How can I brown a turkey

Prepare turkey in the oven, classic recipe for Thanksgiving and Christmas

In this post I will introduce you to my turkey recipe with and without a filling. The wonderful roast poultry from the oven is on the festive table at Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving for us and at Christmas. In the USA in particular, this dish is the MVP (most valuable player) on the Thanksgiving table of every American family.

In Germany, too, the turkey is more of a family meal or a group of friends food, if only because of the size of the food. Everything should be carefully considered: Is sister now vegan? Can they all tolerate all of the ingredients? Are the special wishes of the sweet tooth brother-in-law also fulfilled?

I prefer the poultry meat when it is juicy and not dry. The side dishes should turn out quickly, after all, we want to spend a lot of time with our loved ones on festive days.

Now read quickly and find out the best tips and after shopping you can head to the kitchen ... Have fun and good luck!


1. Preparation for the perfect turkey in the oven

To roast a turkey you will need a few things:

  • Organic turkey, please order in advance
  • You need a large oven, ideally with a hot air setting
  • Oven thermometer (optional)
  • Roaster
  • Large cutting board
  • Carving knife
  • Pastry brush

Don't forget the other ingredients! Of course, you also need vegetables and garlic, spices, shallots and good ideas for side dishes. So please read on!

Since the type of marinade requires a suitable choice of side dishes, we take it step by step….

Seriously, you need at least 3.5 hours to prepare large poultry roast with side dishes and sauce.

How long does the Turkey question take to be answered by chef Thomas Sixt

2. Tips for turkey marinades

Marinating is not a must, you can conjure up a taste focus. First I'll show you a few ideas and then I'll answer the question: marinate overnight or longer or shorter.

2.1 Herbal marinade with lemon

This is how easy it is to prepare this marinade: 3 tablespoons of olive oil, zest from one lemon, juice from one lemon, fresh herbs (plucked or finely chopped) such as chervil, thyme, Sage or rosemary Mix with a little 1/2 teaspoon salt and 6 pinches of pepper.

In terms of taste, I find the variant with fresh or dried thyme in combination with the lemon peel particularly fine! The herbs give the roast a wonderful lightness.

Turkey seasoning tip from chef Thomas Sixt

2.2 Barbecue marinade with garlic

Preparation made easy: grate 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil, 6 pieces of garlic cloves with salt, mix with the juice of one lemon and 6 pinches of pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika and 1 teaspoon of curry and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

This marinade fits all year round, to be honest, I prefer this seasoning mixture in summer.

Poultry marinade tip from chef Thomas Sixt

2.3 honey marinade

The preparation is very easy: Mix the juice of one lemon with 2-3 tablespoons of honey, add 6 pinches of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar and stir.

Especially at Christmas time and Christmas Eve I add a pinch of cinnamon or gingerbread spice to this marinade.

Christmas turkey marinade tip from chef Thomas Sixt

2.4 Sixt Secret Marinade

This is my favorite marinade, the preparation is very easy and the taste output is phenomenal:

  1. Please put 250 g butter in a small saucepan, then heat and bring to the boil.
  2. Let the butter simmer for 15 minutes and brown lightly. Be careful, the butter is very hot!
  3. Carefully pass the hot, brown butter through a fine metal hair sieve into a clean saucepan and allow to cool.
  4. Mix the nut butter obtained in this way with a little salt, pepper, two pinches each of curry and paprika and coat the roast poultry with it right from the start.

Nut butter gives the large poultry roast a fine, light, nutty sweetness. You can also add thyme towards the end of the cooking time.

Chef's insider tip from Thomas Sixt

Coat your roast with the marinade every 15 minutes, I promise you: It will be delicious!

2.5 Marinating poultry overnight or not?

So now I'm going to tell you a real chef's secret ... marinating poultry overnight or even 24 hours has little effect on the taste.

On the contrary: heavily marinated foods do not tolerate high temperatures. Honey and sugar marinades brown meat and skin very quickly, herbs suffer if the temperature is too high.

You can save yourself marinating for 2, 4, 8, 12 hours!

Marinating poultry tip from chef Thomas Sixt

That is the reason why many poultry roasts on the Internet are given a highly dubious final dress with aluminum foil.

