Recipes

dry-brined turkey with roasted onions

For 13 years, this site has not had a turkey recipe for a few, perhaps not terribly convincing, reasons. I don’t usually host; it’s usually a family member with, I’m sure just coincidentally, more than a 2-bedroom apartment of space. Second, I mean, this is the internet, right? And there are, as of this morning, 200,000 search results for “roast turkey.” Probably there’s a gem or two in there for you and you’ve got this covered? Finally, the truth: turkey has never been my favorite bird. I mean, when it’s done well, I do enjoy my yearly two slices (dark, please), but I’ve rarely been summoned with the motivation to finetune a recipe in the off-season.

But then a couple things changed. A few years ago I started hosting Friendsgivings (see here and here) and now, a few turkeys later, I — inevitably — have a lot of opinions about turkey. For example, when you’re making a turkey the size you need for the 18 to 25 people most Thanskgivings may entail, you’re going to want to find a way to treat the bird in a way that it won’t dry out in all of the hours it will take to safely cook through. I’ve wet-brined (a nightmare with delicious results, but still a nightmare) and dry-brined, and the latter was the clear winner.

lots of onions

My second opinion is that if you’re putting anything besides a lot of quartered onions under your turkey, you’re missing out on one of the best things we have ever eaten. I tried it after rejecting the usual medley (potatoes, carrots, or other vegetable) because they were represented more generously in other side dishes at the table. I never looked back. Over a few hours in the oven collecting buttery, salty drippings, they become otherworldly: both deeply caramelized to the point of jammy sweetness, but charred and salty too. There’s enough to go around. Since they will taste too good to share, however, I might take this time to remind myself of the key Thanskgiving themes: generosity, gratitude, hospitality, and probably not standing in the kitchen eating onions off a knifepoint? Okay, fiiine.

butter-maple-chile paste

My third opinion is, in fact, my view on All Things Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving recipes should be rivetingly simple, the kind of short ingredient list, high reward stuff that has no mise-en-place, because all of my dishes are otherwise engaged when I’m having 21 people over. If I can make a stunning, perfectly cooked, delightfully-seasoned, crisp-skinned turkey with merely 6 ingredients and 2 steps, I’m simply not going to make the one with 15. Not today, St. Martha.

This turkey follows the rules. I took a risk the first year and kept it really basic, seasoning with only salt, and pepper, and basting with butter after brining and seasoned, juicy, and delicious. However, now I’m hedging, just slightly, on this, because I accidentally did what I thought I never would: tested a turkey recipe when the month didn’t require it.

dry-brined turkey with roasted onions

Earlier this year, I made a slow-roasted whole chicken and ended up brushing the well-salted skin with a mixture of butter, maple syrup, and gochujang chili paste and it was astoundingly good but I had this nagging feeling it this chicken wished it was a turkey. Hear me out: turkeys are slow-roasted birds; turkeys are wonderful with a salty-spicy-sweet finish. And unlike many other hunches in my life (no we’re not going to talk about the wide-leg mom jeans today), this one was actually on-point, and we get to reap the burnished, delicious rewards.

dry-brined turkey with roasted onions

Previously

Six months ago: Raspberry Crumble Tart Bars
One year ago: Drop Cornbread Biscuits
Two years ago: Endive Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Walnuts
Three years ago: Cheesecake-Marbled Pumpkin Slab Pie
Four years ago: Apple Cider Sangria and Date, Feta, and Cabbage Salad
Five years ago: Pickled Cabbage Salad and Pretzel Parker House Rolls
Six years ago: Cranberry-Orange Breakfast Buns and Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onion
Seven years ago: Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Eight years ago: Gingersnaps
Nine years ago: Upside-Down Cranberry Cake and Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Goat Cheese
Ten years ago: Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin and Sweet Potato and Buttermilk Pie
Eleven years ago: Pepita Brittle and Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers
Twelve years ago: Roasted Stuffed Onions and Simplest Apple Tart
Thirteen years ago: Chocolate Stout Cake

Dry-Brined Turkey with Roasted Onions

  • Servings: 12 to 16
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

Read the notes at the end first, pretty please.

  • 1 12- to 16-pound fresh turkey
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon of a chile paste — gochujang, harissa, or chipotle — plus more to taste
  • 8 to 10 medium onions, half red, half yellow, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sunflower, safflower, or another high-heat friendly oil

1 to 2 days before serving: Make sure the giblets (usually in a bag) are removed from the turkey’s cavity. Sprinkle all over with kosher salt, using about 1 tablespoon per 4 pounds of bird, including some into cavities. I do this on a rack in my roasting pan. Loosely cover with plastic and place in the fridge for 1 to 2 days, and until 4 to 5 hours before you want to serve it.

1 to 2 hours before roasting: Remove plastic and discard any juices that have collected around the bird. Allow to come to room temperature, which will take 1 to 2 hours. No need to rinse any salt off the bird; it’s all as it should be.

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours before serving: Heat oven to 450°F with a rack on the lowest level of the oven. If you plan to stuff the turkey with anything, do so now. Truss the legs (tying them together) with kitchen twine or, uh, any other string you have around.

Toss the onions with a splash of oil (don’t worry about seasoning, they’ll collect it from the pan) and arrange around the turkey. Combine 1 tablespoon of the melted butter with the maple syrup and chili paste in a small bowl, whisking until smooth. Brush this — or use your hands to coat — all over the turkey, leaving none behind. Here you’re supposed to tuck the wings under the bird to prevent the tips from burning, something I have never successfully done, if we’re being honest. Have a big piece of foil nearby for when you will want to cover the turkey.

Roast turkey for 25 to 30 minutes, then — this is very important — reduce the oven heat to 350° and continue roasting the bird until a thermometer in thickest part of the breast reads 150 to 155.

Beginning when you reduce the heat, periodically baste the turkey with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter, and then, when you’re out of butter, with the juices from the pan.

This turkey is going to brown fairly quick and quite dark. Don’t fret, it will not taste burnt, but go ahead and put the foil on when it gets as dark as you can stand it. Rotate the pan in the oven a couple times, and turn onions in pan over once, for even cooking. Remove the foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of roasting, so the skin crisps up again.

A 14 to 16 pound bird takes a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. A 19.5 pound bird once took over 3 hours. Keep in mind that if you’re opening and closing the oven door a bunch of times to move other dishes around, it will take longer to cook (up to 30 minutes).

Rest, carve, and serve: Allow the turkey to rest at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before carving, which you should estimate 20 or so minutes to do, depending on your comfort level. This will allow the juices to be locked in and the turkey to carry over to an internal temperature of 165°F. Use the rest time to rewarm any sides that need it and to make gravy (see below).

