Smoked paprika is the key to the turkey rub in this recipe, perfect for Thanksgiving with a twist. It can be purchased in gourmet markets and online. Roasting the bird breast-side down for the first half keeps the breast meat succulent and moist.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Mix the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the water to make a paste. Rub the mixture all over the turkey, particularly under the skin and onto the breast meat.
Place the turkey breast-side down on a roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Add the remaining water to the pan. Roast for 1 ½ hours.
Remove the turkey from the oven and turn it over; either use silicone oven gloves or cover the bird with foil and use cloth oven mitts to turn it over.
Continue roasting, basting occasionally with pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 180 degrees, about 1 ½-2 more hours.
If the bird is browning too deeply, tent with foil while it continues to bake. If the pan runs out of juices, add about ½ cup water, scrape up any browned bits, and use this liquid for basting. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before carving.