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RECIPE: Yes, we think this glazed turkey recipe will be your next favourite

While it’s not the first choice for some South Africans, turkey can be a great festive season meal

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By Bon Appetit US | December 3, 2022 | Recipes

Chances are, you’re going to cook no more than one turkey this year (if any at all). Please let it be this one. Yes, this recipe involves breaking down the bird into parts before roasting, which means removing the legs and wings and part of the backbone so the turkey can lie mostly flat on a large rimmed baking sheet.



1 5 - 6kg turkey, neck and giblets removed

1 Tbsp. black peppercorns

⅔ cup Diamond Crystal or 6 Tbsp. plus ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt

2 Tbsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. light brown sugar

Glaze and assembly

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil

2 sprigs thyme

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

¼ cup pure maple syrup

2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari

2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Special equipment

A spice mill or mortar and pestle



Place one 5 - 6kg. turkey, neck and giblets removed, breast side up, on a large cutting board and pat dry. Grip a wing and pull it outward so you can see where it attaches to the body. Using a sharp boning or chef’s knife, cut through the joint to separate the wing from the breast. If you hit bone, you’re in the wrong spot; pull the wing out farther to help you get into the place where the joint meets the socket. Remove wing; repeat on the other side.

Cut through skin connecting 1 leg to carcass. Pull leg back until ball joint pops out of its socket; cut through the joint to separate leg. Repeat on the other side.

Now for the breast: You can roast the breast as is with the backbone attached, or you can turn the breast over and trim the lower part of the backbone that was formerly adjacent to the legs by breaking it at the midpoint or, using a sturdy chef’s knife, by cutting between the vertebrae to divide it.

Coarsely grind 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle; transfer to a medium bowl. Add ⅔ cup Diamond Crystal or 6 Tbsp. plus ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, 2 Tbsp. garlic powder, and 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar and mix dry brine together with your fingers.

Place turkey pieces, skin side up, on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle dry brine liberally all over both sides of turkey, patting to adhere. You may not need all of it, but it’s good to start out with extra since some will end up on the baking sheet. It is important to have the turkey elevated on a rack so it absorbs the salt mixture evenly (rather than sitting in a pile of salt on the baking sheet). Let sit at room temperature at least 1 hour or chill up to 1 day.

Glaze and assembly

Remove wire rack with turkey from baking sheet; set aside. Rinse baking sheet to remove excess salt. Pour 1 cup water into baking sheet and return wire rack with turkey to baking sheet. Rub turkey all over with 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil and arrange skin side up.

Cook 2 sprigs thyme, ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, ¼ cup pure maple syrup, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari, 2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until thick enough to coat a spoon, 8–10 minutes. Set glaze aside.

Place a rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425°. Roast turkey, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until skin is mostly golden brown, 20–30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300° and continue to roast turkey, brushing with reserved glaze every 20 minutes and adding more water by ½-cupfuls as needed to maintain some liquid in baking sheet, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast registers 150°, and 170° when inserted into the thickest part of thighs, 50–70 minutes longer (total cooking time will be about 1½ hours). Skin should be deep golden brown and shiny. Transfer turkey to a cutting board and let rest 30–60 minutes before carving.

Recipe by Chris Morocco

This recipe originally appeared on Bon Appetit

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