If you are interested in how to dry brine a turkey, please read the next post on what the experts say to do. The following is an account of how it all turned out for me.
The dry turkey brine experiment this year was a total success, and I will be repeating it at Christmas. Every Thanksgiving I wet-brine (some say this is redundant) my turkey, and it has always turned out very moist and flavorful.
Prior to Thanksgiving this year, I kept reading about the much easier dry-brine method and decided I just had to try it. This is a symptom of my basic personality which is “If something is working for me, do it differently to make things hard on myself.” Luckily, this turned out great because it was sooooo much easier.
Even though some of the dry-brine experts recommend 4 days with the salt on the bird, I started my 14-pound turkey at 10:00 pm on Tuesday night. All I did was place the clean bird breast side down in a Ziploc Large Big Bag, sprinkled 3 tablespoons of kosher salt all over the cleaned and dried turkey, squeezed out the air, and sealed the bag. That’s it. I did not rub the salt into the bird at any point in the process. Slacker alert!
At noon on Wednesday, I flipped the bird breast side up – didn’t even open the bag, just smushed it around. Fun! Then, at 7:00 on Thanksgiving morning I removed the turkey from the bag, rinsed it, placed it in a pan, and patted it dry with paper towels. My turkey went back in the fridge on a pan uncovered to dry out until 1:30 PM, when I removed it to rest on the counter. Note: change up these times to allow 6 – 8 hours of drying-out time in the fridge if you eat earlier in the day.
By 2:30 pm, the turkey was trussed, rubbed with canola oil, and on the v-rack in the roasting pan. In the picture above, you’ll notice I start the turkey breast side down.
Also, I realize my trussing technique might be for the birds, but here’s how to really truss a turkey properly if you are a purist. Two hours and twenty minutes later, when the digital thermometer registered 165 degrees in the breast, the turkey was done.
Our turkey this year was the best, ever. The skin was perfectly browned and crisp and the meat was moist and flavored perfectly throughout. I can’t recommend this dry-brining technique highly enough, and I may not wet-brine again. Alton, please forgive me!