One of my favorite meals is Thanksgiving turkey because there are so many ways you can roast it to bring out the flavor. One of those ways is to make an olive oil herb rub that you can baste onto your turkey, both over and underneath the skin.
I personally think that it’s better if you can get more of the herb rub underneath the skin, but you have to be careful, because not only do you want the turkey to look evenly roasted, but you also want the skin to hold in moisture, so that the meat doesn’t get dried out. Also, if you want a juicier turkey, consider cooking it in a professional electric roaster.
Also, because everyone has different tastes, you can opt to use more or less of the ingredients listed here to make the herb rub however you like. You can also use a small onion or apple in your turkey while it’s roasting, but again it’s a matter of taste preference.
I’ve seen herb rub recipes that use 3/4 of a cup of oil and even incorporate butter into the herb rub. But I like to use just enough oil and not overdo it on the fat, so that the herbs stick to the bird. So here is my recipe for herb roasted turkey and I hope that you and your family will enjoy all the blessings of this Thanksgiving holiday season.
Thanksgiving Herb Roasted Turkey Recipe
1 12 – 15 lb. Turkey (fresh or thawed)
1 Small Onion Quartered (you can also substitute a small apple)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 Teaspoon dried Parsley
1 Teaspoon dried Thyme
1 Teaspoon dried Rosemary
1 Can of Chicken Broth
½ Cup of Water
While we’re on the subject of holiday food, I recall an incident very early on in my cooking days. It was well before Christmas when I decided I was going to purchase the entire meal to save myself the stress of cooking. So I ordered spiral ham, glaze, the side dishes and even dessert.
But, it was two days before Christmas so when I still did not see my order, I gave them a call, only to find out the order was lost. Oh and they could not possibly ship the food out in time. And while they were very, very sorry, it would have been nice if someone had sent me an apology in the form of a nice food gift…don’t ya think?
So it was off to the supermarket where you never saw anyone slam a holiday meal together faster. Anyway, I actually still use that holiday food company because they have nice food gift ideas to send to relatives. But these days, I stick to my own cooking for the holidays and I enjoy it even more.
So now, let’s get back to that herb roasted turkey.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- Remove the giblets and neck from turkey. (Either save for gravy or discard).
- Rinse the turkey with cold water and place it breast side up into a large, shallow roasting pan. Do not add liquid to the bottom of the pan.
- Tuck in the wings of the turkey or foil them to keep them from overcooking.
- Put the onion quarters into the turkey neck cavity and secure the neck skin with a skewer
- Pour a 1/4 cup of olive oil into a large measuring cup and add in the salt pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, thyme and rosemary.
- Gently loosen the skin from the breast and place 1 tablespoon of herb mixture under the turkey skin and use a basting brush to coat the surface.
- Rub the outside of turkey with remaining herb mixture until fully coated.
- Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, being careful not to pierce the bone.
- Roast the turkey uncovered for approximately 2 hours or until the skin appears to be browning.
- Once the skin is browned, baste the turkey using the can of chicken broth and add the ½ cup of water to the bottom of the pan to loosen up any browned bits.
- Now tent the turkey with aluminum foil and continue to roast it.
- Cook your turkey according to weight, while periodically basting it using the drippings at the bottom of the pan.
- When the turkey is fully cooked the meat thermometer should read 180 degrees.
- Remove the turkey from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
This is how the herb rubbed turkey looks before roasting.
And this is how it looks all done.
Cooking Suggestions & Tips:
- Remember that the olive oil in the herb rub will make the turkey skin brown faster, so if you prefer, you can just put the herb rub underneath the skin for flavor.
- If you are stuffing your turkey, you can also baste the inside of the turkey cavity with the herb rub, before you put the stuffing in.
- Cooking time required for a stuffed turkey is typically about 30 minutes per pound and for unstuffed, it’s 20 minutes per pound.
- If you like mushrooms, a few whole mushrooms roasted at the bottom of your turkey pan will also add a rich flavor to the pan drippings.
For more great tips on how to roast a Thanksgiving Turkey visit:
Butterball’s how-to’s page