In all honesty, if the Manneken Pis in Brussels gets a new outfit every now and then due to the tourist attraction, I can live with it. The aluminum foil on the turkey breast just turns me off.

Chest and aluminum foil is a NOGO

Chef Thomas Sixt about roasting covering things

At the same time, it is unnecessary if you do it brilliantly ...

2.6 Chef's marinade tips

So ... my recommendation is ... brush the roast poultry with a little oil and only season with salt and pepper at first.

If you use the Sixt secret marinade, you can marinate right from the start because the ingredients can withstand high heat.

Apply all other marinades to the poultry meat after a cooking time of approx. 60 minutes and continue cooking at reduced heat.

Apply the marinade later and prepare the roast poultry safely!

Chef Thomas Sixt on modern marinating and glazing

Incidentally, the aluminum foil on the chest has only a minor effect, I would like to explain that briefly. This is how you can survive at the table in the perfect dinner watcher group:

The marinade with sugar lies on the poultry meat or the poultry skin. In the oven there is a temperature X that is distributed. You now put aluminum foil on the skin and what happens then? The heat is still present throughout the oven and the sugar continues to caramelize, regardless of whether there is foil or not. Even with top heat, the aluminum foil does not do much.

Always prepare poultry on the hot air setting; the cooking result is more even.

3. Stuffing for the turkey

In Germany the turkey is usually not stuffed. You can of course place the herbs in the stomach area and thus influence the taste of the sauce!

Fillings are very popular in the United States. You can try the American style. I don't really like these types of filling, it reminds me of crumbled dumplings.

You can also prepare the fillings separately in the pan and then serve them for frying. I prefer the bread to be crispy and I don't add any broth. But, that's my opinion and I also find justification for fillings, because: Every animal has its own little treat!

There are no limits to the creativity for the filling. So let's go wild, wild west!

Chef Thomas Sixt motivates you to fill
Classic1 small loaf of farmer's bread, cut into 1⁄2 cm pieces,
3 tbsp butter,
2 diced onions,
2 stalks of chopped celery,
3 cl chicken broth,
8 fresh, finely chopped sage leaves,
1 bunch of chopped fresh parsley,
2 whisked eggs,
Pepper salt
Autumnal300g small diced farmer's bread,
200ml chicken broth,
200g chopped butter, chestnut or porcini mushrooms (brown mushrooms if necessary),
6 soaked dried plums finely chopped,
1 bunch of finely chopped parsley,
2 sweaty diced onions,
Pepper salt
Fineaccording to instructions approx. 400g solid polenta prepared,
2 bunch of parsley finely chopped,
2 pickled truffles finely chopped,
1 teaspoon truffle oil,
8 shallots glazed in the pan,
50g butter,
salt and pepper
Fruity2 handfuls of dried fruit soaked and cut into small pieces,
1 fresh pineapple peeled, cored and cut into cubes,
1 orange finely diced,
Cayenne pepper,

4. Prep time and temperature for perfect turkey roast

The preparation time for the turkey is wrong in most recipes. The cooking time of 3-5 hours far exceeds what is necessary.

I have been preparing this wonderful roast every year for more than 15 years. So far I've always done well with 2-2.5 hours.

Depending on the oven, the weight of the bird and the marinade chosen, the optimal temperature is initially 200 ° C, after 60 minutes 130-160 ° C

Chef Thomas Sixt on the cooking time for roast poultry

The overview may help with the preparation:

  1. Preheat the hot air oven at 200-220 ° C.
  2. When you open the oven, the temperature drops to below 200 ° C
  3. Brush the roast poultry with a little oil, then season with salt and pepper. (Exception Sixt secret marinade)
  4. Pour about 500 ml of chicken stock into the roasting pan.
  5. Add garlic and chopped root vegetables (soup vegetables) to taste.
  6. This is how the roast goes into the oven. Start with an initial temperature of 200 ° C.
  7. After 60 minutes, generously coat the roast with the desired marinade and continue cooking at a reduced temperature of a maximum of 130-160 ° C.
  8. Now is also a good time to add the giblets, if included.

I add vegetables such as soup vegetables and also roughly sliced ​​organic oranges on the side.

Sometimes you also add pitted and quartered apples.