1 (10-12 lb.) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
1/2 medium onion
1 head of garlic, cut in half lengthwise
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbsp five-spice powder
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Prep time: 15 mins (+10 hours to marinate)
Marinate the Turkey:
Remove the turkey neck and giblets from inside the cavity and set it aside if making homemade gravy, otherwise discard. Wash and pat dry the turkey completely with paper towel before adding seasoning.
In a small bowl, whisk to combine five-spice powder, soy sauce, Shaoxing cooking wine, olive oil, sesame oil, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt and pepper, into a smooth paste.
Place the turkey on a clean cutting board, and rub half of the marinade over the entire turkey including inside the cavity and underneath the skin of the breast. To spread the marinade underneath the skin, use a knife and a spoon to gently loosen the skin of the turkey breast, then place 2 tablespoons of the marinade under the skin and slowly press down on the skin to spread the marinade evenly. Wearing disposable gloves helps make clean up easier.
Transfer the turkey (breast side up) onto the rack of a large roasting pan and tuck the wings underneath. Insert onion, lemon, garlic and sprigs of thyme inside the cavity. Optionally, truss the turkey by tying the legs together with kitchen string so that they stay close to the body.
Wrap the roasting tray tightly with aluminum foil and let the turkey marinate in the refrigerator overnight, up to 2 days.
Store the remaining marinade in the refrigerator until the turkey is ready.
Roast the Turkey:
Remove the roasting pan and extra marinade from the refrigerator and place on the counter to slowly bring the turkey to room temperature, about 2 hours. Roasting the turkey directly from the refrigerator will cause uneven cooking.
Preheat the oven to 450 F with a rack positioned in the lowest level of the oven. Place the second rack out of the way on the highest level at the top of the oven, or you may have to completely remove the second rack out of the oven to make room for the turkey, depending on how large your turkey is.
Generously brush the entire turkey with the remaining half of the marinade. Add 1/2 cup of water or more on the bottom to the roasting pan to prevent the pan drippings from burning. Transfer the roasting pan to the lowest rack and roast at 450 F for 45 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 F and continue to roast until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165 F. Check the internal temperature of the turkey by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey breast, without touching the bone. For a 10-12 pound turkey, this should take approximately 1.5 hours.
Every 30-45 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and tilt to release juice from the cavity into the pan. Use a brush to baste the turkey with the pan drippings and return to the oven. This will help achieve a golden brown crispy skin.
Also, monitor the turkey closely during these intervals to make sure that the skin doesn't become too burnt because of the five-spice rub. Cover the turkey by lightly tenting with aluminum foil if needed to prevent further browning.
Remove from oven and loosely cover the turkey with aluminum foil. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. Resting helps the juices redistribute into the meat as the internal temperature continues to rise by 5-10 degrees, reaching 170 F while resting. Meanwhile, remove the turkey drippings and set aside for making homemade gravy.
Carve the turkey with a sharp knife or electric carving knife and serve.
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