I am not going to write out carving instructions because I personally cannot do it without watching a video. I pop this or this or this up on my phone (I recommend previewing them earlier and picking the one that works for you), hit the pause button a lot, and do my best. When you slice the turkey, make sure your knife is really, really sharp to get those clean cuts. Do you know what else really clean cuts do? Make people think you knew what you were doing. (I absolutely do not.)

Your turkey is going to spill a lot of juices while you carve it. [Updated with a life-changing tip from Cindy in the comments.] Place your cutting board inside a rimmed sheet pan to collect the juices as you carve. Pour some over the sliced turkey (save any left for gravy), plus a final sprinkle of salt and pepper, before serving to keep it warm and seasoned. Arrange onions all around and serve with glee. You totally rocked this; I knew you would.

Notes:

  • Buying turkeys: Heritage- or pasture-raised tend to taste a lot better, if you can find them. Estimate 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per person; I tend to aim to the lower range because we don’t love leftovers and there are so many sides. If your turkey is frozen, defrost 2 to 3 days before in the fridge. They say it takes about 1 day per 5 pounds of turkey. You cannot defrost it at room temperature; it’s just not safe.
  • Salt: I use Diamond brand kosher salt which clocks in at 135 grams a cup which is only important to note because the weight over other brands varies significantly, especially at this quantity. Morton brand = 230 grams per cup and David’s = 288 grams. So, please use half or just about half if you’re using another brand to avoid significantly over-salting your turkey.
  • Doneness: Your turkey is done when a thermometer (this remains my go-to) inserted into thickest part of the breast reads 150F to 155F, or in the thigh at 165F, however, I prefer checking the breast. Thighs are smaller and often hit the “done” temperature sooner but are more forgiving of a few extra degrees. Nobody is forgiving of undercooked turkey breast.
  • Logistics: Here’s a logistical tip I don’t think enough recipes make clear: You want to rest your turkey for 20 to 30 minutes before carving it, tented lightly with foil. It’s then going to take 15 to 20 minutes to carve (I had a friend holding a YouTube video tutorial in front of me because I’m very bad at it.) This gives you 30 to 45 minutes of empty oven time where you can reheat sides, which is more than most need. I have a single, not big, not great oven and this is how I manage to make it work.
  • Extra ingredients: This is — and I know this is very bizarre to many people — and herb- and garlic-free turkey. If you’d like, you can toss 1 lemon and 1 head of garlic, each sliced in half crosswise, and a fistful of thyme, rosemary, and/or sage inside the turkey. I’ve made this turkey with none of these things and I’ve made this turkey with all of these things and I want you to know that it’s excellent both ways. The fragrance of the turkey is more dynamic with the lemon and garlic, but it doesn’t make a large difference, in my opinion, in the final flavor of the slices, so proceed as you wish.
  • Cookware: I’m using this roasting pan.
  • Now, let’s talk about gravy. This is my core gravy recipe:

    Very Simple Gravy
    8 cups turkey or chicken stock (I either use homemade chicken or Better Than Bouillon’s turkey base)
    1/2 cup unsalted butter
    2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons dry marsala or cider vinegar

    Melt butter in an empty pot or your emptied roasting pan and stir in flour. Cook this mixture over moderate heat, whisking, 3 minutes. Add marsala or vinegar, cooking for another minute. Add stock a little at a time, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, then bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

    However, there are three ways to approach this. The first, above, straight gravy and it’s ideal for people who do not want to stress about it, don’t want to wait until the more frenetic time when the turkey is out and needs to be curved, and even want to make it earlier in the day and rewarm it.

    The second is more traditional. You use the same formula but you first pour off drippings that have collected under your turkey. Put them in a glass (or a beaker like this) to allow them to separate. Swap whatever fat accumulates on top with the same amount of butter in the recipe, and drippings with the equivalent amount of broth, and proceed as written.

    The third is a little riskier, but you only live once, right? Place your roasting pan across two stove burners, and bring the liquid (which is a mixture of fat and juices) to a boil. Deglaze the pan, loosening any stuck bits, with a glug of dry marsala or a wine of your choice. Boil all of the juices off until only the fat remains. Eyeball it — you might have just 2 to 3 tablespoons, or you might have more. Add enough butter to get you to 8 tablespoons. Add the flour, and then, since you’ve concentrated flavors so intensely here, you can replace half of the stock with water, to essentially rehydrate them. Season as needed and cook as you would the core recipe.

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    245 comments on dry-brined turkey with roasted onions

      1. Diana Semmelhack

        Deb,
        First time commenter, long time follower.
        This looks delish! I’ve sworn by Ina’s truffle Butter turkey for years, but time to switch it up.
        My question is about the temp….I typically roast on the roast convection setting, should I adjust the temperature listed to accommodate for the convection? I always have this question when following any recipe.

        Thanks Deb

              1. Richard

                Shouldn’t make much difference if you brine past the point of equilibration. In dry brining you use the water in the bird to make the saline solution. You douse the surface with salt which osmotically pulls water out, mixes with the salt, crates a saline solution that is hyper-tonic which then re-enters the bird. The point is salt denaturation of protein to make it hold water better.

                So if the salt has fully moved into the flesh and come to homeostasis brining past that point won’t do much. Perhaps a bit more protein denaturation but little else.

                Wet brining gets a bad rep because you drive water into the bird and pull some of the birds juices out. It’s moist but a bit bland.

                There are other ways to keep the bird moist that do not entail adding salt. If you’re sensitive to salt’s taste or have heath issues that are aggravated by salt intake don’t brine. Despite what anyone says it makes the flesh salty.

          1. Richard

            Unfortunately if moisture is your bag convection ovens are your enemy. They do cook faster but not by magic. They circulate the ovens hot air with fans which eliminates cools spots and uneven heat. Just like your clothes dryer does. That moving air has a greater drying effect than non-moving hot air. So if you’ve just laced your turkey with salt to keep it moist and then put it in a convection oven you may just make a wash of the whole thing. You’re pitting shorter cooking time against a more dehydrating method of cooking. No guarantee which one wins.

    1. Susan

      WAH! I know this is a turkey recipe but where is the said roasted chicken recipe you mention in this post?

      I need to try roasting chicken please!

          1. Heather

            The best turkey recipe ever!! Those onions were amazing. Made it for our early Thanksgiving yesterday, and everyone raved about the bird!

    2. teamhartford

      It’s too late for Canadian Thanksgiving, but I’ve made a note in my calendar to review this post in October 2020. This is one of the sanest-looking turkey recipes I’ve ever seen. Your “single, not big, not great oven” comment reassures me.

