bird with melted butter.
Mix together the Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, and Vegeta or salt.
Rub the herb mixture liberally all over the turkey, spreading a little in the cavity and being sure to season the back, the breasts, and the meaty thighs.
Wash the lemon and peel the onion. Press cloves into the onion. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, clove-studded onion, and the bay leaves.
Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
Cover and roast for 2½ hours until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear. Uncover the turkey, and continue baking until the skin turns golden brown, 30 minutes to 1 hour longer. (The internal temperature should reach 170 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast and 180 degrees in the thigh)
Remove the turkey to a cutting board and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 20 minutes.
Carve the turkey with a sharp knife and serve.
If you can, go for a fresh, not frozen, turkey. Otherwise, make sure to defrost it in the refrigerator way ahead of the roasting day.
For even crispier skin, leave the turkey in the fridge (in a pan to catch any juices that may leak) uncovered overnight.
If you're tight on a schedule, leave the turkey be - don't be opening the oven ever so often, or you will prolong the cooking time.
The minimum internal temperature should reach 165 F for safety, but I always go a safer route and bake it to 170 -180 degrees.
Let the roast stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. It will carve more easily.
Storage: Place leftover turkey meat in a dish with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for 3-6 months.
Read the post above for more helpful tips, equipment needed, and FAQs.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used.