Garlic Infused Roasted Turkey

This post is the first in a series of posts detailing our Thanksgiving 2019 feast! This one is a bit of a mix between the classic (Turkey) and experimental (garlic skin infusion), and luckily, it didn’t ruin Thanksgiving. A friend gave us the idea to put the turkey on Garlic Cloves to infuse some flavour, and we decided to try that (which gave the gravy that my aunt made a bit of a distinct flare…and her gravy is amazing to start, so you can only imagine how this one was). Then, when my wife and I were at the store, I saw regular garlic and Elephant Garlic next to each other! Of course, I held up the Elephant Garlic and yelled to her across the produce section, “I WANT THIS FOR CHRISTMAS!” She told me I could just get it, and so I did…and my heart was filled with joy.

Anyway, fast forward, and when we were in the car on the way to my dad’s house to celebrate, we decided to put the garlic (sliced) between the skin and the breast meat to really infuse the turkey with the roasted garlic flavour (figuring the garlic would roast along with the bird). We did that, and the result was pretty tasty…If you can get past the alien looking step in the process noted below.

Time: Roughly 3.5-4.5 Hours. Timing varies “baste” on size of your bird.


  • Whole Turkey
  • Garlic (Elephant Garlic if possible!)
  • Seasonings (We used black pepper and paprika)


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place your garlic cloves (or if using elephant garlic, cut it into thick slabs and place those) on the bottom of your roasting pan for the bird to eventually sit upon (incubate?). Thinly slice other garlic for the rest of the infusion, and set aside.
  • Over the sink, open the plastic packaging your turkey is in. Remove the giblet bag (check out our Giblet Recipes), usually under the skin near the neck flap, and neck, usually in the bird cavity. Rinse the bird, and pat it dry with paper towels. Then, place it atop your garlic in the roasting pan.
  • Cut off some of the excess neck skin (there is usually a lot), and discard. Then, starting from the neck area, work your fingers and eventually whole hand between the skin and the breast meat on either side of the breast bone. (This is the part that looks really weird).
  • Place your thinly sliced garlic under the skin that you just loosened in the prior step (as much or as little garlic as you like…hard to go wrong).
  • Sprinkle your other herbs/seasonings on top of the skin.
  • Put your bird in the oven, and let it roast! General times for unstuffed turkeys are:
    • 12-18 lbs – 3-3.5 hours
    • 18-22 lbs – 3.5-4 hours
    • 22-26 lbs – 4-4.5 hours
    • 26+ lbs – You’re cooking something truly historic. Good luck to you.
  • When your turkey breast reads 165 degrees F, and the thigh meat registers 180 degrees F on your digital thermometer, you’re good to go. Since the thigh meat will be in the drippings, and liquids conduct heat better than air, that part will cook to a higher temperature.
  • Remove your turkey from the oven, and set it on a large cutting board (carefully to avoid burning yourself and creating a “flying turkey” incident…yes, this has happened in our family).
  • Let sit for about a half hour to allow the juices to reabsorb for a juicy and tender turkey. (While you do this, heat up your sides in the oven!).
  • Either carve the turkey yourself, or do what I do, and call your brother-in-law into the kitchen to carve it to perfection.
  • Plate, devour, and enjoy!


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