        1. My Canadian Thanksgiving Turkey this year was both overdone and raw. I suffered for days with my deep hatred for turkey. Smitten Kitchen is where I go when I want something that’ll actually work, be delicious and be simple. All my SK sides were a hit. The aforementioned poison-bomb turkey, was not. I needed you, Deb.

          1. Sarahundersonstructionblog :) When you have a turkey like that, you can carve it into pieces – separate done from undone. The undone go into a covered pan with broth, juices, etc, and back into the oven at at least 325-400 degrees + to steam -bake, which is faster than other methods without turning the turkey to dust. Check in about 15-20 minutes and use the meat thermometer. For the overdone, I do the same thing, covered dish with water/broth – not too much- and allow to heat up and steam a bit. It may not be the same as it would have been but it’ll be edible. Or…save for soup :) Where it _will_ be moist.

    3. Fran

      Looks delicious! If one does not wish to use butter (to keep the meal completely non-dairy), what would you recommend for the bird instead? Chicken fat, margarine, olive oil, neutral oil? Thank you!

        1. Lauren

          Did you test it with the butter/chile paste under the skin? The only time I can taste the seasoning is when it’s under the skin. I’ve done it both ways – on top and under. I will still try this method! Thanks for the great recipes.

      1. I love the idea of the maple chili paste rub. I use half chicken fat and half margarine (Earth Balance sticks are my preference] instead of butter for my turkey gravy. Not stuffing your turkey? Why bother making one if you don’t stuff it. Challah made with added stuffing spices and onions makes an incredible stuffing base.

      2. joy

        This was amazing. It is the first time I’ve ever made turkey and been truly happy with the results. The onions are amazing. And I poured a little of the pan drippings in when making the gravy and ended up with the most amazing caramelized onion hint to the gravy. Thank you for this recipe!

      1. deb

        Sharp knife and very careful cutting, i.e. the skin needs to be cut before the meat itself, which happens naturally with a sharp knife but a duller one will drag it out of place as it cuts. I try to hold the skin on tightly as I cut and have no problem patting it back if it falls off.

        1. Jordan

          4 am on thanksgiving and I’m realizing that I didn’t know I needed to half the amount of salt if using Morton’s. I am now panicking. Any way to resolve a potentially too salty turkey?

        1. Carrie

          I’m making a tiny thanksgiving for two and therefore only roasting a turkey breast- do you think this recipe/method would work on a breast (with adjusted cooking time of course)?

      1. Adrian

        I have put apples and onions inside turkeys. (More than once, even.) It worked with granny smith, but was disappointing with sweet apples. I didn’t roast the onions under the bird like this, but I’m hoping to do so soon.

      2. JKW

        I have always used granny smith apples and sweet onion under the turkey with a little apple cider. Always delicious and makes for a nice gravy too. I think putting them inside the turkey would be delicious too.

        1. Molly

          Hi Deb! What a beautiful recipe and thank you so much! Can you recommend adjusted cooking times for this recipe with a spatchcocked turkey versus a non-spatchocked one? I know it will depend on size but a rough idea would be great? Thank you!

          1. deb

            I haven’t made one so the only time reference I could give is by Googling — you’ll have as much luck as me! But I do think the method will work with a spatchcocked bird just fine.

    4. Ruth Lorbert

      This looks amazing! Do you think this method of prep & cooking would work with a stuffed bird? Our fav stuffing is bread-based with leeks & dried fruit.

      1. deb

        Yes, it would. In general, stuffed birds need to be cooked longer to ensure the stuffing is safe to eat and there’s a risk of overcooking the turkey to do so. This is why I keep my stuffing on the side. But if it’s working for you, this way will too.

    5. Colleen

      I love the idea of onions. Last year I put a couple of bags of pearl onions in the bottom of the roasting pan the last 45 minutes or so with the turkey up on a roasting rack. I was going to put in an extra bag or two this year as they were the best thing on the table and made delicious leftovers. (Same trick works well with chicken.)
      I have to disagree on not stuffing the bird. In my world, a turkey is just an expensive, single use container for cooking stuffing. That is why I invite guests who like turkey.

    6. Frances

      Ok I have to share my gravy tip, which I learned from my mom. I use a make ahead gravy recipe the day before, but then also deglaze the pan and add the juices to the gravy. It’s the best of both worlds!

    7. meagan greene

      Can you please provide a link or photo of the specific gochuchang chili sauce? There are many different kinds on Amazon. Thank you!

        1. Sarah

          I’m having a hard time visualizing this… Are the onions are under the turkey in the rack or are the onions in the pan while the turkey is on the rack?

            1. Katie K

              This has been answered a couple of time; the onion are under the turkey, either under the rack or the turkey can rest on them without a rack.

    8. Jill

      You almost make me wish I was hosting and cooking a turkey. My least favorite thing to cook (it’s so intimidating) but love to have this recipe for the future!

      1. Amy

        Me too Anya! I just allow myself to cook some (ethically raised as possible) meat for special occasions for friends and family- which I don’t eat, but enjoy watching others enjoy. I’m an all or nothing person- I don’t think annual meat works for my brain, but from an environmental standpoint I think occasional meat on special occasions is sustainable! Also this recipe sounds yum.

      1. deb

        Not even a tiny bit. It’s more like a more flavorful black pepper replacement. You’d want to go to 2T for it to even suggest heat in the final turkey.

    9. susanfried5419

      Does Morton’s kosher salt come in different grinds (fine, medium & coarse)? I can only find the coarse salt, which I use very sparingly. What grind are you using for your recipes?

        1. Cary

          @ATL the salt effectively becomes a liquid brine: it draws out moisture from the meat and is dissolved in it, then is reabsorbed by the meat thereby seasoning it. This method takes time for that process to happen: 24 hours is often recommened, but it makes a flavorful meat and does not add flavorless water to make it soggy . It also allows for better crisping of the skin.

    10. Ashley

      I’d like to try to make it dairy free. I noticed you replied to a previous comment about using a Chicken fat or neutral oil. I have no idea where to get chicken fat. What neutral oil would be your suggestion?

      1. deb

        I often find chicken fat at my local grocery store, sometimes in a can, sometimes in the fridge. Ask your local store; it might just be easier to find in some places. My go-to neutral oils are sunflower and safflower.

