My Favorite Juicy, Roasted Turkey Recipe

My first year being married, I hosted a Friendsgiving Potluck dinner. I invited perhaps a little over 10 people to my tiny humble home. The second year, there were at least 22 people. This year was my Fourth Annual Friendsgiving Potluck (it has a name now), in which over 30 people joined and words won’t even begin to explain how blessed I am. 

The first year that I cooked the turkey, I hadn’t slept all night due to the nightmares that everyone left my house puking from salmonella poisoning. I kept running back and forth to the kitchen, checking to see if the ice surrounding the turkey was still cold. (My refrigerator was too small to fit the turkey.)

As everyone stuffed their faces, I prayed that they weren’t going to leave sick. 

True story.

Just in case, y’all are wondering, no one got sick. 😉

Now that I got that off my chest, after four years of yummy turkey making under my belt, i’m here to share my roasted turkey recipe. You’re welcome.

I make two turkeys; one recipe that is tested and approved and one that is my “experimental” turkey. And when I say experimental, don’t get crazy, I just mean that i’ll cover it, not baste and/or not brine. Basically, I just do one thing differently to test it out without ruining everyone’s feast.

I think after some practice, I’m confident to share this recipe. Feel free to use it this season.

Note: Pictures pending. Please hang on tight until i’m able to shoot some amateur candid ones.

First, I start with the turkey.

Make sure you buy the pounds of uncooked (frozen) deliciousness at least four days before the day. The rule of thumb is one pound per person. That all depends on how much leftovers you want too, and I don’t know about you but I don’t like leftover turkey. Do as you please.

So, I am a big, fat …

wait for it …

fan of brining the turkey. I’ve tried a few brining recipes; some use soy sauce, some chicken broth but my favorite HAS to be Ree Drumand’s (The Pioneer Woman) brining recipe found here.

A few things I do differently is that I use apple juice instead of apple cider and I crush the garlic, instead of mincing but those are both changes due to my incredible laziness.

Oh, and I use a bucket and fill it up with ice as it brines. I still don’t have any room in my refrigerator.

Now for the fun part !!!

Discard the brine, this could get messy, it always does, and wash the turkey good. Like really good. Under the wings, inside the cavity. Like really rub this baby down. You can even submerge it in water for ten minutes if you like but ‘aint nobody got time for that.

Now that it’s clean, dry it. No seriously, dry the turkey with paper towels.

The inside too. JUST DO IT!

Okay, it’s not the time to get crazy.

Melt some butter, like a cup or two, and add paprika, garlic powder and lemon pepper to the melted butter and give the bird a good rub. Really get in there with the butter.

I even add a little canola oil to it if i’m feeling spunky.

Now take like a tablespoon of butter, yes more butter, and stick it under the skin right on that breast. Now on the other breast.

Now it’s time to get intimate.

Take a palm-ful of cardamom powder and rub the inside with it.

Did you notice that i don’t measure? Just the way my momma taught me.

Okay so here’s where I get into a debate with the elders about. I don’t like stuffing the turkey. I don’t like how mushy the rice gets although I heard some people “die” for it. Not literally, but you know …

Instead, I stuff it with rosemary, parsley, a cut up onion and you know this year i’m feeling a little festive and might throw in an apple. Why not.

Once you got the turkey all buttered up, put it on a turkey rack. If you don’t you’ll be sorry. Just as sorry as I was this year when I decided I didn’t need it. That turkey doesn’t need to bathe in it’s juices.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees and cook the turkey at the temperature for 30ish minutes uncovered, to guarantee a nice brown color.

Then, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and tent the turkey with aluminum foil. By tenting, I mean take a large piece of aluminum foil, fold in half (lengthwise) and place gently on top of turkey. Gently.

Cook it at the temperature until it’s all done. I would say about three and a half hours for a 20 pounder but don’t take my word for it and make sure you use the meat thermometer.

One more thing: basting.

I can’t make up my mind about this procedure. To baste or not to baste?

Well, I baste but just a few times while it’s cooking.

Once your thermometer reads 165 degrees, stare at your turkey and praise the Lord.

Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before googling, How To Carve a Turkey for Dummies.

Hope you all enjoy your feast and time with family just as much as I will.





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