Recipe Oven: Thanksgiving Turkey

In this step-by-step tutorial, we’ll guide you through the process of preparing a delicious and flavorful Dry Rubbed Roast Turkey for your Thanksgiving feast. The dry rub enhances the natural flavors of the turkey while keeping it juicy and tender. The combination of kosher salt, brown sugar, and aromatic spices creates a mouthwatering blend that will leave your guests craving for more. Let’s dive into the ingredients and instructions to create a memorable and delectable turkey dish.Recipe Oven: Thanksgiving Turkey

Ingredients for making a Dry Rubbed Roast Turkey:

  1. 1 12–14-lb turkey
  2. 1/2 cup kosher salt
  3. 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  4. 2 sticks unsalted butter
  5. 1 cup of water
  6. 1/4 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  7. 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  8. 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  9. 2 tbsp honey
  10. 3 sprigs rosemary
  11. 2 1″ strips orange zest

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1: Preparing the Dry Brine

  • To kick-start the process, we need to prepare the dry brine. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup of kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar. This mixture will infuse the turkey with a delightful balance of flavors. The kosher salt ensures that the turkey stays moist during the roasting process, while the brown sugar adds a subtle hint of sweetness.Recipe Oven: Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 2: Coating the Turkey with the Dry Brine

  • Take the turkey and generously rub it with the dry brine mixture. Make sure to coat both the exterior and the cavity of the bird. Place the turkey on a baking sheet, ensuring it is not covered, and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. The dry brine will work its magic, enhancing the turkey’s flavor and texture.Recipe Oven: Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 3: Preparing the Butter Rub

  • While the turkey is in the refrigerator, it’s time to prepare the flavorful butter rub. In a mixing bowl, combine 2 sticks of unsalted butter with crushed garlic cloves, honey, sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar), Worcestershire sauce, and finely chopped rosemary leaves. Mix everything thoroughly until you get a smooth and fragrant butter mixture.Recipe Oven: Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 4: Buttering the Turkey

  • Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and generously rub the butter mixture under and over the skin. This will not only add incredible flavors but also help to keep the meat moist during the roasting process. Once the turkey is coated with the butter rub, tie the legs together with kitchen twine for even cooking.Recipe Oven: Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 5: Roasting the Turkey

  • Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). While the oven heats up, add 1 cup of water to the roasting pan to create a moist cooking environment for the turkey. Place the turkey on a roasting rack inside the pan, and add 2 strips of orange zest to the water. The citrus aroma will infuse the turkey as it cooks, adding a delightful twist to the overall flavor.
  • Put the roasting pan with the turkey in the preheated oven and roast it at 450°F for 30 minutes. This initial high-temperature roasting will create a beautifully golden and crispy skin.Recipe Oven: Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 6: Glazing the Turkey

  • After 30 minutes, remove the turkey from the oven and baste it with the pan juices. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C). Glaze the turkey with the remaining butter rub, ensuring an even distribution of flavors.Recipe Oven: Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 7: Continued Roasting

  • Place the turkey back into the oven and continue roasting at 300°F until the internal temperature of the breast meat reaches 150°F (65°C). This slow-roasting process will ensure the turkey is cooked to perfection, retaining its juiciness and tenderness.
  • Once the turkey has reached the desired internal temperature, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 45 minutes. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a moist and succulent turkey.Recipe Oven: Thanksgiving Turkey

Step 8: Serving

  • Carve the turkey into slices and arrange them on a serving platter. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs and orange zest for a touch of elegance. Your Dry Rubbed Roast Turkey is now ready to be served and savored with joy and gratitude on this special occasion.Recipe Oven: Thanksgiving Turkey

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Can I use a frozen turkey for this recipe?

A: Yes, you can use a frozen turkey, but make sure to thaw it completely before applying the dry brine and butter rub. Thawing a turkey in the refrigerator may take a few days, so plan ahead accordingly.

Q: Can I adjust the dry rub ingredients to suit my taste preferences?

A: Absolutely! The beauty of this recipe lies in its adaptability. Feel free to adjust the quantities of salt, sugar, and spices to suit your taste buds.

Q: How long can I store the leftovers?

A: You can store the leftover turkey in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For longer storage, consider freezing the meat.

Q: Can I use this dry rub for other poultry dishes?

A: Yes, this dry rub is incredibly versatile and can be used for chicken, duck, or other poultry dishes to add a burst of flavor.

Q: What can I serve with the Dry Rubbed Roast Turkey?

A: Traditional Thanksgiving side dishes like mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, and stuffing complement the turkey perfectly.

Q: Can I substitute the orange zest with lemon zest?

A: Yes, you can swap orange zest for lemon zest if you prefer a slightly different citrus flavor.


Cooking a Dry Rubbed Roast Turkey for your Thanksgiving celebration will undoubtedly impress your guests and make it a memorable occasion. The combination of the dry brine and butter rub will elevate the turkey’s taste and create a succulent, flavorful centerpiece for your feast. Follow the step-by-step instructions, and don’t hesitate to add your personal touch to the recipe. Enjoy this delightful dish, surrounded by loved ones and celebrating the joy of togetherness.

Jessy Lion

From the heart of my bustling kitchen, I, Jessy Lion, share my love for food, bringing a wealth of 25 years of culinary experience to your table. Aged 40, my life revolves around not just cooking, but also cherishing, and crafting unique experiences around food.

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