Dry Brined Turkey

 In Dinner, Gluten Free, Thanksgiving, 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.

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Dry Brined Turkey

Difficulty: Medium

Yield: 6-10 Servings
Prep Time: 72 hours
Cook Time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 10 lb Turkey
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons Softened Butter

Directions:

Note: You may leave the turkey whole if desired but it will add to your cook time. See below the recipe for cook times for a whole bird and other troubleshooting.

Finely chop 1 Tablespoon of the rosemary and mix with the salt and pepper. Remove the giblets from the turkey and save for stock. Place the bird on a cutting board and, using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut out the backbone. Save the backbone with the giblets.

Flip the bird over and cut down one side of the breastbone so your turkey is in two separate halves. The breastbone is thicker and might require a knife and a firm hand. To avoid tearing the skin, use a sharp knife and cut the skin before you try to cut through the bone.

Pat the bird very dry with paper towels. Rub on all sides and in all crevices with the salt mixture, you may not need to use it all, just use as much as you want to season the bird.

Loosely cover the bird with plastic wrap and place on a sheet pan in the fridge for at least 12 hours and up to three days. At least four hours before cooking, take the plastic wrap off the turkey and let it dry out in the fridge.

If you have the counter space, take the bird out of the fridge an hour or two before roasting. Ideally, you’ll want to let the bird come to room temperature before roasting but this is not a necessary step.

When ready to cook preheat the oven to 450 Fahrenheit. Roast the bird uncovered over chopped vegetables or on a roasting rack for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile finely chop the other Tablespoon of rosemary and mix it into the softened butter. Baste the bird with the butter after 30 minutes and check it’s temperature. Check both halves, one half may cook faster than the other. Roast an additional 30 minutes to an hour, basting and temping every 30 minutes to avoid overcooking.

The bird is done when it reaches 165 Fahrenheit. Let it rest UNCOVERED for 20 minutes before carving. Enjoy!

 Here is a list of the tools you’ll need to complete this recipe. If you don’t have these already, you can click on the photo and purchase it on Amazon.

  • Chefs Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Roasting Pan
  • Basting Brush
  • Sheet Pan
  • Instant Read Thermometer

We keep Cleaver Cooking in business through affiliate links that you see here and we get a small percentage when you purchase an item through our links.
We do our best to recommend quality products but please note that not all products have been tested and we can’t guarantee your satisfaction.
If you already own similar items feel free to use those tools instead.

Recipe:

Dry Brined Turkey

Difficulty: Medium

Yield: 6-10 Servings
Prep Time: 72 hours
Cook Time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 10 lb Turkey
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons Softened Butter

Directions:

Note: You may leave the turkey whole if desired but it will add to your cook time. See below the recipe for cook times for a whole bird and other troubleshooting.

Finely chop 1 Tablespoon of the rosemary and mix with the salt and pepper. Remove the giblets from the turkey and save for stock. Place the bird on a cutting board and, using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut out the backbone. Save the backbone with the giblets.

Flip the bird over and cut down one side of the breastbone so your turkey is in two separate halves. The breastbone is thicker and might require a knife and a firm hand. To avoid tearing the skin, use a sharp knife and cut the skin before you try to cut through the bone.

Pat the bird very dry with paper towels. Rub on all sides and in all crevices with the salt mixture, you may not need to use it all, just use as much as you want to season the bird.

Loosely cover the bird with plastic wrap and place on a sheet pan in the fridge for at least 12 hours and up to three days. At least four hours before cooking, take the plastic wrap off the turkey and let it dry out in the fridge.

If you have the counter space, take the bird out of the fridge an hour or two before roasting. Ideally, you’ll want to let the bird come to room temperature before roasting but this is not a necessary step.

When ready to cook preheat the oven to 450 Fahrenheit. Roast the bird uncovered over chopped vegetables or on a roasting rack for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile finely chop the other Tablespoon of rosemary and mix it into the softened butter. Baste the bird with the butter after 30 minutes and check it’s temperature. Check both halves, one half may cook faster than the other. Roast an additional 30 minutes to an hour, basting and temping every 30 minutes to avoid overcooking.

The bird is done when it reaches 165 Fahrenheit. Let it rest UNCOVERED for 20 minutes before carving. Enjoy!

Tools You'll Need

 Here is a list of the tools you’ll need to complete this recipe. If you don’t have these already, you can click on the photo and purchase it on Amazon.

  • Chefs Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Roasting Pan
  • Basting Brush
  • Sheet Pan
  • Instant Read Thermometer

We keep Cleaver Cooking in business through affiliate links that you see here and we get a small percentage when you purchase an item through our links.
We do our best to recommend quality products but please note that not all products have been tested and we can’t guarantee your satisfaction.
If you already own similar items feel free to use those tools instead.

Tools to help you get the job done!
For a full list click on Tools You’ll Need at the top of the recipe card.

Learn the Lingo & Pro Tips

Dry Brined Turkey 8 Servings 1 10 lb Turkey 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper 2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary 2 Tablespoons Softened Butter
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