Photographers Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains

Herb Rubbed Roasted Turkey


This recipe is designed to use a convection oven where we simply place the seasoned turkey on an oven broil pan or in a shallow pan with a rack and roast it without turning or basting it. By using a convection oven:

  • Meats should be cooked on a rack in a shallow pan for maximum exposure and to prevent juices from being leeched out by the heat of the pan.
  • Pan juices will be minimal. However, the juices can be easily captured prior to carving after the turkey has rested by picking it up with two kitechen towels and draining the juices into a bowl (yields up to 4 cups for gravy).
  • Turning and basting are not required when roasting in a convection oven.
  • Higher temperatures than standard recipe temperatures are used and cooking times are much shorter.
  • Brining is usually not necessary and tend to make your turkey slightly soggy due to the moisture retention characteristic of convection cooking.
  • An oven meat probe is a useful tool but it is advisable to check the meat in several places with an instant read thermometer to ensure the correct internal temperature has been reached.
  • Once the turkey is resting multiple side dishes can be cooked in the oven at one time ensuring that all the dishes are hot and ready at the same time.


  • Turkey with the giblets removed, washed in cold water inside and out and dried with paper towels
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried or minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion halved
  • 4 fresh sage leaves coarsely chopped


  1. The day before Thanksgiving, remove the turkey from the wrapping, remove the giblets from both cavities, wash the bird inside and out with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Carefully separate the skin from the breast using the point of a sharp knife.
  3. Combine the Old Bay, thyme, salt and pepper with the oil in a small bowl and, wearing latex gloves, rub the seasoning into the flesh under the skin of the turkey and smear the remainder over the skin. Place the onion and sage leaves in the large cavity.
  4. Place the turkey on a shallow pan and cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator.
  5. On Thanksgiving, let the turkey sit outside of the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours. These recipe cooking times assume that you are cooking your turkey without stuffing.
  6. Organize the oven racks to accommodate the turkey and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Convection Roast. The turkey is best cooked on rack position 2 (from the bottom of the oven).
  7. Place the turkey on a rack in a shallow pan, leaving the legs to swing free. Because turkeys cook faster in convection this ensures that the heat can properly penetrate the coldest and thickest part between the thigh and the body.
  8. Slide the turkey into the oven.
  9. After 20 minutes reduce the temperature to 375 degrees for a large capacity wall or range oven (30″ or 36″) or 350 for a smaller wall oven (24″ or 27″). Once the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 170 degrees in the thickest part of the breast, the leg moves freely and the juices of the thigh run clear when pierced, remove the turkey and place on the counter to rest. During the resting time the internal temperature will rise to 180 degrees.

Typical convection oven roasting time:

  • 10-12 lb. turkey: 1-½ hours
  • 12-15 lb. turkey: 1-¾ hours
  • 15-20 lb. turkey: 2 hours
  • 20-25 lb. turkey: 2-½ hours
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Roasted Turkey Breast
(without skin)
Nutrition Facts
Servings: Varies
Amount per serving: 4 oz.
Calories: 153
Total Fat: 0.8 g
  Saturated Fat: 0.3 g
Cholesterol: 94 mg
Sodium: 59 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 0 g
  Dietary Fiber: 0 g
  Sugars: 0 g
Protein: 34 g
Potassium: 330 mg
Calcium: 2%
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