Salted Turkey with Citrus & Herbs

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Can you believe that Thanksgiving is less than 10 days away? It seems like it was just Labor Day, and now before we know it we’ll be opening Christmas presents and making New Year’s resolutions. This past year seemed to just fly by!

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, I’m sure you are well under way with planning the menu, but in case you are still looking for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey recipe, here is a great contender. Last year I posted one of my favorite roasted turkey recipes, and while it definitely produces a tasty bird, the process of brining can be a lot of work. Brining bags, coolers, and turkey buckets can be somewhat intimidating to a novice chef. If you want the taste of a brined turkey, without the work, I encourage you to give this salted turkey a dry.

Salting a turkey is essential covering the turkey in a dry brine rub, allowing the salt to lock in the moisture and flavor into the turkey. The result is a juicy, flavorful turkey, so good that you might not even need gravy. (But no fear, the drippings certainly make some awesome gravy!) So, if you’re looking for tasty Thanksgiving turkey without the mess and work of brining, give this baby a try!

*Note – For best results, use a fresh turkey. The frozen turkeys from the supermarket are often injected with a salty brine mixture, and if you further salt the turkey, you’ll end up with sodium-bomb of a bird.

Salted Turkey with Citrus & Herbs

Yields: 12-14 servings


For the salt rub:

  • 6 Tbsp kosher salt (or 4 Tbsp table salt)
  • Zest of a lemon
  • Zest of an orange
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh sage
  • 1 Tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 14-16 lb turkey

For roasting:

  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 2 whole, peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 small orange, quartered
  • Sprigs of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage)
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • Olive oil or softened butter
  • Black pepper


To make the salt rub, mix all ingredients in a bowl then rub the turkey generously with the salt mixture, making sure to gently separate the skin from the meat, and rub the mixture underneath the skin.

Place the turkey in a roasting bag, and place in the a roasting pan. Refrigerate for 24-48 hours.

On the day of your meal, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Rinse the turkey well, making sure to rinse the inside, outside and underneath the skin, then pat dry with paper towels.

Stuff the turkey with the aromatics and tie the legs. Rub with softened butter or olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper.

Place the turkey in a roasting pan, adding the broth to the bottom of the pan. Roast for 45 minutes and then reduce heat to 325 and continue cooking until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165-170 degrees F, up to 2 hours longer.

Let the turkey rest, loosely tented with foil, for 30-45 minutes before carving.


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