Cook: Olive Oil & Herb-Encrusted Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey

Consider this your stress-free, step-by-step Thanksgiving Turkey recipe, transforming you from Ho Hum Holiday Host to this year’s Thanksgiving Toast, complete with a series of easy-to-follow, fully-tested tips from our friend and food blogger David Olson.



1 gallon water
½ gallon chicken stock, low or no-sodium
1 cup salt
½ cup brown sugar
Handful of peppercorn seeds, smashed garlic cloves & whole rosemary sprigs

½ cup olive oil, plus additional for basting
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ground peppercorn, or to taste
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 15lb fresh turkey, giblets removed, rinsed & patted dry with paper towel

Turkey Cavity Aromatics:
1 onion, quartered
1-2 carrots, chopped.
4-6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 piece of ginger root, peeled & chopped
1 orange, peel only
Sprigs of rosemary & thyme

Roasting Liquids:
3 cups chicken stock, low or no-sodium
1 cup dry white wine, chardonnay or pinot grigio
Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
Parsley, to garnish


1. 24-48 hours in advance of turkey roasting – Over stove-top in a large stock pot bring all ingredients to a raging boil. Stir intermittently until sugars dissolved. Remove from heat & allow to cool completely. Submerge whole, uncooked turkey. Cover with lid & place pot in refrigerator for 1.5 hours per pound of turkey (ie. Brine 20 pounds of turkey 30 hours).
2. Remove from Refrigerator. Thoroughly rinse exterior & cavity of the bird, washing away excess salt. Pat the turkey entirely dry with paper towel. Discard brine. Prepare for immediate seasoning & roasting.

1. In small mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Apply to turkey immediately or seal in air-tight container & refrigerate up to 2 weeks for later use.

1. Thaw & brine turkey, per recommendations above.
2. Wrap bird tightly in plastic wrap & rest at room temperature for one hour prior to roasting.
3. Remove wrap, pat bird entirely dry with paper towel, then apply a liberal degree of Thanksgiving Fresh Herb Rub to exterior skin & interior cavity of the turkey. See recipe above.
4. Preheat oven to 325℉.
5. Lightly & loosely stuff the turkey cavity with prepared vegetables & herbs.
6. Tie together rear legs of the turkey with kitchen string & tuck wings under the bird’s thighs.
7. In a roasting pan with fitted turkey rack, pour roasting liquids & remaining aromatics, then place stuffed turkey breast side down upon the rack.
8. Set turkey in the oven, roasting per time recommendation here:

  • Not Stuffed: 10-15 pounds: 2-3.5 hours| 15-20 pounds: 3.5-4 hours | 20-25 pounds: 4-5 hours | 25-30 pounds: 6 hours
  • Stuffed: Add 5-7 minutes per pound of turkey.

Chef’s Note: Cook to temperature, not time – Begin checking the bird’s temperature 30-45 minutes prior to recommended cooking time by inserting a digital read internal thermometer into thickest portion of the turkey thigh, without touching the bone. Remove the bird from roasting at 160F.

Chef’s Note: After removing the bird from the oven, the internal juices will continue to cook the bird from the inside out – Tent the turkey loosely with tin foil while the bird rises to USDA suggested serving temperature 165F. Tent resting time is 30-60 minutes.

Flip the bird breast-side up after 30-45 minutes, basting intermittently with olive oil & roasting pan liquids. When internal temperature of the turkey reaches 150F, turn the oven from 325F to 500F, blasting the turkey exterior with an intense burst of heat, crisping the skin until golden brown. Remove turkey from oven when internal temperature of thigh meat reads 160F.

9. Loosely tent roasting pan with tin foil, allowing the bird’s proteins to relax & reabsorb it’s juices, while the internal temperature to arises to 165F. The turkey should rest for 30-60 minutes before carving.
10. Remove & discard cavity aromatics. Set aside roasting liquids for gravy. Slice bird. Serve. Eat. Drink. Be merry.

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