Mojo-Braised Turkey Recipe | Wine Enthusiast Magazine
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Mojo-Braised Turkey

Courtesy Jason Goddard, Sea Salt, Naples, Florida

You want moist turkey? With Jason Goddard’s flavorful braising method—an annual favorite at his home—the meat literally falls off the bone.


1½ cups peeled garlic cloves
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
3 cups sour orange juice (or 1½ cups orange, ¾ cup lemon and ¾ cup lime juice)
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups sweet chili sauce (preferably Mae Ploy; available at Asian groceries)

For Turkey

1 18–20-pound turkey
2 cups Paul Prudhomme Magic Blackening Seasoning (or other paprika-based rub)
8 stalks celery, roughly chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sweet onions, roughly chopped
1 pound slab bacon, finely diced
½ cup peeled garlic cloves
6 sprigs rosemary
4 bay leaves


In food processor (and in batches, if necessary), blend marinade ingredients into coarse purée. In large non-metal container or leak-proof plastic bag, cover turkey in marinade (ideally, submerge). Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 450˚F. Remove turkey from marinade, and transfer to cutting board. Pour marinade into saucepan. Simmer over low heat.

Rub seasoning mix all over turkey. Set turkey breast-side up in very deep roasting or braising pan. Scatter celery, carrots, onions, bacon and garlic in roasting pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven. Add marinade, rosemary, bay leaves and rosemary and water (if necessary) so liquid reaches halfway up sides of pan. Cover with parchment paper, followed by two layers of aluminum foil, cinching foil to create airtight seal. Reduce heat to 225˚F. Cook turkey 4 hours. Using meat thermometer, check internal temperature of thigh. If temperature is least 160˚F, remove from oven. If not, raise heat to 400˚F and cook until turkey reaches 160˚F. (You can also cook uncovered at higher heat to crisp skin.) Let rest 20–40 minutes before serving.

Carve turkey. Serve with pan juices in place of gravy. Serves 1618.

Pair It

Occhipinti 2015 SP 68 Red (Terre Siciliane); $26; 91 points. 

Goddard suggests this light, bright red with the snappy, spicy turkey. A blend of Frappato (70 percent) and Nero d’Avola, it has the acidity to stand up to the citrus marinade, with a succulent palate of cherry, blackberry, star anise and ground pepper that plays well with the paprika, chili sauce and smoky bacon.

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