The absolutely best Thanksgiving turkey recipe. Ever.


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How do we know when it’s Thanksgiving in the L.A. Times Test Kitchen? Well, there are the holiday dishes being tested by Test Kitchen Manager Noelle Carter.

And then there are the hundreds of requests for copies of ‘the Judy Bird’ recipe.


This recipe is a hands-down favorite with readers and won first place in our turkey showdown a few years ago. The secret is in the simple technique: dry-brine and roast, no stuffing, just dry-brine and roast. And it all leads to turkey nirvana: a bird that is moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. But don’t take my word for it. Each year at about this time, L.A. Times Food Editor Russ Parsons’ e-mail in-box gets clogged up with those ‘Judy bird’ recipe requests. He gets so many questions about it that he wrote this FAQ on the ‘Judy Bird,’ which is the only recipe in L.A. Times Food section history to spur its own ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ sidebar.

Finally, click here to check out dozens more of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen, or go to

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch