No-Fail Roasted Turkey

"In-laws coming over for Thanksgiving where YOU have to roast the turkey for the first time? Nervous and jittery are you? Not to worry! Just follow these detailed instructions and you'll fly by! The only thing is, your mother-in-law might get jealous because you produced a much better turkey than she ever did. *.* This is an equally good and easy recipe for veteran cooks too -- delicious, tender, VERY juicy, and super eye appeal. It took me several years to hone the details of this recipe but, now, I'm pleased with the final result and I think I'll stay with this one for awhile. Cooking time does NOT include the brining process so give yourself 12-24 hours for this if you can, although you CAN skip the brining if you're pressed for time. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! And serve your bird with Recipe #146456"
photo by Bone Man photo by Bone Man
photo by Bone Man
photo by Bone Man photo by Bone Man
Ready In:
5hrs 30mins
1 turkey


  • 1 (20 lb) whole turkey, thawed (I buy either Butterball or Honeysuckle White brand)
  • 4 gallons water
  • 1 14 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 24 ounces beer, not lite (I use regular Budweiser or Miller's)
  • 6 dried bay leaves
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 12 teaspoons paul prudhomme's Vegetable Magic seasoning (or, "Poultry Magic," or, poultry seasoning)
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt (I use Lawry's)
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash seasoning mix, original blend
  • cooking spray (I use olive oil type but any brand will do)
  • 8 lbs ice
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 14 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped


  • NOTE: You can skip the brining step if you wish -- the turkey just will not be quite as juicy.
  • Prepare the brine. In a large, well-cleaned cooler, blend 4 gallons of water, the kosher salt, the brown sugar, the beer, and the bay leaves. Stir until all the salt and sugar has been dissolved. There is no need to boil this blend.
  • Trim up the turkey. There is usually excess fat and skin around the neck and around the body cavity opening. Just trim off this excess tissue, remove any giblets from the inside of the turkey and rinse it in cold water, inside and out.
  • Place the turkey in the brine and dump in the ice. Close the cooler and allow the turkey to brine for 12-24 hours. Check it after 12 hours to see if it needs more ice. If you don't have a long time before baking, even 4 hours of brining will improve the turkey.
  • After brining, remove the turkey from the cooler, (discard the brine), and pat it dry with paper towels, inside and out. Blend the Vegetable Magic seasoning, the seasoned salt, and the Mrs. Dash seasoning and then rub the turkey all over with this blend, inside and out. Use all the seasoning.
  • Place the onion and parsley inside the body cavity. Mash chunks of butter with your hands and carefully shove it under the skin of the breast of the turkey.
  • Preheat the oven to 350-°F -- you will roast the turkey at this temperature.
  • Line a roasting pan with wide aluminum foil. Spray it with the cooking spray. Place the turkey in the lined roasting pan, breast up, tie the legs together with some cotton string, and then cover the top loosely with another piece of aluminum foil. Do not seal it shut. Cover the roaster and place it in the oven. I use the second rack from the bottom but ovens vary -- you want the roasting pan to be near the middle.
  • Bake the turkey for 4 1/2 hours and then remove the turkey from the oven and check it with a thermometer, if you have one, by shoving the probe tip to the deepest part of the meat. In my experience, it is best if your turkey has an interior temperature of 185°F If your turkey has been brined, this temperature will yield a juicy and tender turkey and all the meat is done nicely at this point.
  • If your thermometer registers anything less than 185°F, or if you don't have a thermometer, bake the turkey, (again, covered), for one more hour, increasing the oven temperature to 375°F If it's 185°F or better at the end of the 4 1/2 hours, allow the turkey to "rest", uncovered for at least 30 minutes prior to carving.
  • If you have returned your turkey to the oven for a final hour, then remove it from the oven at the end of that time and allow it to "rest" for at least 30 minutes prior to carving. My turkeys usually end up somewhere around 190°F when they come out of the oven and mine always take the full 5 1/2 hours. If the wings are so tender that they fall off, I just stick them inside the body cavity to keep them from drying out any during supper. (Some people will argue that 190°F is too hot, but if your turkey is tender, very juicy, delicious, and nicely done all the way through at that temperature, what makes the difference?).
  • NOTE: I'm not a big fan of stuffing the turkey with dressing, but if you do, be aware that this alters the cooking time.
  • Enjoy your perfect turkey.

Questions & Replies

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  1. superoxen
    Thanks so much for this. I made this last year and it turned out exellent. Last night I spent about 2 hours trying to find this recipe again. Now I have signed up for an account just so I can review this recipe and will be able to find it next year.
  2. paulclynnc
    I forgot to write my review last year, but looked up the recipe to make it again this year. My turkey was delicious and so moist. Brining it made all the difference. Even my fussy son-in-law raved about how moist the turkey was!
  3. Danielle H.
    Excellent followed all the steps no changes needed!!
  4. Karen Guerra
    I made the brine exactly as stated and it was WONDERFUL. I wanted to cook it exactly as stated but it didn't turn out that way. It took like 5-6 hrs to cook. I put in oven with a piece of alluminum foil on top not covering it. After about 2-3 hours I took off alluminum to get the color I wanted than put back on when satisfied. I also turned oven up to 375 to cook quicker. I guess not covering the roaster is why it took longer to cook but still came out moist, tender and juicy. This also gives great juice for gravy. I will def make this again,,,thank you!
  5. Chef Carcito
    Wow, I've never cooked a turkey before and this was very easy. I followed the directions and it came out amazing! Everyone had seconds and thirds. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


<p>I am a retired State Park Resort Manager/Ranger. <br /><br />Anyway, as to my years in the State Park System (retired now), I was responsible for 4 restaurants/dining rooms on my park and my boss at Central Headquarters said I should spend less time in my kitchens and more time tending to my park budget. I spent 25 years in those kitchens and worked with some really great chefs over those years, (and some really awful ones too!) <br /><br />I spent THOUSANDS of hours on every inch of that park and adjacent state forest (60,000 acres) and sometimes I miss it. But mostly I miss being in that big beautiful resort lodge kitchen. I miss my little marina restaurant down on the Ohio River too. I served the best Reuben Sandwich (my own recipe -- posted on 'Zaar as The Shawnee Marina Reuben Sandwich) in both the State of Ohio and the Commonwealth of Kentucky down there and sold it for $2.95. Best deal on the river! <br /><br />They (friends and neighbors) call my kitchen The Ospidillo Cafe. Don't ask me why because it takes about a case of beer, time-wise, to explain the name. Anyway, it's a small galley kitchen with a Mexican motif (until my wife catches me gone for a week or so), and it's a very BUSY kitchen as well. We cook at all hours of the day and night. You are as likely to see one of my neighbors munching down over here as you are my wife or daughter. I do a lot of recipe experimentation and development. It has become a really fun post-retirement hobby -- and, yes, I wash my own dishes. <br /><br />Also, I'm the Cincinnati Chili Emperor around here, or so they say. (Check out my Ospidillo Cafe Cincinnati Chili recipe). SKYLINE CHILI is one of my four favorite chilis, and the others include: Gold Star Chili, Empress Chili and, my VERY favorite, Dixie. All in and around Cincinnati. Great stuff for cheap and I make it at home too. <br /><br />I also collect menus and keep them in my kitchen -- I have about a hundred or so. People go through them and when they see something that they want, I make it the next day. That presents some real challenges! <br /><br /></p>
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