Pavochón: Puerto Rican Roasted Turkey Recipe

roasted turkey in pan
Michael Pohuski / Photolibrary / Getty Images
  • 3 hrs
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Ratings (34)

Roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving in the manner of lechón (suckling pig) has been a tradition in Puerto Rico since the island became an American commonwealth and adopted the holiday. The word pavochón is a combination of the Spanish word for turkey, pavo, and the word lechón.

On the Spanish speaking Caribbean islands, the meat of choice for the holidays is roasted suckling pork. So it only makes sense to combine the tradition of the islands with an American tradition and serve turkey that is reminiscent of roasted pork for Thanksgiving. This flavorful recipe will go over well with the most discriminating of tastes.

What You'll Need

  • 1 head of garlic (cloves separated and peeled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 Tablespoons adobo
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 14-pound turkey

How to Make It

  1. Mash the garlic cloves and salt into a paste using a pilòn (mortar and pestle).
  2. Add the peppercorns and adobo and crush the ingredients into the paste.
  3. Stir in the olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
  4. Rub the mixture under the turkey’s skin, inside the cavities, and then rub the rest of the mixture on top of the skin.
  5. Roast the turkey according to the manufacturer’s recommended time and temperature. A 14 to ​16-pound turkey will take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to cook.
    Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
    Calories 876
    Total Fat 30 g
    Saturated Fat 5 g
    Unsaturated Fat 10 g
    Cholesterol 403 mg
    Sodium 4,169 mg
    Carbohydrates 35 g
    Dietary Fiber 2 g
    Protein 113 g
    (The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)