Herb Roasted Turkey and Gravy with Citrus Cranberry Sauce

I Want In!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and with it brings one of the most iconic dishes in America: The Roasted Turkey.  We’ve all experienced some amazingly succulent and tasty birds in our Thanksgiving pasts, but I think it’s safe to say we’ve also experienced the opposite.  A turkey so dry and bland that it almost disintegrates a la Christmas Vacation upon carving it.  It’s so dry it almost cuts your mouth and it seems that no amount of liquid can quench the instant thirst you feel.

It’s because of this that I think most people are so intimidated by roasting a whole turkey.  Especially the first time.  I know it was the case for me last year.  It was my first time hosting the main event and  even though I had roasted whole chickens before, I had never made an attempt at such a large bird as a turkey.


Luckily, one of the members at my gym is Chef Jet Tila (from Cutthroat Kitchen) and he told me his first job out of culinary school was to find the perfect method to roasting turkeys for the LA Times Food section.  He said it was basically his job to roast 100’s of turkeys in order to avoid the embarrassing moment when an overdone, dry turkey is served to house guests everywhere.

Last year, I made my first attempt at one of his recommended methods and it was so incredible, that I had to share it here this year in order to show everyone how easy it really can be to make a perfect, juicy and delicious turkey for Thanksgiving.  And what is a Thanksgiving turkey without the gravy and cranberry sauce to go with it?

Thanksgiving Turkey

Herb Roasted Turkey and Gravy with Cranberry Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8-10
  • 1 whole turkey, 12-14 lbs
  • 1/2 cup duck fat
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped
  • 4 large fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 orange, quartered (optional)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 cups turkey stock
Cranberry Sauce
  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup filtered
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • zest of one orange
  1. hours before rinse the turkey and remove the giblets and set aside. If making your own turkey stock, add giblets to turkey stock pot.
  2. In a pot large enough to submerge the turkey in water, add the hot water, kosher salt, sugar, sage and zest and whisk together until sugar and salt has dissolved.
  3. Add cold water about halfway up the pot
  4. Add turkey to pot and pour in enough water to completely cover turkey.
  5. Cover pot and refrigerate 24 hours.
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. While oven is preheating, remove turkey from brine and rinse very well inside and out. Pat dry and set aside.
  3. Add duck fat, herbs, garlic, white pepper and salt to a small food processor and pulse to combine evenly.
  4. Using your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the turkey flesh around the breasts and legs.
  5. Rub duck fat herb mixture liberally under the skin of the turkey in these areas.
  6. Stuff cavity of turkey with orange, onion, carrots and celery
  7. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and pin the small tips of the wings under the turkey to avoid burning
  8. Place turkey in a rack in a heavy bottomed roasting pan breast side up.
  9. Rub any remaining duck fat mixture on top of the breasts. Add 2 cups turkey stock to bottom of pan and tent the turkey with foil
  10. Roast turkey for about 3-4 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh reaches 170-175° F.
  11. For the last hour, remove foil from turkey and roast uncovered, basting every 10 minutes or so with the pan drippings. If the roasting pan dries up, you can always add more turkey stock.
  12. Remove turkey from oven and place on a carving board. Cover with foil and let it rest at least 20 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.
  1. While turkey is resting, pour pan drippings into a fat separator
  2. Pour separated drippings into a large measuring cup and add the remaining two cups of turkey stock.
  3. Add fat from the drippings to a sauce pan over medium heat.
  4. Whisk arrowroot powder into the fat and cook until mixture begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Whisk in drippings, stock and white wine if using.
  6. Whisk constantly over medium heat until gravy begins to thicken and simmer.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  8. Serve immediately
Cranberry Sauce
  1. While turkey is roasting, add cranberries to a saucepan over medium-high heat
  2. Stir in coconut sugar, orange juice and water and cook until sugar is melted and berries begin to burst. About 4-6 minutes
  3. Stir again, add zest of 1 orange, and continue cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, cover pan, and allow to cool.
  5. Refrigerate cranberry sauce until cold. About 2 hours.
  6. Serve with turkey and enjoy!
The brining step is completely optional. If you choose not to brine your turkey, simply skip that step and follow instructions afterward.

 ****Disclosure: If you purchase any of the products linked in this post or products through the links on the right side of my page, I receive a small percentage from the respected affiliate programs****


  1. […] Brussel Sprouts are quite possibly one of the most misunderstood veggies out there.  My dad shares the generalized opinion that they are the most foul tasting vegetable on the planet.  His mom wasn’t the greatest cook so I’m told, so a lot of his food was either bland, or came from a can.  However, today brussels sprouts are making quite the comeback in the culinary world.  A lot of restaurants have them as an appetizer that can cost as much as $15.  This is a simple and quick recipe for brussel sprouts that I use often as a paleo side dish and certainly won’t cost you the outrageous restaurant price.  I like to make this as a side dish for Herb Roasted Turkey and Gravy. […]

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