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From Old Traditions to Old Bay Turkey

Dining Services Chef Offers Unusual Recipes to Try This Year

By Karen Shih ’09

Silhouette of a turkey on a Maryland flag background

Illustration by iStock

Maybe your favorite is buttery mashed potatoes, heaped on your plate to serve as a bed for everything else on the Thanksgiving table. Or a turkey leg you can’t wait to gnaw on like you’re at the Renaissance Festival. Or maybe all you want is dessert: pumpkin pie, apple pie, sweet potato pie—any slice to send you into your weekend food coma.

But as you get ready to gather with friends and family after last year’s pandemic-interrupted holidays, University of Maryland Dining Services Executive Chef Michael Norman wants you to consider a more Maryland-themed meal for your Thanksgiving table.

“Being an implant from Louisiana, my traditions have morphed with my experiences as a child and as an adult in this area,” said Norman, who will be making both of the dishes below this week.

He offers two recipes—including one featuring a Maryland staple, Old Bay seasoning—to try out on Thursday.

Bayou Fried Turkey with Old Bay and Tarragon Compound Butter


For the turkey:

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 14-pound turkey, washed and dried, giblets removed
  • 2 3/4 gallons peanut oil, for frying

For the compound butter:

  • 2 pounds European-style butter (If European-style butter, which is higher in butterfat and typically sold in 1-pound blocks, can't be found, regular butter can be substituted)
  • 1/2 pound fresh tarragon
  • 1 clove roasted garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning


  1. After measuring the amount of oil needed for the deep-fryer, dry the turkey well, inside and out, before proceeding.
  2. Mix the smoked paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper and thyme together in a bowl. Sprinkle the spice rub inside the cavity of the turkey and on the skin. Separate the skin from the breast meat and massage the rub onto the meat with your hands. Put the turkey on a large sheet tray and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
  3. Fill the electric deep-fryer with peanut oil and preheat to 400°F. It will take about 1 hour for the oil to come to temperature.
  4. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
  5. Once the oil is hot and the turkey is at room temperature, very carefully lower the turkey into the hot oil. Make sure the oil maintains its temperature while frying. Fry the turkey until the skin is dark golden brown and crisp, or until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 155°F on an instant-read thermometer, roughly 45 minutes. Carefully remove the turkey from the oil and let it rest and drain on a wire rack, about 30 minutes. The internal temperature will rise to 165°F while resting.
  6. In a food processor combine the European-style butter, Old Bay seasoning, fresh tarragon and peeled roasted garlic.
  7. Spread butter mixture on a parchment paper, roll and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  8. Slice the compound butter into half-inch slices.
  9. Transfer the turkey to a serving platter, top with sliced butter and serve.

Cornbread Stuffing with Steamed Shrimp and Smoked Sausage


For the cornbread and sausage:

  • 2 cups self-rising cornmeal
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pound sliced smoked sausage
  • 3/4 pound butter (3 sticks total; 1 stick softened for the cornbread)
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 4-5 stalks chopped celery
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 8 green onions, white and green parts chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 8 eggs

For the shrimp:

  • 2 pounds of deveined fresh shrimp
  • 1 boiling bag
  • 1/2 pound butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest


  1. For cornbread: Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine cornmeal and flour in a bowl and 1 stick of softened butter, vegetable oil, buttermilk and 4 eggs in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  2. Pour batter into a greased 13x9 baking dish and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. In a large bowl, crumble corn bread, then set aside.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat, add sausage. Brown for 5 minutes, then remove from pan, leaving some of the drippings. Add the butter and let melt. Add the chicken bouillon, celery and onion and cook until translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add the green onions, garlic and parsley. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  4. Pour vegetable and sausage mixture over crumbled cornbread. Add chicken stock, stir to combine, then add salt and pepper to taste. In a separate bowl, lightly beat 4 eggs along with a little bit of the cornbread mixture.
  5. Add eggs to cornbread/sausage mixture, then pour everything into a 13x9 greased baking dish. Bake at 350°F until dressing is cooked through, about 45-60 minutes.
  6. In the boiling bag, add the shrimp, butter and fresh garlic. Boil in a pot of hot water for approximately 7 minutes.
  7. After the dressing is fully cooked, let stand for 10 minutes. Then empty the contents of the boiling bag over the dressing, sprinkle lemon zest and serve.


Schools & Departments:

Dining Services

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