Thanksgiving Turkey: Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey
Roasted turkey, brined turkey, dry-brined turkey, healthy turkey, bacon-wrapped turkey, turkey stuffed with stuffing, turkey cooked with compound butter, herbs and spices, smoked turkey, jerk turkey, barbecue turkey, paper-bag turkey, beer-can turkey, turducken, you've tried them all, and of course, you've considered tackling the risks of doing a fried turkey too. You’ve heard of every variation known to man, thought about what temperature to cook the turkey at and for how long, hoped for a moist turkey breast and oohs and ahs from your guests. But when thinking about doing something different, but perhaps not too much more difficult than your traditional Thanksgiving turkey, have you ever considered a mayonnaise-roasted Turkey?
Maybe. But probably not.
At least, we’ve thought about all the preparations above, but never heard of a mayonnaise-roasted turkey until one member of The Daily Meal staff Sharon Gitelle was inspired by a recipe by Amy of She Wears Many Hats. The photo looked gorgeous; the skin thin, golden and crispy, covered with herbs and healthy crust of salt and pepper. The meat in the picture pulls away from the edges of the legs, the skin is condensed all crispy and crunchy — mayo-crusted turkey skin — like some oil and egg augmented chicharrón-like Turkey gribenes.
It had to be experimented with. So, inspired by She Wears Many Hats, and armed with a cause (feeding The Daily Meal’s staff during its inaugural potluck Thanksgiving) we set out undaunted by the idea of trying a first-time recipe as the central dish of a public event. After all, armed with The Daily Meal’s Guide to Thanksgiving, its survival and SOS guides, its guides to temperatures, cooking times, and emergency solutions, how could things go wrong? We used our convection oven, but you can use the turkey cooking times for a conventional oven for the recipe too.
And go wrong they didn’t. The following recipe for a 16- to 18-pound turkey was a hit. It was quick. It was easy. It was messy. It was a success. And it was simple too: Mayonnaise, herbs, seasoning, and some celery and onion. That’s all!
The turkey breast was as moist 15 minutes after cutting it as it was when Editorial Director Colman Andrews carved it. The skin was crunchy and delicious, and the flavor, well… you didn’t get mayonnaise, but you did get a savory herbaceousness.
“Mayonnaise you might ask? Mayonnaise-roasted? That sounds outrageous!”
Well, how would it sound if someone suggested they would use an egg glaze and drizzle olive oil over your Thanksgiving turkey? Pretty delicious, right? Well that’s the idea behind this turkey recipe, one that we thank Amy for inspiring and which we tweaked here and there to suit our bird, and maybe this or next Thanksgiving, yours.
- 1 16- to 18-pound turkey, thawed and patted dry
- 6 stems of oregano, destemmed (stems discarded) and leaves finely chopped
- Freshly ground pepper
- 6 stems of rosemary, destemmed (stems discarded) and leaves finely chopped
- 14 sage leaves, finely chopped
- 6 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 jars mayonnaise (we used Hellmans)
- 12 stems of fresh thyme, destemmed (stems discarded) and finely chopped
- 1 stick of salted butter, quartered
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed, it should go without saying you need to remove all the nasty bits that are tucked inside. Rinse it thoroughly inside and out and then pat completely dry. Scatter about a third of the chopped celery and onions on the bottom of the roasting pan.
Remove the leaves from all stems and finely chop and mix well with the mayonnaise. Prepare to get messy. Turn the turkey over and start on the bottom first, rubbing the mayonnaise and herb mixture all over the skin and in all crevices. Liberally salt and pepper the surface. Flip, and do the same on the other side and inside the bird. Season liberally.
Stuff the bird with another third of the celery and onions along with the stick of butter. Scatter the rest on top, put in the oven, and roast at 450 degrees for a half hour. Then turn down the oven to 350 degrees and cook for two and a half hours.
If you’re not using a convection oven, or if you’re using a different sized turkey, use The Daily Meal’s time and temperature chart!