Dry Brined Turkey: You’ll Never Go Back!
After years of soaking our turkey overnight in a brine solution, I finally got wise and tried a new method. Dry brining is basically rubbing your bird with kosher salt and letting it rest in the fridge for 3 days. A couple massages, a flip upside down for the last day and a night uncovered is all that’s needed. Seriously, you’ll love this easy as pie preparation. You’ll just need to pick up and have your turkey thawed at least 3 days prior to roasting it.
Allot 3+ Days for Brining
I didn’t realize the meat market was closed on Monday last year, so I didn’t get the full 3 days of dry brining. This year, I’m better prepared. The turkey was still a show stopper. Crispy skin and moist, lightly salted meat. I actually roasted a 22-pound bird and half was eaten by the end of the day. It is amazing what two twenty-something sons can pack away. And the process was a piece of cake compared to filling a huge bag with a brine of water, salt, sugar and spices, lifting a slippery turkey into its bath and placing it in a cooler. Then if you happen to have a paranoid husband who is sure that raccoons will break into our cooler set on the patio overnight, you will also need to rig it so it is critter proof. I’m exhausted just thinking of our previous exploits. If you haven’t heard of dry brining, I think you’ll be delighted with the results if you give it a shot.
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- 16 pound turkey, defrosted, giblets removed (just adjust salt if using a different weight turkey)
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt (1 tablespoon for each 5 pounds of turkey)
- Herbs, optional (I used rosemary, thyme and bay leaves)
- 4-8 tablespoons melted butter, to baste
- Rinse and dry turkey. In a food processor, process salt plus about a tablespoon of any herbs you'd like to use (rosemary, thyme, bay).
- Lightly salt the inside of the turkey, then sprinkle the breast side with a bit more than a tablespoon of salt, and each side with a bit less than a tablespoon of salt. Place the turkey in an oven bag and remove the air before closing it with a twist tie. Place on rimmed baking sheet.
- Refrigerate for 3 days, starting breast side up, rubbing the skin through the bag once a day. Flip on day 3, then remove from bag to let skin dry 8 hours before roasting.
- Let sit at room temperature for one hour before roasting. Place on rack in roasting pan.
- Preheat oven to 425º, brush with melted butter and roast for 30 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 325º, cover top with foil if browning too fast and cook till turkey reaches desired temperature, basting as needed. May add some wine and chicken broth to bottom of roaster as needed.
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