Paleo Thanksgiving Turkey

OK, so I know Thanksgiving is almost a week behind us, but I have pounds and pounds of leftover turkey to eat, and I needed to post this recipe. This was my first attempt at making a full turkey, and I was blown away with the result! There is quite a lot to share...

If I focused on the positives, I would tell you that:

  • It tasted amazing
  • It wasn't dry at all
  • I carved it like a pro
  • My dinner guests raved about it
  • The house smelled amazing all day

If I focused on the negatives, I would explain that:

  • I dropped a huge glass bottle of olive oil on the floor when I was elbow-deep in turkey
  • I probably need 5 years of therapy to offset my discovery of the 7 inch neck inside the turkey
  • I sweat as much carving this turkey as I do in my hardest WOD

Clearly the positives outweigh the negatives, and I will definitely be excited (and more prepared) to make another turkey next year! Best of luck to all the first-timers out there!


  • 16 lb. defrosted turkey (get a pastured turkey from your local farm if possible!)
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 4 lemons, cut into wedges
  • Sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, and basil


Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Make sure your turkey is fully defrosted, and then remove it from the package 

Time to clean the turkey - if you have disposable rubber gloves, put them on! (wish I could say that I had some...)

Thoroughly rinse the turkey (inside and out) with water. You may find a bag of giblets, a 7+ inch neck, and other surprises, so remain calm, and save those pieces for later (soup, gravy, etc.) or immediately throw them out so you don't have to think about it (my choice)

When the turkey is cleaned, empty, and trimmed of any strange things (veins, excess skin, etc.), put the turkey in a roasting pan. I highly recommend buying a disposable foil pan to save with post-turkey cleanup. 

Generously rub the whole turkey with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and then cover it with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, and basil.

Put all of the lemon wedges and the bunch of rosemary into the center of the turkey.

Bake for 4 hours (15 minutes/pound), basting every 30 minutes. Flip the turkey after two hours so both sides get a nice golden brown color.

Take the turkey out of the oven, cover tightly with foil, and then let it sit for 30 minutes.

Carve like your uncle taught you!

Note: Since there was no real sauce or heavy marinade, there was next to no juice to baste the turkey with after the first 30 minutes. I re-brushed some oil and vinegar on the outside to keep it moist. By the second round of basting, there was plenty of liquid from the lemons and the natural juices from the turkey.