        1. JoAZ

          Started using Sunflower oil when I read one of pbs show Sara Moulton’s post on Instagram. I’ve been a fan of hers forever & for those who don’t know her she assisted Julia Child as a young chef when she first started out. I trust her – the canola good/bad thing I never get. I make homemade tortillas using this oil & delicious easier. Another amazing recipe Deb I’m making a very simple turkey breast was sick earlier in week but will use the maple syrup butter mixture with oranges herb stuffing my go to. Have a wonderful thanksgiving- give your Mom & yourself a hug thinking of your Dad. Some people just stay with you.

    11. Lou Ann B Brown

      I’ve always roasted my turkey atop onions, which I then blend into the gravy with an immersion blender. So good you could eat it as a dish unto itself. Thank you for this clear and refreshingly easy turkey tutorial!

    12. J Woessner

      Will the pan drippings from the brined turkey be too salty to use in the gravy? I’ve read warnings to be cautious with them, enough so to make my gravy ahead by browning and simmering turkey wings and a leg the day before to get some great broth.

    13. Cindy Williamson

      Put your cutting board inside a 1/4 or 1/2 sheet pan and you won’t have to worry about the drippings getting everywhere :)

      1. Kathleen Mayone

        Hold up, I just had to pick my jaw off the floor. This is the stupidest, simplest, and greatest tip I’ve read to date. Thank you!

    14. Yozhik

      Finally! I have been searching so long for a turkey that shines as if it was lacqured, but doesn’t involve complicated steps or ingredients. Also, I smiled when I saw the “and roasted onions” part of the title, given your known preference for steakhouse and thanksgiving side dishes. Cannot wait to put the jammy onions on my slices of cornbread!

    15. Jaimie

      Deb you are our Thanksgiving Wizard! Thank for all you do!

      I’ve heard some roasting pans can be used stove-top and some can’t. I guess the direct heat from a burner could be too hot. But how do I know if it’s safe for my pan? It’s just stainless steel, how bad could it be?

    16. Annie

      Deb, how spicy does rub make the skin? Little kids at our table who aren’t heat-spice fans.
      And does rub play well with traditional sage/thyme-forward bread dressing?

    17. Welie

      I love the idea of using onion instead of other veggie (which I agree as side dishes)! Prefer to use big chunk of onion because it’s my favourite!!! Thanks for the recipe! I’m going to try it. I do found a great application on google play sorting all kind of plants with their benefits it’s called Herbs Encyclopedia.
      You can read about onion here https://herbs.page.link/Onion

    18. paulamartinelli

      PERFECT! Very close to Thanksgiving holiday, this recipe is very handy and it looks amazing and delicious, I will need to try it! I am in ketogenic diet now, but hey…it is Thanksgiving, and turkey is a great lean protein ;-)

    19. KatieK

      I’m a little concerned that the onions roasted under the turkey might be greasy; not so? At Thanksgiving I serve green beans with oven roasted onions in a butter sauce so I’m thinking of using the onions roasted with the bird instead. Any thoughts?

    20. Mino

      All these onions cooking with turkey….does that not make the turkey juices taste more like onion soup…making the gravy also onion soup like flavor?

      1. deb

        It’s not something I noticed, but I also don’t think it would bother me. Most of onion soup’s flavor, however, comes from deeply caramelized onions. These approach that but it doesn’t have that kind of intensity.

    21. Becky Turner

      Got a question!!! What If I use the basting mix as part of the “dry rub” inside and out, between the skin and the meat? Going to happen here I think . I use a lot of onions for under the turkey. Makes a great side dish if I do share it…going to be great with this basting sauce!

    22. Sharon

      When you tried this with a chicken, did you also first cook at high heat then reduced temperature? Also may do this with a turkey breast. Do you recommend specific times for either? And, dare I ask, how about subbing the butter with olive oil? For both cholesterol issues and just can’t quite bring myself to cook meat or poultry with butter…..thanks.

      1. deb

        For the chicken, yes, but for less time (I don’t remember how much). Not sure of turkey breast times but I bet it ranges by weight. I’d probably start with less (maybe half) the high heat time.

    23. Cy

      I’m with you, I’m all about the sides and maybe a turkey sandwich the next day. I usually think the best thing about turkey is making turkey tetrazzini with the leftovers ( as my mom did every year) and it would be exceptional with the lovely added flavors here. This recipe looks great and I would readily dive in if I was hosting this year. I love the addition of the onions. It’s Friendsgiving for me and my onion gratin with sage and Gorgonzola. I think I will try this with chicken. Yum!

    24. Cait

      Alright it’s dumb question time! I tried a dry brine a few years ago and a LOT of juice came out of my bird. And it ended up being really dry after roasting. I’m afraid to try again, because it’s not like you can put the juice back in…what did I do wrong?

    25. chanface

      As a result of the chili paste, does the gravy turn out spicy? Wondering how kid-friendly this recipe is (I’m guessing it’s kid friendly, from you!)

      1. deb

        Not even a little. I cannot underscore how little impact the 1T has on a big turkey. It’s more like a black pepper alternative with more color and flavor.

    26. Susan Barton

      I always tuck the wings under. It stops them from burning. You have to manhandle the bird a bit (womanhandle?) but the result is nice and tidy, and the wings don’t splay out, which always looks a little scary to me. Maybe one could practice on the roast chicken?

    27. Katy

      Refer to the Cooks Illustrated explanation about roasting a stuffed turkey: the secret to having food-safe stuffing AND moist turkey, is to stuff the turkey with HOT (too hot to handle) stuffing, then roast straight away. It doesn’t extend the roasting time very much, & the added turkey flavour in the stuffing … I love it.

    28. Lindsey Chance

      When roasting the turkey, do you leave uncovered the entire time? and just loosely apply the foil when it gets to dark? So excited to try this recipe this weekend!

    29. Robin

      To deal with the juices dripping when you carve, I put my whole cutting board on top of a cookie sheet when I carve. At the end I pour all the drippings back into my roasting pan and make my gravy. I’m not wasting any delicious juices and my counter stays a little cleaner.

    30. Alyssa

      Deb! Thank you so much! I’m going to give this a try on my unsuspecting guests next week. Also, thank you for all you do – I’ve been loving your blog, books, and witty banter since 2009 and have never been led astray. You are a true culinary gem.

    31. Shirley

      Are you putting the salt under the skin ? I have found the salt and seasonings are often not very discernible if not put under the skin.

    32. comilona

      I’ve done a dry salt brine for years now (after a wet brine – NEVER AGAIN) and it’s always resulted in a gorgeous, delicious bird. I think I got the “recipe” from Saveur magazine, it’s more of a method than a recipe since you quite literally only use salt and nothing else on the bird itself. Per this method, my turkey is hanging out in my fridge for 1-2 days completely *uncovered*. Doing so ensures the skin sort of dries out, resulting in a lovely crispy skin after cooking. You’ll think your bird is ruined after a few hours of this, but don’t worry! Keep it simple, keep it uncovered. I’m excited to add Deb’s onions and rub to my turkey this year.

