For most revelers, the star of the holiday table is the roast turkey. This marinade combines salt, garlic,

honey, lemon and thyme. It is guaranteed to boost the flavor of your roast turkey to superstar status.

I had almost given up on successfully roasting a turkey when I tried this recipe. It requires a little extra attention but the delicious results are well worth the effort.


  • 12 pounds turkey
  • 2 cups Kosher Salt
  • 9 quarts Water
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 9 Peeled garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons Coarse black pepper
  • 1 Bundle of fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 Lemon, quartered


  1. Begin by preparing your thawed turkey. Remove the neck and giblets, rinse and pat dry
  2. In a large 20-quart, non-reactive* stockpot mix together water, salt, and honey. Add garlic cloves slightly mashed to release flavor, black pepper and thyme.
  3. Soak the turkey in the stockpot and salt solution in the refrigerator for about 18 hours, occasionally rotating the turkey to get it evenly marinated. Remove the turkey, garlic and thyme from the marinade. Rinse turkey, pat dry and stuff with the garlic, thyme and a quartered lemon.
  4. Cover the bird loosely with a foil tent and place in a roasting pan on a rack in a preheated 350 degree F 175 degrees C oven. Bake approximately 3 to 3 1/2 hours until the skin is a light golden color. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting is not necessary, but will promote even browning.
  5. The best test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin. The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F, and when the breast meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing. The stuffing should be 165 degrees F. It is important when measuring the temperature of your turkey to not let the thermometer touch the bone because this will produce a false reading.
  6. When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
  7. *Non-Reactive - You want to avoid metals such as aluminum and copper, which will have a chemical reaction to the salt solution.