How to Dry Brine a Turkey
Whether you choose to brine your turkey or not is completely up to you. I choose to brine my turkey every year and found this method to give me the juiciest and best overall taste. That’s why I’d like to tell you how to dry brine a turkey so you can make this beautiful bird for your holiday meal!
- Turkey, 12-16 pounds (frozen is fine)
- Kosher Salt (1 Tablespoon for every pound of turkey)
- Herbs, spices and seasonings
- Melted butter or stock for basting
- Remove the turkey from its packaging and rinse it inside and out, and pat it dry. Be sure to remove any internal pieces (neck, liver, etc) and reserve for gravy or stuffing.
- In a small bowl, combine the salt along with any herbs or seasonings you prefer. Combine well.
- Sprinkle your salt/seasoning mix along the inside of the turkey, and then on the top, focusing on the breast meat where it’s thickest.Flip the turkey over and do the same along the backside, making sure to season in the joints and wings.
- Place the turkey inside a turkey oven bag (the kind you would roast the bird in) and seal tightly, removing as much air as possible. Tie the bag shut and place the bag in a pan to avoid leaks. Refrigerate the turkey, breast side up, for 2 days.
- Flip the bird so it’s breast side down for 1 day.
- The night before it’s to be cooked, remove the turkey from the bag and place on a plate or platter (breast side up) uncovered in the fridge overnight.
- Place the turkey on the counter for 1 hour before cooking.Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Place your bird on a rack in the roasting pan and baste with the melted butter or stock, then turn the turkey breast side down while it bakes for 30 minutes.
- Remove the turkey from the rack and flip onto it’s back, then lower the heat to 325 to finish cooking; the thermometer should read 165 degrees in the deepest part of the thigh.
- Pull the pan from the oven and make a tent with foil over top, and allow to cool for 30 minutes before carving.
- The drippings tend to be salty, so have extra stock on hand to use if you make gravy with the pan juices
- You do not baste the bird while it’s cooking; it’s best to keep the oven shut except for when you’re testing for done-ness
- Total cooking time can vary, but our 15 pound bird normally takes around 3.5 hours from start to finish
- I like to stuff onions, carrots and celery inside the turkey for extra flavor while it cooks
- Consider flavor combinations like garlic and rosemary or dill and lemon zest!
- When you’re flipping the turkey after the first 30 minutes, I find it easiest to use clean kitchen towels to cover your hands