Garlic-Herb Turkey with Honey-Pecan Acorn Squash
- by Chef David Rose
- Last updated Oct 24, 2023
There’s nothing quite like a juicy, golden-brown, and delicious turkey at the holiday table (or any dinner table). Cooking a whole turkey can be intimidating, but my fool-proof garlic-herb turkey recipe and turkey cooking tips will deliver a succulent, mouthwatering turkey every single time. Pair with honey-pecan acorn squash for a perfect fall or holiday meal and get ready to impress your guests.
7 Tips for a Juicy Turkey
Nobody likes a dry, overcooked turkey. Follow my tips for a perfect, golden-brown, and juicy turkey that will have everyone coming back for seconds.
1. Start with a Pre-Basted Turkey
Omaha Steaks 10 lb. Whole Basted Turkey is coated in sweet honey and brown sugar to deliver just the right amount of seasoning and keep the turkey moist and flavorful.
2. Thaw Completely and Pat Dry for a Crispy Skin
The number one turkey cooking mistake is not giving your bird enough time to thaw. Place it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days – or at least 24 hours for every 5 pounds – to allow it to completely defrost. The next crucial step for a crispy golden-brown turkey is to start with a dry skin. Make sure to pat dry the turkey on all sides with a paper towel to draw out moisture out of the turkey and give it that nice crispy skin as it cooks.
3. Add Garlic-Herb Butter Under the Skin
Some garlic-herb butter under the skin of the turkey will keep the meat moist and juicy, while also infusing flavor. To apply the butter, carefully separate the skin from the turkey breast, making sure not to puncture the skin, and distribute ALL of the garlic-herb butter under the skin. Don’t be shy! Once you’re done, rub a little bit of olive oil on the skin and apply all the seasoning to the outside of the turkey. Finally, stuff the turkey with celery, carrots, and onion (this base is called a “mirepoix”) for additional flavor. Now, your turkey is ready for the oven! Keep reading to make sure you don’t overcook it.
4. Cook Turkey in a Roasting Pan
To allow the turkey to cook fully and develop a crispy skin on all sides, place breast-side-up in a roasting pan and surround it with the remaining mirepoix and the chicken stock. Later, you can use the drippings to make an incredible pan gravy.
5. Baste Every 30 Minutes
Baste turkey with the pan juices every half hour to infuse it with flavor and keep the skin moist.
6. Don’t Overcook the Turkey
An overcooked turkey is a dry turkey. Kickstart the cooking process by preheating your oven to 450°F, then lower it to 350°F when you put the turkey in. This will give it a nice skin, while also cooking it low and slow. Cook until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the turkey breast reaches 160°F and remove. Even after you remove the turkey from the oven, it will continue cooking itself, allowing it to reach a safe internal temperature of 165-170°F, while retaining juice, moisture, and flavor.
Chef Tip: To prevent the turkey wings from overcooking, simply cover both wings with foil and remove one hour before your turkey is done. This allows the wing skin to get crispy without overcooking the tender meat.
7. Rest Turkey for 20 Minutes
The final step of cooking the perfect turkey takes the most patience, but it’s well worth the wait. Always rest your turkey under aluminum foil for 20 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute. This will ensure every bite is incredibly juicy and perfect. When it’s done resting, follow our turkey carving video and tutorial and enjoy!
Chef Tip: While turkey is resting, make a flavorful pan gravy with the drippings from the roasting pan by following my recipe below.
The Perfect Holiday Side Dish: Honey-Pecan Roasted Acorn Squash
Honey-pecan roasted acorn squash is sweet, savory, and perfect complement to your turkey. The tender roasted acorn squash is topped with a sweet and crunchy honey-pecan glaze for the ultimate Thanksgiving side dish. Add more of your favorite holiday side dishes for a feast fit to impress.
- 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. dried basil
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh oregano
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 medium-sized shallot minced
- 16 oz. two sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 10 lb. Omaha Steaks Whole Basted Turkey
- Turkey seasoning recipe above
- Garlic-herb butter recipe above
- 1 cup large diced yellow onion
- 1 cup large diced celery
- 1 cup large diced carrots
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Set dry seasonings and olive oil aside until ready for use.
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until well-incorporated and smooth. Set aside until ready for use.
- Thaw turkey in fridge for 3 to 4 days in refrigerator until completely thawed. When thawed, remove turkey thermometer and plastic truss from legs. The night before you are ready to cook the turkey, allow to air dry in the refrigerator overnight by setting on a top of a wire-rack in a sheet pan.
- When ready to cook the turkey, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Remove turkey from refrigerator and let it sit out until it comes to room temperature, about an hour.
- With turkey breast facing side up, carefully separate the skin from around the turkey neck cavity and generously rub garlic-herb butter between the turkey skin and turkey breasts.
- Rub olive oil all over turkey and season generously all over with turkey seasoning.
- Divide vegetables equally, half of veggies go inside the turkey cavity. Tie legs together with butcher’s twine.
- Place the other half of veggies on the bottom of the roasting pan along with chicken stock.
- With turkey breast facing up, place in a roasting pan and use aluminum foil to wrap the wing tips to avoid burning. Place turkey in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Roast turkey until digital thermometer reads 160 degrees in the turkey breast, about 3 – 3 ½ hours, basting turkey with pan juices every 30 minutes. Remove foil from the wing tips for the last hour of roasting.
- When fully cooked, remove turkey from oven, place on sheet pan and lightly cover with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for about 20 minutes.
Honey-Pecan Acorn Squash
- 2 medium acorn squash about 3 lbs.
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- Honey-pecan glaze recipe below
- 1 cup honey
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted pecans
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 4 oz. unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Honey-Pecan Acorn Squash
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Slice squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut into 8 slices.
- On a large sheet pan, toss sliced acorn squash with olive oil, salt and black pepper.
- Place flesh side down and roast for 30 minutes, then flip to other side and roast another 30 minutes. Once squash is browned and fork-tender remove from oven.
- Glaze acorn squash immediately.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, add honey, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and add butter, chopped pecans, and salt, whisking until butter melts completely and thickens the glaze.
- Remove from heat immediately and pour glaze over roasted acorn squash.
More Chef Rose Holiday Recipes: