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What do you put in the cavity or on/under the skin of your turkey?

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I always put a half an onion between each leg and some garlic, onion, fresh rosemary and thyme in the cavity. I sprinkle some salt, pepper and poultry seasoning on the bird and put some butter on it about an hour before finishing.

I'm thinking of trying bacon under the skin.

What do you do to the bird?

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  1. The cavity seasonings I use -- like yours less garlic -- seem to have little direct effect on the taste of the turkey, but they mix with the juices that flow into the roasting pan (and make the house smell great). Seasonings on or under the skin have a more direct impact and, of course, strongly flavor the drippings, so I keep it simple and avoid anything that I don't want to taste in the gravy. Good-quality butter, salt, pepper, and thyme are my favorites.

    1. I like to stuff the cavity with halved apples. It may be my imagination, but it seems to keep the bird moist and it smells good, too.

      1. Fresh honey-butter and some kosher salt spread everywhere under the skin satisfies me. The apple slices sound good too.

        1. I put half an orange, half an apple, an onion cut in half, a bit of celery, and some herbs in the cavity.

          Was never much of an under the skin fan. The last time I tried that, the skin got crispy, but broke away from the meat too easily, and it didn't really help that much.

          1. I slide whole sage leaves under the skin. It looks great and gives great flavoring. I've always wanted to try thin slices of Meyer lemon under the skin, but never find them during Thanksgiving-time. Thank you.

            1. Switched from butter to olive oil a few years ago. Found that the drippings in the pan were less likely to scorch. Milk solids in butter can burn, as can sugars such as honey or syrup.
              I make a loose paste of olive oil, pepper, cayenne, garlic puree, and finely minced fresh thyme. No salt since the bird is brined. Rub inside and outside the bird, getting as much as possible between the skin and the meat.
              Convection oven, no basting, no turning. Comes out perfect every time. Juicy turkey, even cold. Just don't overcook.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MakingSense

                I haven't found that to be a serious problem with turkey, but you can always raise it slightly on a low rack (or inverted spoons), and add a very small amount of water or stock to the roasting pan to prevent drippings from burning. If you plan to turn the bird, put the liquid in after it's finally on its back, by which time the juices have begun to flow.

              2. With roasted chicken, I put a quartered lemon and a small onion, halved or quartered in the cavity with salt and pepper and maybe some fresh herbs. I also love to put whole garlic cloves up under the skin, no fat just the cloves, which roast nicely by the time the bird is done. Looks a bit odd though. I think I may try this, minus the garlic cloves with my turkey this year. Although Giada's recipe with lemons AND oranges in the cavity is rather intriguing too...

                2 Replies
                1. re: prunefeet

                  That reminds me, I did put slivers of garlic under the skin too, which looked nice. THanks.

                  1. re: Bride of the Juggler

                    I make an herb butter with thyme, rosemary, whatever i feel like and lift the breast skin and rub it on the turkey breasts. keeps them moist... delicious...