Lemon Herb Salted Turkey and Golden Roasted Turkey Stock

Culinary Setting
Meal Type
Main Course, Entrée
4 HR
Cooking Style
Whole Turkey


1-1/2 tsp rosemary leaves

1 tsp peppercorns

1/3 c kosher salt

1-1/2 tsp rubbed sage

1 tsp ground thyme

1 tsp lemon zest, fresh

1 (12-14 lb) WHOLE TURKEY, fresh or thawed if frozen

2 Onions, cut in 1/8ths

4 Celery stalks, cut in 1-inch pieces

2 Carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces

1 Lemon, in 8 wedges

1/4 c unsalted butter

As needed salt and freshly ground black pepper

As needed poultry stock

8-10 c cold water

As needed unsalted butter

As needed poultry stock

As needed fresh herbs and fruit for garnish


Brining Turkey

Grind rosemary and peppercorns in a coarse stone mortar until fine.

Add salt and grind lightly to combine.

Add sage, thyme and lemon zest and combine.

Remove neck, heart and gizzards from turkey.

Separate the dark meat (thighs and legs) from the breast meat cavity to roast the dark meat a day prior to serving while the breast meat is salted and refrigerated overnight to be cooked just prior to serving. With a sharp knife, cut between each leg and the breast cavity. Set the knife down and reach under the turkey, lifting the backbone up until it breaks between the dark meat and breast meat cavities. Turn the turkey on its side and cut through the back bone at the break to separate both halves. Remove the second and third joint of the wings.

Pat turkey dry. Rub the salt mixture on the inside and outside of the breast cavity, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Roasting Turkey Sections

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and position one oven rack just below the center of the oven.

Spread half the vegetables and lemon on the bottom of a medium sized roasting pan.

Rest the turkey hind quarters (dark meat), neck, wings, heart and gizzard on the bed of vegetables. Rub turkey with butter and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add small amounts of water or turkey stock to the pan to avoid burning and baste with the liquid from the pan.

Rub with butter every 30 to 40 minutes. Roast for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F.

Once cooked, cool the turkey until it can be handled. Pull all the meat and skin from the bones (reserve bones, neck, wings, heart and gizzard) and place in a shallow baking pan with the skin on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Turkey Stock

Place reserved bones, back in the pan with the neck, wings, heart, gizzard and vegetables and return to the oven.

Once nicely browned, transfer to a pot, cover with 8-10 cups of cold water and bring to a boil. Heat pan with drippings over a medium flame and use some of the liquid to deglaze the pan, reduce liquid and pour into pot.

Simmer for two hours, strain and reduce by half. Reserve stock in refrigerator (about 6 cups) for gravy and stuffing.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove salted turkey breast from refrigerator and rinse salt mixture from the inside and outside of the turkey.

Pat dry, rub with melted butter and place in a medium sized roasting pan on a layer of the remaining vegetables and lemon.

Add small amounts of stock to the pan to avoid burning. Baste with the liquid from the pan and rub with butter every 30 to 40 minutes.

When turkey is about 45 minutes from being cooked (about 150 degrees F) place the pan of dark meat in the oven, uncovered, and pour 1/4 cup of stock over turkey.

When the turkey breast reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, remove from oven.

Cover to keep warm and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Carving and Plating

With a sharp knife cut each breast away from the carcass and cover with foil to keep warm.

Pull all remaining meat from the carcass and place on serving platter.

Remove dark meat covered with skin from pan and place on cutting board. Cut 1-1/2-inch slices through skin and meat and transfer to serving platter. Slice the breast meat in 1/4-inch slices and transfer to serving platter.

Heat remaining stock to a boil and drizzle 1/4 cup over turkey just prior to serving.

Garnish with fresh herbs.