Nothing Ruins Thanksgiving Dinner Like Dry Turkey. Chef Shares Nifty Trick So It's Always Moist
This recipe will have guests craving more...
A.J. Gibson
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With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, it’s time to give your friends and family a meal they’ll never forget. We’ve discovered this amazing turkey recipe that will leave your guests with their jaws hanging and their bellies satisfied.

Before we begin, it’s important to note that turkey is an incredibly lean meat. It’s crucial you give it enough fat so that it doesn’t dry out. Just wait till you see what we have in store!

Cook Time: 3 1/2 hours

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 large roasting pan

1 large mixing bowl


  • 1 free-range turkey, about 11 lbs
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
  • 6 bay leaves
  • olive oil, to drizzle
  • 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

Lemon, parsley and garlic butter:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter (around 3 sticks), room temperature
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • finely grated zest and juice of 2 small lemons
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped


  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, place in your sticks of butter (softened but not melted), a pinch of salt and pepper, lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic, finely chopped parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil. Pro Tip: a bit of oil olive in your butter mix will stop your butter from burning.
  3. Grab ahold of your turkey and take the giblets out from the cavity. Make sure the inside is all cleared out before you add in any seasoning.
  4. Rub some salt and pepper inside of the cavity. Then stuff the turkey with your onions, garlic, lemon, and 2 of your bay leaves.
  5. Now it’s time to lift the skin of the turkey to add an under-layer of the butter mixture. Making sure your hands are clean, pull the skin at each end of the breast, loosening it. Slide a hand in on one side, lifting the skin slightly from the meat so that you can fill this layer in with the butter. Do this again coming in from the other side. You don’t want to completely detach the skin off of the meat, so don’t go too crazy here!
  6. Repeat this process with the other parts of the bird, creating some space for the butter on the legs and lower side of the breast.
  7. Forming half of your butter into a ball, pack it underneath the skin on one end of the breast. From the outside of the skin, massage the butter around the breast, making sure to fill in all the spots. Continue to add more butter until your entire bird has a full layer under the skin. These fats are crucial to keeping your turkey moist and delicious when it comes time to serve.
  8. Slide your remaining bay leaves under the skin of the breast.
  9. Set your turkey on a large roasting tray. Use your remaining butter to give the outer layer of skin a nice coat. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper on top, and drizzle some olive oil over the turkey. (If you are prepping this the night before you plan to bake it, then cover it with tin foil and refrigerate overnight).
  10. When you’re ready, place your turkey in your preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. You are looking to give that skin a nice light browning right before we lower the temperature and cook it for the next few hours. Take it out after the 10-15 minutes and give the bird a good baste with the juices in the pan.
  11. Now before you place the turkey back in, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  12. While the oven cools down, lay down your strips of bacon over the top of the turkey. The extra fat from the bacon will not only help the bird stay moist but also give it an extra push of delicious flavor. Baste another time and set back into the oven for about 2 and a half hours. Remember to baste periodically!
  13. If you have a meat thermometer, the temperature for a cooked turkey is 180° F in the thigh and 165° F in the breast. If not, slide a skewer into the thickest part of the leg and see if the juices run clear. If they are pink, it needs to bake longer. We recommend that you give your turkey a check roughly 30 minutes before the calculated ending bake time. Every oven is different and you don’t want to overcook the bird! If the juices are looking pink, give it another 15 minutes in the oven and repeat this if the juices don’t run clear.
  14. Once it’s all done, move the turkey to a warmed platter. Pull off the parson’s nose (the fleshy part at the rear end of the bird), the wings and ends of the drumsticks, and pull out the lemon, garlic, bay leaves, and onions from the cavity. Take the bacon off the top. You will save all of these for the gravy!
  15. We recommend allowing your turkey just as much time to rest as it was in the oven. This ensures that all those delicious flavors and juices have time to really sink into the meat. At the very least, give it a good 45 minutes! We know the smell can make it hard to resist.
  16. Be sure to remove those bay leaves before serving!

Now it’s time for the gravy!

See how Gordon Ramsay does it here.

Below is our favorite cheatsheet for turkey size and cook times! (at a temperature of 350 degrees F)

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Enjoy this amazing holiday turkey with your family and friends! We hope you enjoyed this recipe!

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By A.J. Gibson
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A.J. Gibson is a contributor at SBLY Media.