roast turkey

The Perfect Roast Turkey

Northern Michigan Recipe: Local poultry guru and Great Lakes Culinary Institute Instructor Chef Bob Rodriguez shares a recipe for the perfect roast turkey. Looking for the perfect roast turkey recipe to wow friends and family this holiday season? Well, look no further! Try Chef Rodriguez's brined and roasted turkey recipe. Your turkey will burst with succulent juices and flavors from the brine, and come out of the oven with that sought after golden, crispy skin. Don't be surprised if people skip the sides and go straight for turkey seconds!

See this recipe in the October 2012 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine!


  • 1 10–20-pound farm fresh turkey with neck and giblets
Poultry Brine:
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 cups red onion, chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ tablespoon dried thyme
  • ¾  tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons hot paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 8 bay leaves, broken in half


Combine all ingredients (except turkey and parts) in a large saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight. Transfer brine to a large stockpot or clean plastic bucket. Rinse turkey, pat dry, submerge in brine, cover and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours. 12 to 24 hours before cooking, remove turkey from brine, rinse and pat dry. Tear off a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil slightly larger than the bird, mold over the breast and legs and set aside. Place turkey in a large roasting pan, cover with pan lid and refrigerate until ready to cook. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place roasting pan containing turkey, neck and giblets in oven and roast uncovered until skin begins to crisp and turns golden brown. Cover top of turkey with the molded foil, reduce heat to 250 degrees and roast until internal temperature reads 155 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh. Remove bird from oven, tent with foil and rest for 30 minutes on a carving board.