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Butter-Basted Roast Turkey


Adapted from Anne Quatrano's "Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality" (Rizzoli), this spectacular turkey calls for an easy dry brine.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 12

Photography: John Kernick

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2014


  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 turkey (14 to 16 pounds), giblets reserved for gravy
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 1 stick, melted, for basting
  • Turkey Gravy for Roasted Turkey with Dry Brine, for serving
  • Pomegranates, clementines, and sage and thyme sprigs, for garnish (optional)


  1. Rub 2 tablespoons salt evenly inside cavity of turkey, then rub outside with 1/4 cup salt. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; refrigerate 24 hours.

  2. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry with paper towels. Season cavity with salt and pepper. Rub room-temperature butter evenly over outside of turkey; season with salt and pepper. Tuck wings under turkey; tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Transfer to a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Let stand 1 hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in lower third. Roast turkey 30 minutes. Baste with some of melted butter; lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue roasting, basting with butter every 30 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast near (but not touching) bone registers 165 degrees, 1 1/2 to 2 hours total, depending on size of bird.

  4. Transfer turkey to a serving platter. Reserve pan with drippings for gravy. Let turkey rest at least 45 minutes; carve and serve with gravy and garnishes.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS10070024
    21 NOV, 2015
    I dry brined my turkey before I knew that was the term for it. My mom (& no doubt my gramdmother) did this old world treatment of salting the bird to kill bacteria. I once tried to wet-brine the bird and it was a messy disaster! (I also learned that the bunch of herbs, esp. thyme which has fine stems, will kill your garbage disposal!) I also store & roast the bird upside down to keep the breast juicy.