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+ servings

Chili Rubbed Turkey with Orange

The chili rub is full of deep flavors and just a little spicy. It contrasts perfectly with the sweet fruity oranges the turkey is stuffed with.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chili, citrus, orange, turkey, winter citrus
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Servings 8


  • Enamel roasting pan
  • Enough room in the refrigerator to hold the roasting dish with turkey**


For the chili rub:

  • 6 dried guajillo chilies
  • 5 dried ancho chilies
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 8 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • ½ cup (packed) dark brown sugar

For the turkey:

  • 1 (10 to 12) pound whole Turkey (neck and giblets discarded or removed and reserved)
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large naval oranges halved
  • 1 (12-ounce) light beer
  • 2 cups chicken stock


For the chili rub:

  • To make the chili rub, add the chilies, cumin, coriander, onion and garlic to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1½ cups of water and bring to a simmer until the chilies and onion are soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then puree with the orange zest and sugar in a blender until smooth. Add to a bowl and set aside to cool completely.

For the turkey:

  • One day before you are planning to roast the turkey, rub the turkey all over with salt and pepper. Use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the meat and rub the salt under, being careful not to break the skin. Use half of the chili rub and massage it all over the turkey, including under the skin and the underside of the turkey.
  • Place the turkey in the roasting pan and cover with aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 24 hours, turning the turkey once.
  • One hour before you are ready to roast, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and pat it dry inside and out with paper towels. Clean the roasting dish and set aside. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 45 minutes, this allows for the turkey to cook evenly. Rub the ¼ cup of the remaining chili rub all over the turkey then add the halved oranges into the inside of the bird.
  • Heat the oven to 350°F. (180ºC) Set a rack inside a large roasting pan. Tuck the tips of the wings under the bird. Pour the beer, stock and 2 cups of water into the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the reserved turkey neck and giblets to a small saucepan filled with water over medium heat. Simmer over medium low heat, adding additional water as necessary.
  • Roast the turkey uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove the turkey from oven and baste the turkey with the stock from the saucepan. Add more water to the bottom of the pan if needed to keep it at ¼-inch.
  • Continue cooking and basting the turkey every 30 minutes for about 4 hours until the internal temperature of the turkey registers at 165°. Transfer to a cutting board and the turkey let rest for 30 minutes before carving.
  • Serve with your favorite stuffing on the side.


*Note: If you are using a frozen turkey, make sure it is completely thawed
**Note: If there isn’t room in your refrigerator for such a large container, put the turkey and brine into a 5-gallon plastic brining bag, seal or tie shut then put the bagged bird into a cooler filled with ice, replenishing it as needed to keep the temperature at 40 degrees.