My brother owns an Italian deli and grocery store in the St. Pete, Florida area. There you can get a giant, overstuffed sandwich on homemade bread for a great price. We were talking about making roast beef and turkey in house to set him apart from the competition. I decided to experiment and see what I could come up with.

I chose to begin with turkey as it’s pretty much America’s go to for a sandwich. I’ve had “in store” roasted turkey at other delis or grocery stores, but always find them to be dry and flavorless. I did some research on techniques and recipes because I wanted to replicate what you get in the deli as closely as I could, but without any junk like artificial preservatives or flavors.  I planned to tailor the recipe to what I wanted by using some ideas that I had floating around in my head from reading about charcuterie and curing.

I found a recipe from Bon Appétit’s website,, that was very close to what I was looking for. I changed up the flavors for the dry rub and cooking method, which you will find below.  It was a great jumping off point, and I was was happy to find it.

In addition to the turkey breast and dry rub, you’ll need kitchen twine, plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

Herb Roasted Deli Turkey

1- 2 1/2-3 lb boneless turkey breast with the skin on
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, dried basil, dried dillweed
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon sugar

Pat turkey breast dry with paper towels. Cut several lengths of twine which will be used to tie the turkey breast after seasoning. (If you’re an expert butcher, you’ll be able to use a single length of twine to tie up your turkey- I haven’t mastered that yet!)

Mix salt, pepper, dried herbs and sugar together in a small bowl.

Rub the turkey all over with the dry rub. Use all the rub.

Roll the turkey up, making sure the skin is facing outward, and tie. I basically overlapped both ends- envelope style and tied from there.

Wrap the turkey breast tightly in plastic wrap. I used 2 layers to help prevent any juice from leaking out while the turkey breast relaxed in the fridge for a day.

Place the wrapped turkey onto a plate (to catch any liquid that might leak out) and place in the fridge for 24 hrs.

Remove turkey from the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before you want to roast.

Preheat your over to 275 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by placing a rack in it or use a roasting pan with a rack.

Leaving the plastic wrap on, wrap the turkey in 3 layers of aluminum foil.

Roast the turkey for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. I didn’t want to make a hole in its cocoon with a thermometer as I wanted to keep all the moisture inside.  The turkey will feel firm when it’s cooked through. You can definitely use and instant read thermometer to ensure that the turkey has reached 155 degrees.  It will continue to cook once removed from the oven and will climb to and internal temp of 165.

Remove from the oven and allow the turkey to cool on the counter for about an hour. Place the still fully wrapped turkey breast on a plate and put in the fridge for 12-24 hours. This will allow the juice to reabsorb and keep the turkey juicy.

When ready to use, remove from the fridge and wrap. You can remove the skin at this point if you’d like.  Slice as thinly and use to build your favorite sandwich.

tureky breast

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