    33. Pauline

      I clicked on this article once I had stopped drooling/ licking that turkey photo!
      Quick Q. For the paste, I’ve not seen any of the options in my local supermarket could I get away with adding white pepper?
      Also re: gravy… Sounds alot like hard work and tad stressful
      Do you not have Bisto gravy granules in the states?? You get all flavours from Veggie to Chicken to Beef and Turkey. Few tablespoons add hot water or water from the veggies stir and mix. I like to do it on the hob til bubbling then pour into gravy boat. Ta da 3min gravy. Ahhh Bisto!

      1. deb

        You could use any other kind of pepper you’d like, or hot sauce. Don’t use a full tablespoon of black pepper, of course, it will be too much. We have lots of gravy starters and pre-made gravy here, but none will taste like this. ;)

    34. Sarah in Vancouver

      Yes there are 20,000 recipes on the internet, but I trust YOU, 20,000x more!Perfect timing, I am volunteering again this year to cook a turkey and gravy for my Co-op holiday party in early Dec. Last year I did some internet research and dry-brined in the fridge while it was defrosting. This year I will do it your way. Need to work on my carving though.

    35. Amy

      Hi Deb,
      This looks perfect. Thank you! For those who no longer want to cook with aluminum foil, I offer my mother’s method. She cut a couple of pieces of cheesecloth large enough to cover the turkey–that is, very large. Then she soaked the cheesecloth in the oil/butter/juices in the pan, and laid the soaked cheesecloth over the entire turkey. During the cooking, she basted the whole thing without ever removing the cheesecloth. The skin crisped beautifully, and the turkey browned without burning. Be careful when removing the cheesecloth–you might need to baste it as you do, so the cheesecloth easily releases.

      Note: Mom also sewed a cheesecloth bag for the wild rice stuffing (a Minnesota favorite). It made getting the stuffing out SO much easier.

    36. Meghan

      Welp, I was so excited about this recipe, I went ahead and ordered an organic 14lb turkey from Amazon Prime Now. It arrived deeply chilled — which means it was not frozen, but I don’t think it ever got anywhere close to room temp. I put it immediately in the freezer because I didn’t have any other options, did I? I just assumed all birds from the grocery store would be frozen! My questions are 1) this is okay from a food safety issue, right? Most sources I’ve found suggest yes, but you’re more suspicious of salmonella and I trust you and 2) will this turkey taste alright?

      1. deb

        Absolutely not a food safety expert but can offer solidarity — got a semi-frozen turkey this week from Fresh Direct after ordering a fresh one. I need it for tomorrow so am hoping it’s finished defrosting. The store said to run it under cold water for 30 minutes in the sink (my inner environmentalist is shuddering) and it should be fine but mine was still a little frosty in the center last night.

    37. Thank you Deb! My uncle always cooks our birds on the grill after I prep them. Though I hate to miss the onions — which sound AMAZING — we are going to use your brine and rub method this year, which I’m imagining can only be complemented by the smokiness we usually get on the grill. Will report back.

    38. Alexa

      I don’t own a roasting pan and rarely cook meat. We will have a small turkey and a GIANT Dutch oven- do you think roasting in the Dutch oven would work? I could rest the metal rack from the Instant Pot inside, if having a little lift is the essential part.

    39. Lynn

      This looks amazing!
      Could I do this with a turkey breast? How long would you cook a 12lb turkey breast and same temp as a whole turkey?

    40. Mary

      My store only sells fresh “Butterball” turkeys. Can they be dry brined? The label says a natural water/salt mixture has been injected into turkey. I would love to try your recipe but I am concerned about the bird becoming too salty.

    41. Alex

      Hi Deb, going to use this recipe to make my first ever turkey! Question, I don’t have a formal turkey roasting pan with a rack, can I just put the turkey directly on the onions in whatever roasting container I use?

      This feels like a really amateur question, but that’s where I’m at! Been following you for years, thanks for sharing your food genius with the world!

    42. Adrienne

      I always cooked my turkeys to 165 degrees, and you recommend 150-155 degrees. Why is that? Does it continue cooking as it sits and results in a moister turkey? Thank you

      1. deb

        I talk about this in the recipe: “Rest, carve, and serve: Allow the turkey to rest at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before carving, which you should estimate 20 or so minutes to do, depending on your comfort level. This will allow the juices to be locked in and the turkey to carry over to an internal temperature of 165°F…”

    43. britiney

      Hey, Deb. I usually use a turkey roasting bag. I know I won’t be able to baste, but is there any other reason you think this wouldn’t work in the bag? I’m terrified to try a turkey without the bag to keep the bird moist. I’m frantically printing off all of your t-day recipe ideas. Thanks for keeping us all cooking! xo

      1. deb

        The dry-brine (salting) keep it moist. You can use a bag but I’m never trying to have anything that airtight; I want it to dry a little in the fridge.

    44. Elizabeth Moss

      Roasted onions are always my favorite part of roasted poultry. One way that you can share those delicious roasted onions with others is to make them into a gravy. Put them in a blender with the drippings and some chicken broth to thin out as much as you wish. No need to add flour. Super easy.

    45. Carrie

      I’m making a tiny thanksgiving for two and therefore only roasting a turkey breast- do you think this recipe/method would work on a breast (with adjusted cooking time of course)?

    46. Steph

      I made this last night for a Friendsgiving. It was amazing! I had a 20lb turkey so i did 2tbsp more butter and a little more maple and Chile paste. Plus the lemon/garlic/herbs. It was perfect. So many complements!

      1. Anna Bennett

        As always, your recipes are foolproof showstoppers! I made this turkey recipe today and it was a hit! And so easy! I roasted mine in a foil pan atop onions and whole baby red potatoes. Everything came out perfectly. Thank you!

    47. Sheryl

      I bought two smaller turkeys that I am going to have butterflied. One will be traditional herbs, dry brine and oven roast to make kick-ass gravy. The second I think I will do this combo on the grill. I am with you and don’t love turkey but would take a bath in gravy so need those pan drippings but excited about some flavor!

    48. CEN

      What’s the wweetness factor with the maple syrup? We want a savory bird, not at all sweet. Love appropriately salty, savory skin. I’m hoping the syrup gives just the slightest hint of sweetness rather than announcing maple, along with the subtle spice of the paste. Wondering if I could cut back on the syrup a bit, esp. since my turkey will be on the smaller end of your weight scale.

