Enjoy Your Turkey With this Holiday Rub

Adding a spice rub to a raw turkey

If you’re looking for a turkey recipe that results in flavorful, moist turkey and irresistible gravy, this recipe is for you!


The rub itself has relatively few ingredients – kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried sage, and garlic powder. This recipe gives you everything you need to make a delicious turkey, including a seasoning for the cavity and a gravy recipe. Seasoning the cavity is simple, after the neck, heart, and gizzard have been removed and reserved, pat the whole cavity dry then season it generously with kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper.

Making Turkey

When you’re ready to apply your seasoning rub, brush the whole turkey down with two tablespoons of olive oil, then rub in the seasoning mix. Tie the legs together and tuck the tips of the wings under the legs to keep them from burning. You can also wrap the tips of the legs and wings in foil partway through the roast so that they don’t get charred. Turkey cooks until the thickest part of the thigh registers at 165 – 170 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer, which ends up being about 3 hours for a 14 – 16-pound bird.

When the turkey is finished, tent it lightly with foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. After the turkey has rested and released its juices, collect the drippings and fond (the browned bits in the juices) into a large glass measuring cup, then spoon off the fat, savings two tablespoons of fat. You’ll need 1 2/3 cups of drippings and another 2 cups of stock (3 2/3 cups liquid total) to make the gravy, so supplement with stock if your drippings come up short.

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Goodness Gravy!

Heat the reserved two tablespoons of fat in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat (you can also use butter instead), then add garlic and shallots and saute for two minutes. Add the flour to make a roux and cook it until the raw flour smell and taste are gone, about 2 – 4 minutes. Slowly add the drippings and stock, whisking constantly. Bring the gravy base to a low boil, whisking to keep it smooth, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency. Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice and sour cream and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

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