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Chef Wolf’s Holiday Turkey

  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 2 3/4 hours
  • Serves: 8

We asked customer and nine-time James Beard Foundation award finalist Chef Cindy Wolf how she prepares her holiday turkey.


Day One: 

1 10-pound fresh turkey

4 T. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

6 T. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, sliced

4 sprigs fresh rosemary1/2 cup corn oil1/2 cup corn oil

2 T. kosher salt 

1 t. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup corn oil

additional salt and pepper, to taste


Day Two: 

4 peeled carrots, sliced ½” thick

2 celery ribs, sliced ½” thick

1 Spanish onion, diced

kosher salt 

freshly ground black pepper

prepared turkey (from the day before)

4 T. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

To Prepare

Day One: 

Rub the turkey with salt and pepper, inside and out. 
Brush the outside with melted butter, and add slices of butter under the skin—between skin and meat.
•    Chef’s tip: “This will self-baste, and help keep the turkey moist.” 
Take 4 stems of rosemary, remove the leaves by hand, and chop. Mix with 2 T kosher salt, 1 t pepper, and ½ c corn oil, then use all of it to coat the inside cavity. 
Cover loosely with plastic and refrigerate overnight.


Day Two: 

Create a mirepoix by combining carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper, then stuff into cavity. 
•    Chef’s tip: “This is primarily for seasoning—and especially good with the rosemary marinade that you have already rubbed inside. You can always cook your other stuffing separately and add to the platter just before serving.”
Preheat oven to 325° F. While oven is warming, place turkey in roasting pan and leave turkey at room temperature for 30 minutes. 
•    Chef’s tip: “This will help it to cook evenly.”
Roast in oven, brushing periodically with melted butter, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165° (about 2 ¾ hours total).

To Serve

Allow turkey to rest in pan before slicing, covered loosely with foil, approx. 30 minutes.

Eddie's Recipe Tip:

“Turkeys are very lean birds, so overcooking dries them out,” explains Chef Wolf. “A bird this size will have a carryover cook time—meaning the temperature will continue to rise as it rests. Resting allows the natural juices to flow back though the meat, maintaining its desirable moisture.”