Giving Thanks for Mayo?

Mayonnaise is an amazing ingredient. It has long been a secret ingredient in many a baked item, from cakes to cookies. It is a reliable and sought-after sandwich condiment. It can be used to great success in salad dressings and seafood relishes. And it's an amazing rub for Thanksgiving turkey.

Wait … what?

That's right. A healthy rub-down with mayonnaise before roasting does two things for your bird:

  1. Helps lock in moisture. A dried out bird is one of the main threats to a perfect holiday meal. Creating a fat-rich coating that bubble into an ideal golden brown, delicious crust is a great, tasty way to combat that issue. (Flipping the bird helps, too. Before you fire off a complaint, look for more detailed instructions in the recipe below.)
  2. Creates a beautifully-seasoned crust. The lightly-seasoned mayonnaise in combination with a healthy application of coarse salt and pepper will give your bird's skin a lot to work with to create the most delicious crust you've ever had on a Thanksgiving turkey. Once you get well-versed in the technique, try other seasoning combinations for different flavored crusts. (Hint: this method also works very well with other kinds of poultry.)
I'll be covering some thoughts on side dishes next week before the big day and, if I get past the food coma I'm likely to be experiencing on Thanksgiving, sharing the wrap up before the end of the week. Make sure you check out the Recipe Index for 13 years of great recipes to help you plan your Thanksgiving feast.

Mayo-Seasoned Turkey

  • 11-13 lb. whole turkey, thawed (This may take several days. Plan ahead.)
  • 4 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoons garlic powder or 2 tablespoons fried garlic (Available in Asian groceries.)
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons pepper
  • 2 apples, rough chopped
  • 1 large onion, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Place your turkey in a roasting pan using a rack, if desired. (It's desired, trust me. Removing the bird is so much easier with a rack.)

Add the Italian seasoning and garlic to the mayonnaise; combine well. Rub mayonnaise/herb mixture all over the outside and interior of the turkey. For the juiciest white meat ever, flip the turkey downward and roast it with the breast facing down. It's not a traditional way to roast a turkey, but come on. You've already slathered it in mayonnaise. Why not try another fun trick?

Liberally salt and pepper the turkey. Add the apples and onion, inside and beneath, and tuck the butter, cut into 2 tablespoon chunks, inside the cavity.

Roast the turkey in the 450°F oven for 30 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350°F, and insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, being careful not to touch the bone. Continue roasting, uncovered, until the internal thermometer reaches 160°F. Cover the legs with aluminum foil partway through roasting, if desired. Depending on size of your turkey, total cook time will be around 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Remove the turkey from the oven. Tent it with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 20 minutes before carving. Reserve the turkey drippings and juices for some fantastic gravy and enjoy the results from your new favorite way to roast turkey!

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 2 hours