Maple Sage Spice Rub
Recipe type: main dish, holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Dry brining a turkey with a flavorful spice rub yields tender, juicy meat.
  • For turkey:
  • One 12-14 lb. turkey (not Kosher)
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 celery stalks, diced
  • Optional: 1 apple, cored and sliced; fresh herbs, 6 garlic cloves
  • For dry rub:
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried sage, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dark maple syrup
  1. Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Pat dry inside and out. Set aside.
  2. To make dry rub - combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add the maple syrup and stir well. It should feel and look like wet sand. Rub the mixture on the inside and outside of the turkey. Place turkey in a plastic bag and refrigerate at least 12 hours, up to overnight. Every few hours or so, turn the turkey around in the bag to marinate in the juices that have been released. (They will eventually mostly get reabsorbed, but this helps the flavors penetrate the meat evenly.)
  3. To roast - preheat oven to 400°F. Have a roasting pan and rack ready to go. Adjust oven racks so they are as low as they go.
  4. Remove the turkey from the fridge and let stand, still in the bag, for 30 minutes or so to bring it closer to room temperature. Remove the turkey from the bag and discard the bag and any remaining juices. (You can rinse, but you don't have to. Pat it dry with paper towels if you do.) Sprinkle the ¾ of the onions and celery over the bottom of the roasting pan and place the rack in the pan.
  5. Place the turkey on a rimmed baking sheet or pan. Allow the skin to dry uncovered for a few minutes, or pat dry with paper towels.
  6. If using, place the apple slices, fresh herbs, garlic cloves, and the remaining ¼ of the onions and celery inside the turkey. Tie up the legs with twine. Spread the butter evenly over the entire turkey. Place the turkey breast-side down on the roasting rack.
  7. Roast for 45 minutes. Carefully turn the turkey onto one side, roast for 15 minutes. Repeat with other side and roast for 15 minutes longer. Lower oven temperature to 250°F. Turn the turkey breast-side up. Roast for 2 hours. Raise the temperature back up to 400°F and finish roasting until the internal temperature reaches 165°F for the breast and 170-175°F for the thickest part of the thigh. Remove from oven and let stand for 30 minutes or so before carving.
Do not use a kosher turkey for this recipe. Kosher turkeys have already been brined before you buy them.
Recipe by Cafe Johnsonia at