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Dry Brine Turkey

Dry brine turkey on a large white platter, garnished with fresh sage leaves.
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.
Claire Tansey

Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 d 3 hrs 50 mins
Total 1 d 4 hrs 20 mins
Entrees
American
8 to 10 servings
843 kcal

Ingredients 

Directions 

  • In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar and kosher salt. Place the turkey in a large plastic bag and place the bag in a roasting pan.
  • Pack the sugar mixture all over the breast, legs, and wings of the turkey, pressing firmly so as much of the mixture sticks as possible. Carefully close the bag, just for neatness’ sake, and then pop it into the fridge for 24 to 36 hours.
  • About 4 hours before you plan to serve the turkey, preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).
  • Take the turkey out of the bag and rinse it under cold running water, gently rubbing it until every last speck of the brining mixture comes off. Don’t forget to rinse out the inside, too. It’s okay if the turkey looks a little dry. Trust us on this one.
  • Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan and dry it with paper towels. Place the thyme in the cavity and tie the legs together with twine. Bend and tuck the wing tips under the back. Brush the turkey all over with the oil.
  • Roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 175°F (80°C), 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Transfer the turkey to a carving board and tent loosely with foil. Let rest at least 30 minutes and as much as an hour before carving.