Jamaican Jerk Roast Turkey

  • Serves

    serves 10-12

  • Cook

    3 hours 30 minutes


By SAVEUR Editors

Published on November 20, 2019

A simple roast turkey is transformed into a thing of legend when slathered with a spicy, fragrant jerk sauce. Basting towards the end of roasting ensures a crisp, brown skin without overcaramelizing the sugars.



  • 34 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 12 cup chopped scallions
  • 14 cup freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 12 Tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 12 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 12 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 12 tsp. ground cloves
  • 14 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, plus wedges for serving
  • 1 12 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 whole turkey (12 lb.)


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 500°F. In the bowl of a food processor, combine ¼ cup oil, sugar, scallions, ¼ cup pepper, 2½ tablespoons salt, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, chiles, and ginger; purée until smooth and set aside. Mix the butter with the remaining ½ cup oil; set aside. Rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Season inside and out with salt and pepper; let come to room temperature.

Step 2

Transfer the turkey to a rack set inside a roasting pan, tuck the wings behind the turkey, and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Brush the turkey all over with the butter mixture, reserving some for brushing. Pour 2 cups water into the roasting pan. Roast the turkey, brushing once with some of the reserved butter mixture, for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue roasting, brushing occasionally with the butter mixture, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh, without touching the bone, reads 150°F, about 1 hour 40 minutes to 2 hours. Remove the turkey from the oven and baste completely with the reserved jerk sauce. Return the turkey to the oven and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 20 to 25 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board and let sit for 30 minutes before carving; serve with lime wedges.

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