Herb & Garlic Turkey Thighs

middle eastern grilled turkey - 1

I adapted this recipe for Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken (from the New York Times) for turkey thighs, because that’s what I had. They had bones (I like bones) and I left the skin on. The skin made a handy place to stuff a bit of the very flavorful marinade.

Two turkey thighs weigh about the same as the 6 chicken thighs specified in the Times recipe. You will need to cook turkey thighs quite a bit longer but sometimes it’s a nice change from chicken. I’m a big fan of turkey, Thanksgiving or not.

The yogurt sauce is a tasty addition but it’s quite delicious without it. I have rearranged the ingredient list to make it easier to make the turkey without making the sauce.

Aleppo red pepper is my go-to finishing red pepper. It adds some not-too-hot fruity spice. I like it much better than crushed red pepper flakes which are much hotter.

Herb & Garlic Turkey Thighs
(serves 4-6)

2 turkey thighs, bone-in and with skin (about 2 pounds)

5 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 Tablespoons white sesame seeds

Yogurt Sauce:
1 7 oz. container Greek 2% yogurt
zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

juice of 1 lemon
Aleppo red pepper (a light sprinkle or more if you like it spicy)
more fresh herbs (optional)

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Place the turkey thighs in a glass baking that will hold them both in a single layer. Carefully separate the skin from the flesh of the thighs so that that you have a pocket under the skin. You want the skin to stay attached to the thighs. Stuff 1/3 of the marinade under the skin and pour the remaining marinade over the thighs, making sure to cover evenly. Marinate in the refrigerator for about 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Heat up the grill so that one part is set to high and another part is set to low. You will start the turkey over the low part to brown up the skin, then turn that side off to finish the thighs only with indirect heat.

When the grill reaches 400°F, place the turkey thighs, skin side down on the cooler part of the grill. Cook until skin is browned, then flip. Brown other side. Turn off flame (or move turkey to a section with no coals) and continue cooking on indirect heat for about an hour until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove thighs from heat and cover while you make the yogurt sauce, if using.

Combine yogurt, lemon zest, garlic, a healthy pinch of salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.

To serve, sprinkle thighs with lemon juice, Aleppo red pepper, more herbs (if desired), and a dollop of yogurt sauce.


Author: worldplatterblog

I blog about food, travel, and anything else tangentially related to food that piques my interest. I have a degree in Culinary Arts and in Operations Research (it's math). That means I'm pretty analytical and love science, but I also love art. Food is a strange place where science intersects art in continually changing ways. I love writing about all of it.

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