    49. Amy

      I made this for my first-ever hosted Friendsgiving (meaning it was also my first turkey!) last night and it turned out wonderfully! I was surprised by the lack of drippings, but this could be user error rather than the recipe itself. I also only had the brine on the bird for about 18 hours, so next year I’ll time this out to ensure I have a whole 2 days of brining. Thank you, Deb, for your clear instructions and inspiring confidence in this fledgling turkey chef. Have a great Thanksgiving!

    50. V.J.

      Love the idea of the onions but afraid they’ll absorb a lot of fat and juice I typically use for the gravy and also the stuffing that will be baked in oven. Are the onions necessary for infusing the flavor of the turkey?

      p.s. love your site

    51. Stephania Photography

      Can I make the first simple gravy like way ahead of time? Maybe on Tuesday to just get that part done for the big day? Cooking in our small nyc kitchen so hoping to do as much prep as possible!

    52. Melaura

      My friend, who has never cooked a bird before, made an 11 pound turkey and it turned out great. No roasting pan, sitting in a glass dish, forgot to take out the giblet bag, never turned it over . . . still juicy, flavorful and lovely. Don’t be scared of the glaze being spicy, it isn’t at all, just yummy.

    53. Sara Duke Biscoe

      Happy Thanksgiving! I ordered the mama gochujang hot sauce accidentally instead of a paste- how should I change the amount to the sauce mix without it being too hot spicy? I like that this option is more of a sweet hot rather than a chipotle or harassa taste. I am cooking for an early wed thanksgiving dinner so don’t have enough time to order paste. Thank you!

    54. Hailly

      Can’t wait to try this! Just curious if you need to add any liquid to the roasting pan while cooking? Worried that the juices will burn and will have nothing left for gravy. Or do the onions on the bottom of the pan keep this from happening? Thanks!

    55. Hankins

      That turkey looks amazing! Spending the days before Thanksgiving looking for inspiration (there’s an abundance on this site) and contemplating what (small, but useful gifts) to buy my children for Christmas.

      Can you please tell me the knife set you purchased for your (at the time) 4-year old? I can’t find the recipe in which you mention it.

    56. Allie

      Urgent Thanksgiving question! My bird is around 17lb, just checked it in my fridge and it is still pretty frozen. Any tips on when/how to defrost and if I can dry brine with the salt today or tomorrow even if it is still (a little / or a lot) frozen?

      Do I just pull the plug and buy a fresh turkey tomorrow morning (if I can get my hands on one?)

      So excited to try this recipe!

    57. Mona

      Anyone read that article in the NYTimes a few weeks ago about mayonnaise being the secret ingredient for cooking any/all meat? I’m tempted…

    58. I’m doing this turkey; it sounds so easy. I’m cutting up the turkey to make the cooking time faster. Question: how spicy is this turkey? I have 2 picky kids who don’t do spicy. I know 1 T gochujang isn’t much for a whole bird but just wondering. Thanks!

      1. Jenny

        A bit last-minute, but I can’t find kosher salt where I live. Can I substitute fine sea salt? If so, I’m assuming I should use less, is that correct? Thank you, as always, for your wisdom!

    59. Hedy

      Oh, my goodness, Deb! For the longest time I’ve been screen printing the recipe section because I didn’t see a print button or using my phone to follow the recipe. I just found out today that if I just use the browser print function, you’ve set it so that only the recipe prints! Am I the only one who didn’t know?

      1. deb

        Just leave it. I would season it with salt, as you would any other piece of meat (generously but not dry-brine level, after you brush on the maple mixture.

    60. casey longo

      Deb, you have never failed me, but…I am nervous about the maple syrup….
      Can someone promise me it doesn’t make the turkey taste like a pancake?

      1. deb

        I promise that the turkey won’t taste even close to a pancake. I actually really dislike sweet with meat. This is merely there to complement the salt and provide color. There just isn’t enough to sweeten the turkey.

    61. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I made this today for a local family, and I am excited that I get to make it twice this year. :D The sweetness of the syrup was just enough and the gochujang added a subtle flavor. Happy Thanksgiving!

    62. Natalie Gaston

      I made your turkey and gravy (and apple pie) for thanksgiving and GOOD GOD. Those onions! My family thinks I can walk on water. It was so delicious. Seriously. These will be staples for all future Thanksgivings. Thank you. There’s a reason you’re my favorite cookbook author and food blogger.

    63. Being extraordinarily thrifty, I always use the string from basmati rice bags to truss a turkey. Circle of life. Whatever that means. Happy Thanksgiving to my American neighbours.

    64. Mary Beth

      I am a passionate home cook and have been following you since you began your blog. In fact, many of your earlier posts on recipes you tried I had already made myself—I tweaked them differently, but I knew you and I thought alike about skill level, desired result, and time management. For the first time in over 25 years, I am not hosting Thanksgiving, and I was relieved. My guests were always complimentary, but I really felt the main event, the Turkey, was never up to snuff. So today, I find myself alone (non un-happy—I’ll have MORE than enough family and friends over next few weeks). I made this turkey, just for me, just to experiment. Hands down, BEST TURKEY I EVER MADE. I didn’t change a thing from your post. You weren’t kidding when you said the bird will get dark, but I soldiered on and waited with my meat thermometer to get where I needed. This turkey was so delicious! Salt brining really works. And for those who feared the chili paste—not remotely an issue. This will be my future turkey recipe, and I will take up the reigns again soon and proudly serve this. Thank you Deb, thank you for taking the time, the science, the expense, to perfect something for us home cooks. In my mind, you are a national treasure.

    65. Sandie

      Oh my! I made this for Thanksgiving. Used gochujang and it turned out great. Nice and dark and crisp, and the gravy was delicious. Will do a whole chicken next.

    66. Fredda Ferris

      I was nervous about this being too salty or to spicy but decided we were going with it…so glad we did! It was absolutely perfect. Used chipotle chili paste with the maple syrup and it was just delicious. Used the drippings for gravy and yum…followed exactly as written and it was a winner!

    67. Venetia

      What a disaster! I followed the directions exactly. When I checked the turkey at 20 minutes to baste and turn down the oven temp, most of the breast skin was burned black, definitely not brown, BLACK. Everyone in the house (neighborhood?) heard me yell OH NOOOO! and were concerned that I had hurt myself, but fortunately just my pride and reputation were injured (along with the turkey).

