Roast Turkey Thanksgiving Holiday Recipe

I always buy fresh, locally raised turkeys from the butcher. It’s a great way to support local farmers, and the meat is infinitely superior to supermarket birds. I typically don’t stuff my turkey, because it makes for easier carving. If, however, you love the look of a stuffed turkey on your platter, you can always garnish with stuffing after cooking, as we did for our photo.

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12–14 pound fresh turkey, room temperature
1 bulb garlic
3–4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried sage
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°

1. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator several hours before roasting so that it can come to room temperature.

2. Remove the innards from both cavities of the turkey.

3. Rinse the inside of the turkey with cold water. Shake out the excess water.

4. Place the turkey—breast side up—on a baking rack in a spacious roasting pan.

5. Cut the top of the garlic bulb off and place it, along with the thyme sprigs, in the main cavity.

6. Add the thyme, sage, cumin, and pepper to the melted butter and mix well.

7. Brush the entire exterior of the turkey with the butter mixture. Also butter the area beneath the breast skin. Apply the remaining butter inside the main cavity.

8. Place the turkey in the oven and cook until a thermometer inserted deep into the thigh reads 165° and the juices run clear—approximately 2–3 hours.


Preparation Time: 
15 minutes plus 2 1/2–3 1/2 baking and resting time.