Slow-Cooked Turkey Marinated in Orange Peel, Rosemary and Pomegranate Molasses



Can. you. believe. it’s been four months since we’ve posted on MidEATS? I want to tell you that we have some fun plans for our readers in the coming months but I’ll keep my big mouth shut till everything is ironed out and we’re more ready to make legit announcements. For now, I’ll just make one teeny tiny announcement: starting in the new year, we’ll be adding some regular contributors! Wait for the details in the coming weeks, but if you have any thoughts before then, don’t hesitate to shoot us an email at mideats [at] gmail [dot] com.

Now that housekeeping is out of the way, I want to share a recipe with you all that I have been saving for literally a year. Since it’s Thanksgiving, it’s probably appropriate to post a turkey recipe, and since I like to stay on topic, that’s exactly what I have for you today: slow-cooked turkey … with a bunch of awesome flavors that go surprisingly well together. One of the flavors also happens to feature heavily in Middle Eastern cuisine, and to my luck, it meshes quite well with poultry dishes as well: pomegranate molasses. Last Thanksgiving, I wanted to experiment with Middle Eastern flavors in my turkey so I first thought of doing a sumac-based spice rub. Then, I couldn’t get my hands on sumac in time for Thanksgiving. Around the same time, I stumbled upon this wonderful recipe for slow-roasted pastured turkey from Jenny at Nourished Kitchen. I simply had to try it, even though I was at my parents and they thought I was crazy for keeping the oven on all night …

I had marinated the turkey for a few hours first in a citrusy-rosemary rub with a good amount of butter. I also used the creepy-looking injector kitchen tool (why do they make it look like a giant vaccine!?) to inject a marinade of lime juice and apple cider into the meat to make sure the zest reaches all the way through. Then, I roasted the turkey while I slept. If you’re wondering, it’s okay to keep the temperature pretty low — I followed Jenny’s recommendation to start at 225F, but didn’t increase to 375 towards the end because I didn’t find a need to do so (internal temperature of the turkey was over 185F). My parents retracted their reservations about the slow-cooking process when they tasted the bird — it was succulent, juicy, zesty and flavorful! Beaming with excitement, I set out to record my feat on MidEATS, but then got caught up with [something important] and didn’t get to actually put my thoughts together until now, a full year later!


This year, my parents are having several families over at our house, so Thanksgiving is actually more of an extravaganza than last year (my menu from last year is here). We’re making many of the tried-and-true dishes that we make at every Egyptian gathering, like stuffed grape leaves and kibbeh (meat and bulgur pie, in case you’re unfamiliar), but this year we’re getting inventive with some of the side dishes and desserts and including things like scalloped potatoes au gratin and an almost-raw apple pie with creamy vanilla-cardamom ice cream for dessert. Brenda’s menu (found on this MidEATS Facebook status) sounds super delicious too – can’t wait to see some of the recipes up on the blog!

So, here it is – the magnificent turkey recipe (Happy Thanksgiving!):

Slow-Cooked Turkey Marinated in Orange Peel, Rosemary and Pomegranate Molasses

by Heba

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 hours

Ingredients (15 servings for a 12-14 lb. turkey)

  • 1 12-14 lb. turkey (preferably pastured from a local farm, or at least raised without antibiotics)
For the zesty spice rub:
  • 1 stick of grass-fed clarified butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange zest (the peel of about 4 oranges)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 5 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 4 tablespoons fresh or dried rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons raw organic sugar (I use Rapadura)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1.5 tablespoons unrefined salt (I use Himalayan)

For the marinade (to be injected):

    • juice of 1.5 limes
    • 3/4 cup organic apple cider or freshly squeezed orange juice


(1) Prepare the turkey: Rinse the turkey under running water and rub with salt, including  the inside – within the cavity. Rinse the salt, and pat dry with a paper towel.

(2) Prepare the marinade: Squeeze 1.5 limes into a bowl and mix with 3/4 cup of apple cider or freshly squeezed orange juice. Fill turkey injector with marinade and inject into different parts of the turkey, making sure not to concentrate too much on one part over the rest.

(3) Prepare the zesty spice rub: Melt 1 stick of butter in a pan. In a bowl, add 1/4 cup of fresh orange peel, juice of half a lemon, 4 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses, 4 tablespoons of rosemary, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1.5 tablespoon of salt, and mix well to incorporate. Mix well with butter.

(4) Add spice rub to turkey: Spread spice rub all over the turkey, including within the cavity. Add a sliced orange in the cavity of the turkey along with extra rosemary and other herbs of your choice. Marinate at room temperature for 3-4 hours.

(5) Slow-cook the turkey: Preheat the turkey to 225F. Place the turkey in the oven and slow roast for ten hours, while covered securely with foil. Baste the turkey every now and then — about once in every 3 hour period. You may do this overnight as long as you have safe electric oven. After 8 hours of slow-roasting, check the internal temperature and make sure it has reached 185F. If it hasn’t, place the turkey once again into the oven for a couple of hours, and depending on your oven, you may wish to increase the temperature to 350F for the last 2 hours (I didn’t do this for the turkey I made). Let the turkey rest for an hour before carving and serving.


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