Holiday Menu Item: Turkey Two Ways Part II..'Turkey for Ten with a Twist'

Turkey for Ten with a Twist (a little over-browned but juicy nonetheless!)

We went to my mom's home in Texas for an early Thanksgiving. I got to make the turkey and I have to tell you it was fabulous. The secret was in the preparation method that my hair stylist - Lori Veltri - shared with me. Lori makes turkeys all year long (why don't we all??) and her method is "no fail". The result is a turkey with crispy browned skin on the outside and juicy tender meat on the inside.

Lori's Method:
  • Oven 450 degrees F
  • Place turkey on rack in pan with chicken broth in bottom
  • Roast turkey uncovered for 30 - 60 minutes or until browned
  • Reduce oven to 350 degrees F
  • Cover turkey and pan tightly with aluminum foil, allowing no steam to escape
  • Roast for 15 minutes per pound including the browning time, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the muscle reads 170 degrees F
  • Do not check turkey until last hour of scheduled roasting time. No basting. In fact, avoid opening oven and foil.
  • When done remove from oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

No matter how you decide to season your turkey - Lori just uses salt, pepper and olive oil, and I decided to put a Texas twist on mine and used chipotle pepper, smoked paprika, honey, butter and olive oil - the result is the same juicy perfection.

This guy was crispy and seasoned on the outside, and juicy on the inside!

This 18-pound fresh Butterball turkey will serve 10 to 12 with plenty of leftovers. Most will recommend to plan for 1 pound per person if you don't want leftovers - so theoretically you could feed 18 people with this guy. I would say you'd need to have a lot of sides, and for some of those 18 people to be children in order to be comfortable. I like to be sure there's plenty of good food to go around.

Also, I made this turkey the day before and refrigerated overnight, covered. I warmed the covered turkey in a 250 degree F oven for about 60 to 90 minutes. Even with all this, the turkey was as juicy as could be. Making the turkey the day before gave me plenty of margin for error, and a lot less stress on the day of. I don't know about you, but I've spent a Thanksgiving or two waiting around for the turkey to get done hours after it was supposed to be ready.

Turkey for Ten with a Twist

Oven 450 degrees F for 30 - 60 minutes, then 350 degrees F until internal temp reaches 170 degrees F

Serves 10 - 12 with plenty of leftovers (or 12 - 14 comfortably with no leftovers)

1 18-pound fresh Butterball turkey, giblets and neck removed, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper spice (this will give a minimum amount of heat, reduce by 1/2 teaspoon if desired)
1 teaspoon ground smoked paprika spice, plus more for sprinkling
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 32-ounce container chicken broth
5 large cloves garlic, peeled, whole
1 small red onion, halved
1 small white onion, halved
1 small yellow onion, halved

Place turkey on rack fitted inside large roasting pan. If using a disposable pan, place atop a heavy-duty baking pan/cookie sheet for stability.

In small bowl whisk together honey, salt, chipotle pepper, smoked paprika, olive oil, and lemon juice. Rub and pour this mixture all over the turkey and pour a little on the inside.

Sprinkle more smoked paprika on the outside.

Rub the softened butter all over. Pour the chicken broth in the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and onions, placing a few inside the body cavity. These are going to add flavor to the turkey and the broth which will later be thickened for gravy. If desired, you may also add the giblets and neck to the pan, but this gravy is flavorful with or without them.

Place in 450 degree F oven for 30 - 60 minutes until skin is browned. Then reduce oven to 350 degrees F and cover turkey and pan tightly with aluminum foil. Continue roasting, avoiding opening oven and foil until thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the muscle reaches 170 degrees F. Check temperature during the last hour of scheduled roasting time. No need for basting. The browned skin will have sealed in all the juices.

When done, remove from oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving. If making the day before, allow to cool then cover and place in refrigerator overnight.

Reserve the broth to make into gravy or just spoon broth over turkey and dressing as is. You will need to skim off any excess fat and strain out the onions, garlic, giblets and neck (if used).

fresh from the oven, look at that broth in the bottom...YUM!
Note: It took my turkey a heck of a lot longer than the recommended time on the package to get to the 170 degrees F. The package recommended about 4 hours and my turkey took 5 - 6 hours.

To make gravy:
Heat reserved and strained broth in saucepan until bubbling. Thicken using 1 heaping Tablespoon of corn starch mixed with a small amount of warm water until dissolved. Pour the corn starch/water mixture into the bubbling broth and stir or whisk well. Continue stirring and cooking until mixture thickens, about 2-3 minutes.

I really enjoyed my visit in the country. It's beautiful in this particular part of Texas this time of year.

the road to home
my mom's horses - sweet as apple pie :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!!


  1. As always I was drooling over the computer, while staring at that turkey. Amazingly done! Your mom's horses are so cute!

  2. Yummy looking turkey! My ILs are bringing a smoked turkey up with them, but I'm thinking about roasting one this weekend since the sales are still so good! What part of Texas does your Mama live in? Do you get to make it home very often? Wanted to pop in and wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving, Veronica!

  3. Thanks Sandra!

    Hi Wendy - she lives in east Texas - it's really pretty there!

  4. Veronica, I hope my turkey comes out this good! I didn't know you could make it the day before and still have it come out moist. This is my first year making one for the big day, so I'm crossing my fingers! i love the horses.

  5. Your photos are gorgeous and reason why I often visit your blog. Sorry for the lack of commenting lately. Either busy or tired so I've been lurking more than commenting.

    I can't wait for the feast to begin. Turkey and all the fixings? Yes, please!

    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  6. looks awesome ,nice photos as well;)

  7. That does look like a beautiful turkey, all crisp and golden. For some reason, I always find that my turkey is done BEFORE the specified time. Yesterday was no exception. I put some chipotle on mine as well, love that southwestern flavour.