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 😉
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.
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 gallon water
- black pepper
- Shawarma spices or 7 spices
- Cinnamon stick
- Italian Seasoning
- Garlic powder
- 1 onion
- 2-3 gloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon 7 spices
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 lime juice
For the aromatics:
- 1/2 onion
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 celery stick
Canola oil and melted butter for covering the turkey
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator
Combine the brine ingredients and mix well.
Early on the day before you’d like to eat the turkey:
Combine the brine, water and place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. Refrigerate for 8 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Remove from brine and add the Egyptian marination mix above as shown in video: Mix all the above marination ingredients 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.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Combine the onion, celery, cinnamon stick and rosemary in turkey’s cavity along . Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin with canola oil and butter mix.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for around 25 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the thigh and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F.