    68. Heritage Classical Academy

      Made this as my first ever Thanksgiving turkey for my large, opinionated Italian family… with the anxious hovering of both my grandmother and mother resting on my shoulders… and it was dubbed “the best turkey in years!” Deb, you are my go-to for so many recipes– your instructions are clear, your writing is a little irreverent and unpretentious, and once again you made me look like a brilliant chef! THANK YOU!

    69. Adam Barr

      Made it. Crushed it. Crowned Thanksgiving Master. I followed this exactly as written, only I spatchcocked my bird, and it came out phenomenally! I had a 13 lb turkey, which I cooked at 450 for 25 minutes, then at 400 for another 50 minutes. An hour fifteen for a 13 lb turkey! And even with that, I could’ve pulled it out of the oven a few minutes earlier. It was SO tasty. Thanks, Deb.

    70. Karen Obermiller

      Holey Thanksgiving success Deb! This recipe produced the best turkey I have ever roasted — including my home raised hen. It was that good!!!!
      But! For a 14 pound turkey I did the 450 for thirty minutes and then 2 hours at 350 and Then 1 1/2 hours at 300. It was moist falling off the bone delicious!!!

    71. Jenjujube

      So much easier than the turkey recipe I had been using for several years and the turkey was so much more flavorful and juicy! Loved the skin, the salty meat and those roasted onions! My 12-pound turkey was done in little more than an hour. Definitely my new go-to!

    72. Anna

      After five years of doing a wet bribe, this dry brine was a revelation. So much easier and so much better. Thank you Deb!!!!

      I had a 14 lb turkey and it was done around the 1:45 min mark, so check early!

    73. Eliza Kramer

      This is a great turkey recipe! We used oil (not butter) and just maple syrup. The turkey looked beautiful and was done earlier than expected. We use the blanket trick (wrap your turkey in foil then in a heavy blanket and set it aside for up to an hour) and it was the best turkey ever. Thanks for another winning recipe!

      1. Becca Bailey

        Made this yesterday and everyone agreed it was the best turkey we’ve ever had! I also made your green bean casserole and the bourbon pumpkin cheesecake. Way to have all of the stars on my thanksgiving table. You never disappoint!!

    74. chickenfox212

      I made this turkey for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Let me tell you though, we rented a cabin on the Shenandoah River in Virginia and were in a location that had no cell or internet service. I was certain I printed the recipe before I left, but could not find it anywhere. My daughter finally walked down to the river and was able to get enough cell service to get your recipe. I used a lot more chili sauce (not paste) and syrup but it was an amazing turkey. Everyone commented on how this was the most tender and flavorful turkey they ever had. Thanks for a wonderful recipe. Oh, and I used the drippings for seasoning my green beans. Amazing!

    75. JG

      Just adding to the crowd: this was AMAZING last night and I’m so happy I followed Cindy’s suggestion for the cutting board inside a bigger pan. Had my kid stand there with a laptop, watching the carving video and talking me through it. All in all a stellar recipe that i’ll be repeating every year. Thank you!

    76. Gillis

      I made this for Thanksgiving yesterday with slight apprehension – I was a little worried that the gochujang would leave the turkey noticeably spicy. No need to worry, though, because it was perfect. It just tasted like well-seasoned turkey, and even though I cooked an 18 lb bird, the meat was tender and not at all dried out. I’ll definitely try it again.

    77. AmyK

      Thank you for this recipe. It was the first turkey I’ve ever had, much less made, that I ate the turkey meat by itself. No cranberries for extra flavor. And while the 2 quarts of gravy seemed excessive, it was my first successful, solo gravy making. Seriously, I cannot tell you how successful I felt after making this for our Thanksgiving meal. The Brussels sprout, pomegranate salad made an excellent side.

    78. AmyAnne

      I followed this recipe making a bone in turkey breast and the turkey came out absolutely fantastic, juicy and flavorful. However you can’t make a standard gravy from the drippings because of the spices.

    79. jules120

      I would say “Winner, winner, chicken dinner” but of course we’re talking turkey. At any rate, this won rave reviews from the family last night! My 82 year old mom told me it was “the best turkey she’s ever had!” Thank you for being such a reliable source for truly “knock ’em out of the ballpark” recipes!

      My ONLY alteration to this dish was to roast the turkey breast side down for the first 90 minutes and then flip the bird for the last 30…keeps the breast nice and moist.

    80. Roasting turkey isn’t rocket science, but turkey can be really bland.
      This is a great method – not only easy, but no crazy ingredients.
      The skin was beautiful, the turkey really tasty, and the onions!
      My new go-to turkey roasting recipe.
      Thanks Deb!

    81. Tammi

      Wow, best turkey ever! I think I’ve found my forever turkey recipe and I didn’t even make it myself 😩. Had a bad fall that damaged my shoulder on the Monday before thanksgiving so directed my sweet husband how to make it from my throne on the couch. He couldn’t find my garlic chili paste (yeah, I have a TON of condiments) so he used sriracha. If I had asked to look for the harissa I think his head might have exploded 😂. I think this will be our go to recipe, looking forward to trying it on a roasting chicken. Thanks Deb!

    82. Theresa Carroll

      This was fabulous – this is my favorite recipe to date and I love that the onions/onion juice can basically double as gravy (because…I hate making gravy and find it gross – this is so much better!)

    83. Betsy Batstone-Cunningham

      This was the best turkey that we have ever made. We used a 6lb turkey breast with bone. Made a gravy out of the drippings. Love the onions. This will be our go to recipe.
      Thanks

    84. Came here to say… this turned out SO nicely. Dry-brined for about 36 hours (Tuesday evening to Thursday morning), 450 for 25 minutes, then 350 until it was done. Moist and flavorful, and, sadly, not a lot left for those all important next-day leftovers.

    85. Diane

      I used this method with a 20 pound turkey. It was done when I checked it at 3.5 hours but I think it may have been done sooner. I was skeptical because it seemed so simple but it worked like a dream.

    86. Diane

      I used this method for a 20 pound bird (1.5 x the ingredients). I was skeptical because it seemed so simple in its method but also the ingredients. It came out really well though. Clean flavors, moist, etc. It was done when I checked at 3.5 hours but I think it may have been done before that. I wrapped it in foil and a towel and packed it in a cooler bag to transport on my bike and it was still delicious!

    87. Grace

      Delicious! Turned out perfect (we made it exactly as you instructed here, even going with the riskiest gravy method ;)) and would make this again!

    88. estellechait

      This looks so incredibly delicious and the skinnnnnnnn oh my goodness! I only made a turkey once- it was delicious but it was so large that the oven door wouldn’t close and I had to keep it shut by dragging in some of the dining room chairs. I think( now that thanksgiving is over and the pressure is off) I will try this for a weekend Shabbat dinner!

