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Spice-rubbed Roast Turkey

James Carrier
Yield Allow 3/4 pound uncooked turkey per person
If time is short, you can substitute a purchased spice blend for any of the spice mixes below; many are now available in the spice section of most supermarkets. Be sure your pan is large enough that turkey doesn't overlap rim.


Nutrition Information

  • calories 240
  • caloriesfromfat 38 %
  • protein 32 g
  • fat 10 g
  • satfat 3 g
  • carbohydrate 2.9 g
  • fiber 0.0 g
  • sodium 376 mg
  • cholesterol 93 mg

How to Make It

  1. Remove and discard leg truss from turkey. Pull off and discard any lumps of fat. Remove giblets and neck; save for Savory Gravy. Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry.

  2. If stuffing the turkey: Just before roasting, place turkey on work surface breast side down; lightly fill neck cavity with dressing. Bring neck skin up to cover opening. With a metal skewer, fasten neck skin to back, threading skewer in and out several times through neck and back skin. Turn turkey over and loosely pack body cavity with dressing. If turkey has tail attached, tuck tail into cavity. If there's enough skin to overlap at opening, thread a metal skewer in and out several times to close. Lightly tie ends of drumsticks loosely together with cotton string to keep them from spreading apart or leave untied to allow heat to reach thigh joints more easily. Place any leftover dressing in a baking dish. When turkey is about 30 minutes from being done, bake extra dressing, covered, in a 325° or 350° oven until hot (at least 150° in center), about 40 minutes for 8 cups.

  3. Rub turkey all over with oil. Rub spice mixture evenly over skin and inside neck and body cavities.

  4. Place turkey, breast up, on a V-shaped rack in a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan.

  5. Roast in a 325° regular or convection oven until a thermometer inserted through thickest part of breast to bone registers 160°, 2 to 3 hours.

  6. Transfer cooked turkey to a platter. If bird was stuffed, insert a thermometer into the center of the dressing. It should read at least 160° to be bacteria safe. Do not allow stuffing to sit in bird. Cut string from legs. Remove skewer closing body cavity. Scoop dressing out into a bowl. Cut through skin at neck cavity, scoop out dressing and add to bowl. If temperature was below 160°, heat dressing in a microwave oven at full power (100%), mixing often to distribute heat evenly until it is 160° throughout. Cover and keep dressing warm. Keep turkey warm and let stand 15 to 30 minutes.

  7. Carve turkey. If thighs are still slightly pink at the joint, put thighs on a microwave-safe plate in a microwave oven at full power (100%) until pink disappears, 1 to 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  8. Chinese Five-Spice Rub: In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon crushed anise or fennel seed, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves. (Or use 2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice blend.) Makes about 2 tablespoons.

  9. Jamaican Jerk Rub: In a small bowl, mix 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger; 1 teaspoon each ground allspice, dried thyme, cayenne, and pepper; and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder. (Or use 2 tablespoons Jamaican jerk blend.) Makes about 2 tablespoons.

  10. Provençal Rub: In a small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons each crushed dried rosemary and dried thyme and 1 teaspoon each dried rubbed sage and dried lavender (or more sage). (Or use 2 tablespoons provençal herb blend.) Makes about 2 tablespoons.

  11. Red Curry Rub: In a small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons chili powder; 1 teaspoon each ground coriander, ground ginger, and cayenne; 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin; and 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric. (Or use 2 tablespoons red curry powder.) Makes about 2 tablespoons.

  12. Southwest Chili Rub: In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon ground ancho or California chili and 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, ground chipotle chili or cayenne, and dried oregano. (Or use chili powder or a Southwest chili blend.) Makes about 2 tablespoons.

  13. Nutritional analysis per 1/4 pound boned cooked turkey with skin, based on percentages of white and dark meat in an average bird; nutritional analysis does not include gravy or dressing