Thanksgiving Turkey: Pavochon
Prep time: 
Total time: 
This is how Thanksgiving turkey is done in Puerto Rico. It's called pavochon, pavo meaning turkey and chon from lechon meaning pig, because it is seasoned like you would season a roast pig.
Basic seasoning per 1 lb of turkey*
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 peppercorn
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 whole turkey
  • 2 large onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 12 oz bottle beer
  1. Rise and clean turkey, removing neck & gizzards, pat dry.
  2. Combine all seasoning ingredients in a food processor, pulse until garlic is minced and well combined.
  3. Using your fingers and a rubber spatula gently separate the skin from the breast, legs, and thighs of the turkey. Rub the seasoning under the skin and in the cavity of the turkey. Drizzle the skin of the turkey with olive oil and rub it all over. Tuck the wings back behind the bird. Cut a small slit into each side of the excess skin at the front of the turkey's cavity. Tuck the legs crossed through the slits. Place turkey in roasting pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  5. Remove turkey from the refrigerator and flip the turkey breast side down. Use the onion halves to stabilize the turkey. Pour beer into the roasting pan and cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Roast in the oven until the temperature is taken at the thigh reads 165 degrees (refer to the chart below for approx. time), 30 minutes before it is done uncover, using two clean kitchen towels flip the turkey breast side up, drizzle breast with olive oil and return to oven.
  6. When done remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Carve and pick the meat off the turkey, return to juices and serve.
  8. Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
  9. Turkey Weight / Hours
  10. to 8 lbs / 2.5 to 3 hrs
  11. to 12 lbs / 3 to 4 hrs
  12. to 16 lbs / 4 to 5 hrs
  13. to 20 lbs / 5 to 5.5 hrs
  14. to 24 lbs / 5.5 to 6 hrs
Multiply seasoning ingredients by pounds of turkey

Reserve turkey neck and giblets pouch for dressing.

Allow up to 2 days to defrost the turkey in the refrigerator.

Adapted from Cocina Criolla
Recipe by The Noshery at