Monica Buck
Total Time
3 Hours 30 Mins
Makes about 14 servings (with leftovers)

Letting this turkey dry-cure in a home-ground mixture of salt, marjoram, thyme, juniper berries, peppercorns, and anise seeds gives it incredible, earthy flavor once it's roasted. 

How to Make It

Step 1

Three days before serving, in a blender or spice grinder, finely grind salt, marjoram, thyme, juniper berries, peppercorns, and anise seeds.

Step 2

Remove and discard leg truss from turkey. Pull off and discard any lumps of fat. Remove giblets and neck; save neck for gravy. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. Cut off wing tips to the first joint and reserve for gravy. Rub half the herb mixture all over turkey; sprinkle remaining in body cavity. Cover and chill for 3 days.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 325° (convection not recommended). Put rosemary sprigs and garlic inside turkey body cavity. Gently push your hand between skin and turkey breast to separate skin from breast. Spread about half the butter over breast under skin. Melt remaining butter and brush lightly over top of turkey. Coat a V-shaped rack with cooking-oil spray and set in a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan. Place turkey, breast down, on the rack. Roast turkey for 1 3/4 hours.

Step 4

Meanwhile, cook turkey wing tips and neck for pan gravy. Remove turkey from oven and turn breast side up. Return to oven. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted straight down through thickest part of breast to the bone registers 160°, 45 to 60 minutes longer.

Step 5

Tip turkey to drain juices from cavity into pan and transfer to a platter. Let stand in a warm place, uncovered, for 15 to 30 minutes. Finish gravy, then carve turkey.

Step 6

Note: In nutritional analysis, sodium is N/A.

Chef's Notes

Use a turkey that hasn't been infused with broth or butter.

Total time does not include curing.

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Ratings & Reviews

dillyletts's Review

December 19, 2013
it was great taste good

symorgan's Review

November 29, 2013

Alikdj's Review

November 28, 2013
I found this receipe a few years ago and have been making it ever since I did. It is amazing--the best turkey we've ever had!

jordan198's Review

November 09, 2013
Do I need to put water in the bottom of the roster...and baste the turkey? I have never made a turkey before so Im sorry if these questions seem silly :)

TriedandTRU06's Review

November 06, 2013

ChaChaMathew's Review

November 15, 2012

AliB562's Review

November 06, 2012
I first made this turkey for Thanksgiving when the recipe came out in Sunset magazine. My sister and brother-in-law came over for dinner that year. They asked for the recipe, and DUPLICATED the entire meal at their house the following week. When asked why, they replied that they couldn't get enough of the turkey, and had to make more for themselves! It's THAT good. :-)

topper46's Review

November 25, 2011

Lakeside5's Review

November 24, 2010
Family loved it last year. Having it again this year...Easy...

fyoosh's Review

November 21, 2010
I found the original recipe in Sunset magazine five years ago, and have been making this ever since! My best friend was there the first time I made it, and now SHE has been making it also. This is, hands down, THE best turkey (and gravy!) I have tasted. I have had a couple people (that I have given the recipe to) tell me they have scaled it down and used it on chicken as well, with great results. If you are unsure about this... DO NOT BE. It really is fabulous, and I hope Helena Darling realizes what a gem she has in this recipe! If I could give her a hug, I would! :D I have the spice rub all ready to go for tomorrow, and I cannot wait until Thursday to enjoy this again. The only ingredient that *may* be a little harder to find would be the juniper berries. I get them at a local spice shop.