Roasted Turkey: when Goodeats meets Egyptian marination, the result is outstanding

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I remember that I was in a fancy Egyptian wedding like 20 plus years ago when the wedding buffet included a few roasted turkeys, I think that was the first time that I have ever tasted it. At that time, it was not that common in Egyptian cuisine since it is kind of an expensive item in Egypt to cook and it needs bigger oven than the usual in the Egyptian kitchens. I was excited to try it out until I tasted it. It could pass like chicken but with no flavor whatsoever and hard like a cardboard. I was glad it tasted like that at that time, since with that price at that time in Egypt, I do not want to crave it at all. Then I moved to USA and I noticed that you can get a huge turkey so cheap from stores like Costco. So that was good but I still do not want to eat a cardboard flavorless chicken anyway. However, around thanksgiving time many many years ago, I ran into a Goodeats episode for Alton Brown about how to make a very tasty turkey that is also juicy, moist and obviously will not be similar to my previous experience. Also, it will not require any pasting or opening the oven every hour. So, I thought, it is worth a try specially with that price! So, since that day, I always follow that recipe with a few modifications to add the Egyptian flavors. The result is such a juicy and tasty turkey. It is not plain and it is actually tasting good. This is not even the best part,the best part is how easy to cook it. All the work is in preparing the brine but other than that I threw it in the oven and goodbye! So, I always offer to make it for thanksgiving gathering, not just because it is super delicious but because it is easy to make. No one knows that till now 😉

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Traditional Thanksgiving at my house.

Traditional thanksgiving at my house.
Traditional Thanksgiving at my house.
This is the link to the recipe:

The Egyptian modification is in the marination after the brine. I cover the turkey with that for 8 hours before roasting it in the oven.


  • 1 onion
  • 4 gloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon 7 spices
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 lime juice

Mix all the above in the kitchen mixer. Put that mixture above and under the turkey skin for 8 hours. Then follow the steps in the recipe above to roast the turkey in the oven.

Full recipe copied from Goodeats at Food network link just in case something happens to the link:

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1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock Or just water
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries (Scarfgalfood: I do not add that)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger  (Scarfgalfood: I use regular ground ginger)
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil  (Scarfgalfood: I use a mix of butter and canola oil)
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

 (Scarfgalfood: Remove from brine earlier and add the Egyptian marination mix)

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, also featured in Food Network Magazine

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One Comment Add yours

  1. The food looks delicious.


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