Mayonnaise-covered turkey

Yesterday at work my GF overheard a conversation during lunch regarding roasting a turkey, and one of her coworkers, a woman originally from Georgia and very southern, was explaining her method of covering the turkey in 1/2 inch of mayonnaise before roasting. Everybody was aghast, but the woman was quite surprised and stated that she thought everyone did this.

At first it sounds repellant, but given some thought I guess it’s not really much different than covering it in butter; it’s all just fat.

Has anyone here ever heard of this? Ever done it? How does it come out?

Never heard of it. I assume it would make the skin crisp up better?

I was thinking the opposite of pulykamell. A thin coating of butter or canola oil will help the skin get brown and crispy. A half inch of mayo? I don’t see how that would help. It seems like it (the mayo) would just get scorched and gross.

Heard of it, never done it. It’s similar to basting grilled chicken with white BBQ sauce, but obviously not as thin. The idea is that people who like to baste their bird don’t have to keep opening the oven door. It’s just like smearing butter all over it, but really doesn’t do much for the meat itself. Pretty bird, though.

No, it basically melts. It browns the bird very nicely, I’m told.

Mayo is just an emulsion of eggs and oil. I routinely make salmon coated with mayp and lemon pepper, and it works well.

Found this recipe. Good looking bird.

Not willing to waste a turkey on it, but it might we worth experimenting with a chicken.

I printed out the recipe from Gaffa’s post. This looks beautiful! Thank you.

Doesn’t need to be 1/2 inch thick, just a generous coating. Mayo is not only fat (egg yokes and some kind of oil) but also has a lot of salt (sodium), all of these things promote a nice crust. The hot setup is to use the mayo as a vehicle to evenly dispense other flavors. You can mix pepper and all manner of herbs into the mayo prior to slathering the bird. I like tarragon and chervil. After the initial roast, you still want to cover (shield) the breast with aluminum foil to avoid overcooking of the white meat.

Damn, now I’m hungry.

Hmm, I was grossed out at first, but now I’m a little intrigued.
As **gaffa **says:

I have some chicken thighs in the freezer. I think I’ll try it when I thaw it.

When I liven in Alaska a buddy was a fishing guide on the Kenai out of Soldatna. He brought home a big halibut from Homer and that’s how he fixed it for us, laid flat, covered with mayonaise and baked in the oven. It kept it moist and didn’t overwhelm the natural flavor. Delish!

I had a similar reaction to a commercial for Duke’s Mayonnaise. They recommended using it in your cake mix to make it moist. At first I was appalled - mayonnaise in cake mix? Then I realized it is just eggs and oil.

Well, vinegar and/or lemon juice, too. Sometimes some kind of mustard, but usually not in the mass-market ones. But I guess there’s not enough vinegar and other seasonings to make it taste “off” in a cake. I’ve had those mayo cakes, and I wouldn’t have known had I not been told.

I have a recipe for chocolate mayo cake. It doesn’t taste anything like mayo and you can leave it uncovered for days and it won’t dry out.

Many things in life are like that.

The advantage I see is that the emulsion will hold the spices in place as it cooks, as opposed to the liquid of a typical basting which slides off and causes you to keep opening the oven. I’d probably make a special batch of mayo for this project with a higher percentage of olive oil than the 1/8th olive oil 7/8th vegetable oil mixture I usually use.

Good time to share my mayo making technique:

3 eggs. You’ll use two yolks and one whole egg. Older eggs work better than fresher to make thick mayo.

2 cups of oil. As mentioned above, I usually use 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 3/4 cups vegetable oil.

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

5 tablespoons lemon juice

Pinch salt

Pour about 1/4 cup of the oil mixture into the blender. This is to coat the blender blades, protect the eggs and start the emulsion. Add the two egg yolks and one whole egg, lemon juice, mustard and salt. Blend on high speed for a minute with the lid on the blender. Then, open the small port on top of the blender and start slowly adding the rest of the oil. At some point, the mayo will thicken so much that it won’t blend well and a pocket will form around the blades. Stop the blender and stir with a spatula, scraping the sides. Re-start and continue until all the oil is blended in.

I can’t remember where my wife and I discovered this technique, but it works perfectly. I’ve never had the emulsion break or fail. I started doing this because I love mayo, but don’t want all the sugar that American mayos are loaded with

I’m going elsewhere for Thursday, but still making my own turkey this weekend, and I am so making this. It looks delicious.

I do it every year. It’s wonderful. 1/2" seems a bit much though…

First I season the bird with a blend of kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and smaller amounts of marjoram, crushed sage and basil.

I drape a single ply of cheesecloth over the main body and meatiness of the drumsticks, then basically rub the whole thing down with mayo so it sticks to the bird. Just enough that you can still see the weave of the cheesecloth, but it should be well-adhered all around. Then another sprinkle of the seasoning blend I mentioned above.

The bird itself is on a rack in the pan, and I put 2-3 cups of water in the bottom. I start basting regularly about every 30-45 minutes and try to saturate the cloth all over.
The cloth is the secret, in my experience. It ensures that all the bird receives an even coating, and causes the seasoning to stay in place nicely. And most importantly, as you baste it holds moisture for quite a while longer, rather than running off the skin as it crisps. I remove the cloth when the bird hits around 170 or 175 in the deep breast, usually about 75 minutes before it’s done proper.

Surprisingly, the cloth peels off quite easily (as long as you’re not cooking too hot) and leaves a beautiful golden brown bird. I follow the Joy of Cooking times and temps per pound religiously.

I have to think hard about anything that doesn’t improve with the addition of mayo.


I was reading this thread and said to my mother “can you believe people put mayo on their turkey”

She said
“I do”

I guess that’s what I will be having on Thursday.

How do the flavors added to the mayo penetrate the skin of the bird? I’ve always heard that basting, etc just flavors the skin, and not the meat, which is why brining is so popular.

I was going to brine our turkey, but my wife bought one of those that contains “up to 8% solution” blah blah blah and now I’m afraid that brine will over-salt it.