Ancestral Secrets to a Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

July 17, 2023

Thanksgiving – an embodiment of joy, a manifestation of gratitude, and a commemoration of longstanding customs like the ancestral secrets to a perfect Thanksgiving turkey. These three fundamental elements make it a universally cherished celebration.

  1. It offers one of the best meals all year, featuring in the top five.

2. The merry sound of non-stop Christmas carols on the radio, reminiscent of a bygone era, fills the air.

  1. A celebration of pies, Thanksgiving is a connoisseur’s delight.

With Thanksgiving less than a fortnight away, it’s time to strategize your turkey cooking plan. The fuss about turkey roasting recipes, hotlines, and meat saws can feel overwhelming. Is it all necessary? Probably not.


For ages, our family Thanksgiving tradition revolved around a unique turkey recipe, initially created by my grandfather – a professional chef. This simple recipe, passed down through generations, produces a perfectly roasted turkey every time, reminiscent of the ones served at grandpa’s restaurant.

This fail-proof recipe does not require cumbersome tubs, protective gloves, or exotic spices. The preparation process is quite straightforward, involving a quick marinade that can be prepared using basic kitchen tools. The key flavor components are garlic and salt, which, after roasting, impart a mellow, juicy, and incredibly flavorful turkey.

So, let’s dive into the recipe!


  • A young turkey, around 12-14 pounds
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 2-2.5 tablespoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of melted butter
  • 4 carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 3 stalks of celery, also cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 onions, cut into wedges.

The Method to the Madness

  1. Start the thawing process for your turkey 4-5 days before roasting. Assign roughly one day for every 5 pounds of weight. The day before roasting, blend garlic, salt, black pepper, olive oil, and butter in a food processor until a fine paste forms.
  2. Create a bed with your carrots, celery, and onions at the bottom of the roasting pan. This acts as your turkey’s roasting ‘rack.’
  3. Free the turkey from its packaging, discard the neck and giblets, and rinse the turkey with cold water. Dry it thoroughly with paper towels and place it breast side up in the pan.
  4. Generously apply half the marinade over the turkey’s top surface, ensuring all crevices are covered. Flip it over and repeat the process on the other side. Allow the turkey to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. On the big day, take the turkey out of the fridge a few hours before roasting. This ensures even cooking as it avoids placing a cold turkey in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Drain any accumulated liquid from the turkey cavity and ensure the wings are tucked in. Roast at 425 degrees for an hour, turning the pan halfway through.
  6. After the first roasting phase, lower the temperature to 325 degrees and flip the turkey breast-side up. Continue roasting for another hour (12 pound turkey) to an hour and a half (14 pound turkey), until the thigh hits 165 degrees and the juices run clear. Rotate the pan midway through the second roasting phase as well.
  7. Once done, transfer the turkey to a serving plate and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before carving.
  8. While everyone has their own gravy-making technique, here’s a family favorite: drain all the drippings from the roasting pan into a gravy separator. Aim for roughly 10 tablespoons of fat and 6 cups of juices. If you’re short on either, top up with butter (for fat) and chicken stock (for juice). Cook a roux with the turkey fat/butter and flour, add the turkey juices/broth gradually, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until it reaches the perfect consistency.

With these instructions, you’re all set to roast a turkey that brings a touch of professional cooking right into your home, offering a festive meal that your guests will remember. Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your custom text © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.