Arrange rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Place a wire rack on a large rimmed baking sheet; set aside.
Scrub the potatoes clean. Use a fork to poke holes all over each potato.
In a medium bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt in the warm water.
Toss each potato in the warm salt water until the skin is moistened all over. Place the potatoes on the wire rack on the baking sheet.
Bake the potatoes until the center of the largest potato registers 205°F on an instant read thermometer, about 45 minutes - 1 hour.
Remove the potatoes from the oven. Brush the potatoes on all sides with the oil.
Return the potatoes to the oven for 10 more minutes to allow the skin to get nice and crispy.
Use a paring knife to slice the potatoes open lengthwise. Squeeze each potato to open, fluff the insides with a fork, and add your desired toppings.
Prick each potato with a fork before baking. This allows steam to escape so that your potato doesn't explode in the oven.
Select potatoes that are all roughly the same size and shape so that they will bake in the same amount of time.
Turn the potatoes over once or twice during the baking process to ensure even cooking.
According to the folks at Cook's Illustrated, it's important to temp the inside of your potato to know when it's perfectly cooked. When baking a russet potato, the goal is for its starch to soak up so much interstitial water that its cells sweet and separate, rendering the interior uniformly dry and fluffy. This happens when the inside of the potato exceeds 205°F.
Cut a slit in the top of your potatoes as soon as they come out of the oven. If you allow a baked potato to sit for too long before cutting into it, the insides will develop a gummy texture.