Blackened Roast Turkey

by Erin

You can have your Thanksgiving turkey while still adding a little flair to your menu with this Cajun inspired blackened roast turkey.

Blackened Roast Turkey 4

To complete my Cajun-inspired Thanksgiving menu this year I give you the main event – blackened turkey! This is actually last years turkey because I made it on actual Thanksgiving Day, but since no one wants Turkey recipes post-Thanksgiving I saved it all this time until now. Good thing pictures don’t spoil.

Blackened Roast Turkey 1

Ever since I started planning and cooking Thanksgiving dinner myself, I’ve learned the struggles of such an adventure. Despite all the planning and prep you still spend the entire day in the kitchen! And don’t get me started on the whole thawing of the turkey process. It always takes longer than I anticipate. And then you have to go about brining a turkey. Please tell me your secrets if cooking this meal doesn’t stress you out.

Blackened Roast Turkey 2

Despite the stress however, I love coming up with a Thanksgiving menu! It’s not often that I get to come up with an entire themed menu and I think this one came together quite well. But this year I am taking a break and won’t be hosting. Instead all I have to do is bring dessert!

Blackened Roast Turkey 3

If you are hosting, this turkey was an excellent variation on the traditional bird so live a little and try it out! I also suggest pairing it with chorizo cornbread stuffing, kale and collard green gratin, cranberry apple cider sangria, and coconut-pumpkin pie for dessert! Feel free to start your grocery list now.

Blackened Roast Turkey 5

One year ago: Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast Stuffed with Pear Hash

Two years ago: Caramel Apple Pecan Cheesecake

Three years ago: Penne with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Goat Cheese

Five years ago: Baked Apple Cider Doughnut Minis

Six years ago: Asian BBQ Chicken


Serves 8-12



2 gallons cold water

3/4 cup salt

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup smoked paprika

2 Tbsp chile powder

1/2 Tbsp garlic powder

1/2 Tbsp onion powder

1/2 Tbsp oregano

1/2 Tbsp thyme

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


12 lb. turkey, giblets removed

1 bulb garlic, halved

1 small onion, quartered

1 lemon, halved


5 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup honey

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 Tbsp adobo sauce (from can of chipotle chiles)

1 lime, zested and juiced

1 Tbsp chili powder

1-1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper


  1. In a large bucket, add the water, salt, and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add in remaining brine spices and turkey, cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
  2. When ready, preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  3. Rinse turkey well under cold water, and pat dry inside and out. Season the inside of the bird with salt and pepper. Stuff with garlic, onion, and lemon. Tuck wings under the turkey and truss.
  4. In a medium bowl, blend together the rub ingredients, forming a paste. Carefully loosen the skin from the meat by sliding your hand under the skin. Rub 2/3 of the rub under the skin around breast and leg meat. Rub remaining 1/3 on the outside.
  5. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes. Turn heat down to 350 degrees F and cover the turkey with foil. Continue to roast for another 1.5-2 hours, removing the foil for the last 30 minutes, or until the turkey reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from oven and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Source: Adapted from Food Network (Bobby Flay) and The Suburban Soapbox.


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