- 12 lb fresh turkey
- ½ c kosher salt
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, divided
- 5 tbsp harissa chili paste, divided
- ⅓ c maple syrup
- ⅓ c red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 lemon
Prepare your bird the night before: Using kitchen shears, start at the tail end of the turkey and cut along each side of backbone removing it completely. (Reserve for gravy, along with the neck and giblets if you choose.) Pull open turkey and turn breast side-up. Place your hand on one side of the breast, close to the breastbone and push down firmly until you hear a crack. Repeat on the other side. Flatten turkey by pulling thighs out and tucking wings under. Place flattened bird on a large rimmed baking sheet, skin side-up. Combine salt and brown sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle liberally over turkey. Set sheet pan in fridge to dry brine overnight.
Turkey Day Prep: At least three hours before dinner, take your turkey out of the fridge, keeping it on the sheet pan and bring two sticks of butter to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, combine two sticks of room temperature butter with 3 tbsp Harissa paste. Mix until well incorporated.
Starting at top of bird, separate skin from breast meat and thighs, being careful not to puncture or remove completely. Place about 1/4 c of Harissa butter under the skin of each breast and thigh, smoothing it throughout as much as possible. Use any remaining harissa butter to rub over outside of skin.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, make the basting glaze by combining remaining stick of butter, maple syrup, red wine vinegar, remaining 2 tbsp harissa paste and crushed garlic. Using a pastry brush, coat the skin side of turkey completely before placing in oven (there should be plenty of glaze remaining). Reduce heat to low.
Place turkey in preheated oven and roast for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue to roast, basting every 15 minutes with remaining glaze until internal temperature reaches 160°F, about 2 hours. Allow to rest 30 minutes before carving. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.
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