An Easy Way to Roast Your Turkey


Cary, NC – Ever wish there was an easy way to roast your turkey? This simple recipe cooks in about 3 hours and you don’t have to open the oven door until it’s done.

An Easy Way to Roast Your Turkey

The all important bird is the make or break item on every Thanksgiving table and this recipe will be sure to please your crowd. Brining a turkey ensures that the bird stays moist, and by slow roasting, not only does your house smell heavenly when your guests arrive, but the skin will be crisp and the white meat not over cooked.

Herb-Roasted Turkey Recipe

We’re going to start by making the brine a day or two in advance of Thanksgiving. Brine is simply herb-flavored, salty water.

Brine – Ingredients

  • 1.5 gallons water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 6 bay leaves
  • orange rind (from one orange)

Brine – Directions

  1. Boil together, cool.
  2. Place turkey in large brining bag (or a large pot), and slowly pour brine over the turkey until it is submerged.
  3. Seal tightly tightly, and refrigerate overnight, turning once. (Six hours of brining will also suffice, if it cannot be brined overnight).

In Hal Goodtree’s excellent article on Brining a Turkey, he recommends using a small cooler for the brining.

Preparing the Turkey – Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsps. dried rosemary
  • 2 tsps. dried thyme
  • 1.5 tsps. dried sage
  • 1.5 tsps. dried tarragon
  • 1 Tbsps. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 14lb. turkey, neck and giblets reserved
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 medium carrot, quartered
  • fresh herb sprigs

Preparing the Turkey – Directions

  1. Blend first 7 ingredients together in small bowl.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 470 degrees.
  3. Rinse brined turkey, and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Sprinkle the cavity liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  5. Place onion, carrot, and 1/4 of the fresh herb sprigs in the cavity, and truss the turkey with kitchen twine.
  6. Gently loosen skin over the turkey breast, and spread the herb butter directly on the meat. Massage the herb butter onto the entire turkey skin, and place in a roasting rack.
  7. Roast the turkey for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  8. Roast the turkey for 2 hours and 45 minutes, without opening the oven door. This turkey requires no basting!
  9. Using a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey breast, remove turkey from oven when the temperature reaches 145 degrees.
  10. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let the turkey rest for 25 minutes before carving.
  11. Serve garnished with fresh herb sprigs and orange slices.

At a mere three hours, you won’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to prepare this bird and still eat at a reasonable hour. Brined it will be moist and starting at a high temp will seal in the juices and give you a crisp skin when its done. Enjoy!

Have a favorite Thanksgiving family recipe? Please share with CaryCitizen in the comments section below.



Recipe by Preeti Waas, Executive Chef of the Matthews House in Downtown Cary. Photo by Slice of Chic. Third in a series of Thanksgiving recipe ideas

6 replies
  1. Joanne
    Joanne says:

    How do you figure out the cooking time for a larger bird? I have a 21# turkey…. actually I have to roast two 20# birds. Serving a huge crowd! My oven will hold both turkeys. I agree that brining is a must!

    • Brent
      Brent says:

      Butterball and others have great online resources.

      For starters, if they’re frozen birds, they probably need to be thawing in the fridge now!

    • Preeti Waas
      Preeti Waas says:

      How wonderful that you have such a large crowd to serve! Each 20# turkey will take between 4 and 4.5 hours to roast. Good luck, and happy cooking.

  2. Robert Campbell
    Robert Campbell says:

    The tried and true may rule the day, but I’m wondering if anyone else out there is considering trying the splatchcock method with the turkey this year!? (Great word – just means to butterfly your turkey or chicken).

    Alton Brown’s take:

    Carving a splatchcoked turkey:

    Seems the advantages are, faster cooking of turkey (no brining needed and the turkey is kept moist in this method) and carving the bird appears somewhat simplified.

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