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Flavorful & Healthy Thanksgiving Turkey

By November 21, 2021Healthy Holiday, Recipes


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5 from 1 vote

Flavorful & Healthy Thanksgiving Turkey


  • 12-14 lbs fresh or frozen young turkey
  • Brine:
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsps whole black peppercorns
  • 6 fresh cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1- gallon vegetable stock
  • water and ice as needed
  • small handful of fresh rosemary and thyme
  • For Roasting:
  • Ghee or clarified butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil or Avocado oil
  • 1 large apple quartered
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • To Garnish:
  • additional fresh herbs lemon, orange, apple, or pear wedges, fresh cranberries, fresh pomegranate, etc


  • To defrost your turkey:
  • If your turkey is frozen, begin the defrosting process about 4 days before cooking. Place the turkey in the refrigerator to thaw safely.
  • Prep the turkey:
  • Remove the giblets bag and neck of the turkey and keep refrigerated if planning to use later for gravy or broth. Wash the insides and pat dry all over with paper towels before brining.
  • Prepare your Turkey Brine and allow your Turkey to Brine.
  • To Roast Your Turkey:
  • Position your oven rack in the bottom third of your oven.
  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees f.
  • Remove your turkey from brine and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Allow to fully dry as explained completely in the full brining process found above in this post.
  • Stuff your bird with the sliced apple, onion, lemon, garlic, cinnamon stick, and fresh herbs.
  • Place the bird in a large roasting pan, breast up, and truss the legs together with kitchen string as shown.
  • Rub the brined turkey all over with clarified butter or ghee, or rub with oil, then tuck the wing tips under the bird.
  • Transfer your roasting pan with the bird to your preheated oven and TURN DOWN THE HEAT to 350 degrees f.
  • Roast for 13 minutes per pound, or until a thermometer shows 165 degrees f. in the breast and inside thigh. Start checking the temperature with a good thermometer an hour before you think it will be done to gauge how fast it's cooking. We don't want to overcook or undercook our turkey.
  • Make sure you rotate the roasting pan several times throughout its roasting, as some parts of the oven are usually hotter than others.
  • Shield your turkey with foil during the last hour if it's getting too brown.
  • While you rotate your pan, baste your turkey with a turkey baster or spoon. Drizzle the pan liquid onto the top of your turkey several times.
  • You can brush your turkey with oil during the last half an hour of roasting time to help the skin crisp up.
  • Once your turkey is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. While your turkey is resting is an excellent time to make your turkey gravy using the drippings.
  • Once your turkey has had time to rest, follow our perfect carving instructions found above in this post.
  • Transfer to a large platter and decorate with your choice of garnish as desired.
  • Enjoy immediately!


Pour 1 gallon of vegetable stock into a large stockpot. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Stir in your salt until completely dissolved. Allow it to cool for 20 minutes (should still be warm at this point) then add in the maple syrup, and remaining brine ingredients. Stir or whisk really well to dissolve the salt and syrup again if necessary. Allow brine to completely cool. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Add cold brine to your clean cooler or bucket, then lower your turkey in the brine. Add additional water to make sure the brine covers the turkey entirely. This is important.
For a turkey 15 pounds or under, brine for 24 – 36 hours. For a turkey larger than 15 pounds, brine for up to 3 days.
Keep your brine cold, checking it every 4-6 hours and adding more ice if needed.
Before you roast your turkey, take it out of the brine water and place it on a rack to dry.
Use paper towels to pat the turkey completely dry if needed.
For the best results, allow the turkey to completely dry. This may take an hour or so.
Rub your turkey skin all over with clarified butter or ghee. This creates that beautiful golden exterior. Roast the turkey at a low temperature for 13 minutes per pound.


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