There is really no reason to stress over your Thanksgiving turkey. The secret to keeping your cool is to approach the turkey just like you would a simple roast chicken: aromatics, plenty of salt and pepper, and keeping the skin nice and dry. This easy recipe combines rosemary, orange peel, fennel seeds, and plenty of garlic with olive oil to create a flavorful wet rub that is applied underneath the skin of the turkey. Then just rub the skin with salt and pepper and let the oven do the rest. The result is super juicy and flavorful, and worth every ounce of effort! (Note: the turkey in this photo was prepared exactly as the recipe lists, no food styling tricks here!)
**This method works perfectly with chicken too. Start checking the temperature after cooking for 1 hour and 45 minutes for a 4-pound chicken.
- 1 (14-pound) turkey, thawed completely if frozen
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/ 2 cup olive oil
- 10 peeled garlic cloves
- 1 large orange, zest removed with a vegetable peeler
- 1/ 2 cup fresh rosemary leaves, lightly packed
- 2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
Stir kosher salt and black pepper in a small bowl.
Add olive oil, orange peel, rosemary, garlic cloves, and fennel seeds to the bowl of a food processor with 1 tablespoon of the salt mixture. Process to form a slightly coarse mixture.
Remove neck and giblets from turkey and discard or store as needed. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Carefully loosen the skin of the turkey from the flesh all over without tearing the skin (remove any jewelry from your hands beforehand or wear gloves).
Spoon the wet rub under the skin of the turkey, rubbing it into the flesh as you go. Wipe or wash hands to remove any excess rub, then season the surface of the turkey with the remaining salt and pepper mixture. Transfer turkey to a roasting rack set over a large roasting pan and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F degrees. about 20 minutes before the end of the turkey resting time.
Cook turkey uncovered for 1 hour. Rotate pan and let cook for another 15 minutes before covering with a double sheet of aluminum foil. Cook for an additional 1 hour 30 minutes, then remove and check internal temperature using an instant-read thermometer. The temperature of the thickest part of the thigh should read about 160F degrees and the breast should read about 150F-160F degrees.
Let turkey rest uncovered for 25 minutes before carving and serving.