    89. KatieK

      First, the turkey: either my oven is way off base, but in testing it with a thermometer says it isn’t or the butcher mislabeled my turkey because for 12.4 pounds it took almost 3 hours. That said it was very juicy and the skin was a lovely burgundy and nice and crisp. My other thought that opening the oven to baste drives the temp down and then it has to work to get it back up to the 350 degrees, making the process take longer.
      Second, the gravy: It was the best I’ve ever made and the highlight of the meal. I did the third method of deglazing the fond with white vermouth, adding the flour and broth. It wasn’t at all salty and the maple/chili rub didn’t add any weird flavor or spice.
      Third, the onions: they didn’t cook terribly well, were still quite crunchy when the turkey was finally finished; I was expecting more of a caramelized finish. I suspect they did add some flavoring to the drippings. All said, I don’t know that they were worth it.

    90. jean waring

      This was wonderful. I did take the onions out after about an hour and they were a revelation. All my roasts will have a bed of onions for now on.

    91. aspennarvarte

      I butchered my turkey this year and cooked the pieces following this recipe. (My family did not miss the Norman Rockwell moment.) Bird was wonderful. Also made the best gravy ever with the pan drippings. I made broth days ahead with the bones and some vegetables. We had ‘leftover’ turkey soup the night before Thanksgiving.

    92. Alicia

      I saw this recipe a few days before Thanksgiving and decided to put myself in charge of the turkey this year. My family is so glad I did! I followed the recipe exactly and it was perfect. Juicy and great flavor.

    93. I made this yesterday and I cannot emphasize enough how delicious this was. I did everything exactly the way Deb says and the turkey turned out just perfect. Very moist with a nice spicy kick and oh my God, the onions. I could eat them with a spoon (and I did the next day).

    94. Awads

      My turkey came out just great: flavorful, juicy enough, etc. But the onions didn’t come out roasted. Instead, they excreted a ton of liquid (from the bird and from themselves?) and basically simmered themselves. They were still delicious, and the drippings made for some really nice gravy! Probably my best yet. Even though i didn’t have “jammy” onions, i think i’m still going to do that part again, even with a roasted chicken.

      1. Stefani Leto

        This was my experience. They were _swimming_. The turkey was great, but the rub didn’t add much, I didn’t think, in terms of flavor. The dry brine, though? So going to do this from now on.

    95. Meghan

      Thank you for working so hard on this recipe. It was my first time cooking the turkey for Thanksgiving, and I was stressing a little about it until you posted your recipe. After that, I knew it would turn out great. And it did — it was sublime!

    96. Charlie

      Oh my lord! Mouthwatering just looking at that top image. We have got to try this method out for Christmas Day here in rainy England. It will add a nice twist to our traditional family feat but I better give it a practice run first eh?

    97. Kristina

      I used your recipe with our turkey this year and it was delicious. I loved the dry brining, so much easier than a liquid brine. The butter-maple-chili paste treatment gave our turkey a great color and the gravy had a deep rich color and flavor. Thank you for a winning recipe!

    98. Shannon

      After multiple years of multi-day wet brining, stuffing the turkey with aromatics and other fussiness, I tried out this recipe in search of a simpler process. So so pleased with the delicious results. Added a little water to the bottom of the pan throughout cooking to encourage more “sauce” for gravy making. Served some of the onions with Thanksgiving dinner and saved the rest to make french onion soup with stock from the turkey. This is how I will cook the turkey from now on!

    99. First time commenter here. So I tried this recipe and I’ll tell you the turkey was outstanding! I am not the best in the kitchen, but I tried going a little more above and beyond (for me) and attempted method 2 for the gravy. And let me tell you…. using the drippings from the turkey was incredible! Oh. My. Goodness. (yes I was probably sheltered in my cooking lol)

      I did have one question though, you mention in here a friend showing you a YouTube tutorial on turkey carving. Could you link to it? I could definitely use some work in that department too before Xmas… Thanks!

    100. Alison Pepper

      Question: my fave Mark Bittman simple roasted chicken recipe has a similar short high temp cook breast up, then a longer lower temp cook breast down. Do you cook your turkey breast up the whole time? Thanks!!
      P.S. I made you cranberry pie with thick pecan crumble and you swiss chard sweet potato gratin for Thanksgiving and both were huge hits!! I’ve had to share your thanksgiving email with several people💙💙

    101. Maria

      My husband was too worried the gochujang [his favorite condiment!] would turn off my MIL, so we did it w plain butter [w lemon garlic & sage inside]. The 5lbs of quartered onions under the bird were a revelation! They were delicious themselves and the drippings made the best gravy I’ve ever made. I will add onions-only to the the pan for the rest of my life… and try the gochujang version at Xmas when it’s just us.

    102. jordenoliver

      On my son birthday i ordered dry-brined turkey & chiken kabab from the newsham restaurant and the taste of dry-brined turkey is very delicious and yesterday i made at home dry-brined turkey according to the recipe ,both taste are almost similar.

      1. Dear Deb, today I made your turkey for Friendsgiving (we were all editorial assistants at the same publishing company, so it’s EA Thanksgiving, or EAT). I didn’t have all the ingredients—subbed chipotle chili powder for paste, and ran out of maple syrup and had to use honey—and I bought a cheap bird. Still, it was SO GOOD and I swatted a skin-picking husband away from the bird more than once. And the best cook in the group cursed me for having a juicer turkey than hers. Maybe took 13 years, but what a winner! Thanks for making me believe I could cook my Scariest Thing.

    103. This dry-brine is THE BEST. We do an annual Thanksgiving/holiday party in Beijing and hubby has voted this as the best turkey ever. I have to butcher my turkey anyway to fit into my tiny countertop oven, so got to do a maple glaze and an herbed version. The gravy from the drippings was amazing!

    104. I wanted to let you know that I used this recipe when hosting my first ever thanksgiving, complete with my divorced parents and in-laws (14 people total!).

      Somehow, everyone got on and there was a warm buzz to the evening. I think that may have been due to them waiting to see how I managed a 17lb turkey on my first try! WELL, DEB, it was perfect!! 3.5 hours roasting time and it came out to an ideal 155, where I let it rest and then carved the juiciest, carmalized turkey I’ve ever seen on a Thanksgiving table. The real winner for me though were the onions!! I am now leaving mushy carrots to the side and putting a crap ton of onions under every bird I roast. What a dream. Thank you for helping me win at Thanksgiving and prove that doubted me wrong. You rock.