This dry brine turkey gets blanketed in a salt and sugar rub overnight and is then rinsed and roasted until golden. The result? Perfectly moist and tender turkey. No basting required.
It’s hard not to love the tender juiciness that brining a turkey coaxes into existence. But it’s not hard to feel daunted by the thought of finding a large enough container to hold all that brine plus a bird and somehow make space for that in your fridge which is already crammed full. Try this nifty little trick. It’s known as dry brining. And as the name implies, it achieves the same tremendous effects as regular wet brining but with virtually no effort, fuss, or fridge overwhelm.
As to why dry brining works, it’s a little complicated and has to do with stuff you learned in seventh-grade science class. But even if you don’t understand it, what you will understand, in the words of the recipe’s author and in our experience, is the reaction you’ll get from guests when I serve this bird. Hands-down, it’s the best turkey they’ll have ever eaten. It’s turkey magic.–Angie Zoobkoff
*What Kind Of Salt Do I Use To Brine?
It is absolutely critical that you use kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal brand, for this dry brine turkey recipe. Trust us. Regular salt is too fine and will permeate the fibers of the turkey and you’ll be unable to rinse it off, ruining your centerpiece.
Dry Brine Turkey
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 D, 4 H
- Serves 8 to 10
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Recipe Testers Reviews
I’m very happy I invited company over to try this recipe because it was amazing. The turkey was perfectly seasoned and incredibly juicy with a gorgeous, crisp skin.
I coated a 12.8-lb Butterball in the dry brine mixture for 24 hours. Since I used Morton’s sea salt, I weighed out 270 g. There was some brine left over, but my turkey was on the small side, so I think the recommended amount is perfect.
There was no specification about placing any brine inside the turkey cavity, so I just sprinkled a little bit in there. I followed the rest of the recipe, using both sage and thyme, and then placed the turkey in the lower third of my oven. Initially, the lack of basting instructions puzzled and confused me. I checked on the turkey after 90 minutes and it was browning nicely. I loitered around the kitchen for another 90 minutes, continuously peering through the oven window as I was quite sure the turkey would begin to look dry. After 3 hours, the turkey was a gorgeous bronze color and perfectly cooked. I removed the turkey from the oven and covered loosely with foil for one hour. I grew up in a one-oven home, so this hour was standard because we needed to cook all the side dishes after removing the bird from the oven.
I served it with my great-grandmother’s oyster dressing and homemade gravy. I can’t wait to impress my family with this on Thanksgiving! With no need to baste, I can literally throw this bird in the oven and forget about it, which essentially gives me back three hours of my life. I don’t care who you are—that’s priceless.
Extremely delicious and moist. It’s much easier to dry brine than wet brine, that's for sure.
I brined the bird for 26 hours using Diamond Kosher salt. At first I was a bit worried because the turkey looked very dry, almost desiccated, but it ended up being perfect. The cook time was accurate. We served 7 people, with all the traditional Thanksgiving fare, and had plenty of leftovers for sandwiches and jook.