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Rebecca Carter's Favorite Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Thanks to Rebecca Carter for submitting this turkey recipe. She says, "Note the high level of crispness! This recipe yields a juicy, golden turkey every time without fail."
Rebecca Carter's Favorite Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe
Prep time: 30min   Cook time: 2h50min   Serves: 4-6


  • 12 lb turkey
  • Salt & Pepper for the inside and outside of the bird

For the Flavored Butter:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus ½ Tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
  • ½ Tbsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground

For the Stuffing:

  • 1 large onion, quartered (no peeling)
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved (no peeling)
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 1 lemon, quartered

What you’ll need:

  • Twine/String
  • Aluminum foil
  • A heavy roasting pan
  • An oven-safe thermometer

Prepping the bird:

  • Season inside of turkey cavity generously with about 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
  • In a medium bowl, combine: 2 sticks softened butter, 2 Tbsp olive oil, ½ Tbsp lemon zest, 4 Tbsp lemon juice, 3 pressed garlic cloves, ¼ cup chopped parsley, ½ Tbsp salt, ½ tsp pepper. Mash /stir with a fork until well combined.
  • Separate the skin from the turkey breast by pushing your fingers under the skin. Do this from the front and the back of the turkey; being careful not to tear the skin.
  • Stuff ⅔ of the butter mixture under skin then spread the butter around by massaging over the top of the skin. This butter keeps the turkey breast tender, juicy and provides rich flavor.
  • Rub remaining butter over the outside of the turkey (breast, legs, wings), and generously season with salt and pepper; I just love a crisp, salty skin.
  • Stuff turkey with quartered onion, 4 halved garlic cloves, ½ bunch parsley and quartered lemon. Tie turkey base and legs together; crossing the legs to better close up the turkey cavity.

Cooking the bird:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 430˚F on the bake mode. Place oven rack in the lower part of your oven.
  • To protect the turkey breast and keep it juicy, fold a large square sheet of foil into a triangle. Rub one side of your triangle with olive oil and shape the foil (oil-side-down) over the turkey breast, then remove foil; it will shield your turkey breast and keep it from getting dry. You’ll apply this shield later in the roasting process. Place a meat thermometer into the bird; beneath the drum stick; deep into the dark meat. Start roasting at 430˚F for 20 min.
  • Remove from oven; quickly baste with butter from the bottom of the dish. Now apply prepared foil triangle to turkey breast area.
  • Reduce oven to 350˚F and bake for another 2 hours 30 min for a 12 lb bird. If making gravy, keep an eye on the drippings in the pan to ensure they don’t dry up. Add water to the pan periodically as needed. (Once you have reduced the oven to 350˚F, you will bake about 13 min for every pound of turkey). The turkey thigh should register at 170˚F on the temperature probe and the breast at 160˚F to make sure it’s fully cooked through then remove from the oven.
  • Transfer turkey to serving platter and cover loosely but fully with foil. Let turkey rest for at least 1 hour.
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