Dry Brined Turkey
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. You don’t have to fight mobs of people in the cold to get someone a gift, there are no irritating carols being sung (self-proclaimed grinch here), and you get to make so much delicious, amazing food.
Now let me be real straight here about turkey… Turkey is a dry, tough bird. It is not ever going to be as delicious as we are told it will be and that is why we serve it smothered in gravy with a multitude of buttery sides. It does have great flavor and you can cook it to have incredibly crispy skin. And darn it if you’re going to spend all that time and money on a bird, it ought to come out the best it can be.
So what can you do? I hear a lot of people say “Oh maybe I should brine it.” And then they don’t because either they are intimidated by brining or they don’t have the fridge space to soak a 20lb bird in water for three days.
But a dry brine just might solve all your problems! You literally mix salt and whatever spices you want together, rub it on the bird and let the bird sit for up to three days. The salt will act as it would in a wet brine and help hold the bird’s moisture in, and it also gives you the most amazing, crispy skin!
I like to cut my turkey in two halves. Believe it or not, the halves may cook at different speeds and this will save you from having an overcooked or undercooked half a bird and it cuts your cook time in half. It also still looks pretty if the presentation of the bird is your thing and it’s waaaay easier to carve and takes up less fridge and oven space. For extra oven space, use vegetables as a roasting rack! They’ll soak up the yummy turkey drippings and be ready to go when the turkey is.
And if you do nothing else, get an instant-read thermometer and temp the bird every time you baste it. Overcooking is the easiest way to dry out your Thanksgiving turkey and a $12 thermometer can make all the difference.