Puerto Rican Adobo for a Flavorful Holiday Bird

A great holiday deserves a tasty turkey.A great holiday deserves a tasty turkey.A family rub recipe that will infuse great, Latin flavor into your holiday table.

I come from a long family line of meat-cooking greats: from my Tío Marcelo and his restaurant featuring a delicious Christmas fire-roasted pork, to my brother-in-law Brad who's an ace at cooking an authentic Puerto Rican Thanksgiving turkey. But no self-respecting Boricua will ever cook meat that has not been carefully and thoroughly seasoned beforehand. The whole idea of putting a "plain" turkey or a roast in an oven could send my family into gasps of horror. ¿A quién se le ocurre comer una carne sin adobar? (Or, who could even think of eating meat without seasoning it?)

Serve this amazing cilantro and plantain soup to begin your holiday dinner

So, with so many good cooks in the family, it becomes a bit hard to decide who has the better rub recipe. No one can argue, though, that my uncle Peter knows his stuff when it comes to pre-seasoning and cooking a great, holiday bird. I sat down to rack his brain (and try to get more exact measurements than "a shake here and a shake there") in order to get his famous adobo recipe. I can't wait to try it on my own turkey this year!

Adobo for turkey
Adobo GoyaAdobo Goya(for a 20 lb. bird)

1/4 cup salt
1/8 cup Adobo Goya (sin pimienta)*
1/8 cup ground black pepper
1/4 cup ground oregano
2 cups olive oil
4 packets Sazón Goya con culantro y achiote*
1 head of garlic, peeled and mashed
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 packages of bacon strips

*You can find these items in the Hispanic food aisle of your favorite supermarket.


Pre-heat the oven following the cooking instructions that accompany the turkey. (My uncle pre-heats the oven at 350 degrees).

Mix everything (except the bacon) in a bowl. Rinse the thawed turkey under cold water, and pat it dry. Make sure to remove the bag of turkey giblets from the cavity. Place the turkey in the pan you'll be cooking it in.

Carefully separate the skin from the meat without removing it completely. Take a meat knife, and make tiny incisions all over the turkey's breast and quarters underneath the skin. Sazón Goya Sazón Goya

With clean hands, take the adobo mix and rub the turkey meat, making sure every incision and the cavity is well-covered with the mixture. Return the skin back to its original position, and pour the rest of the adobo over the turkey skin.

Take the bacon strips, and cover the turkey completely, making sure you also place 2-3 strips inside the cavity. Cover with aluminum foil, and cook the turkey following the bird's packaging instructions. Tío Peter cooks his turkey for 1-2 hours and then starts checking until the meat thermometer reads 180 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh. Carve, serve and enjoy!

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