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How To Dry Brine A Turkey

Author TheKitchn.com

Ingredients

  • TBSP kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried herbs such as thyme, sage, and rosemary, or blend
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 14-to-16 pound thawed whole turkey (not kosher or pre-salted)

Instructions

  1. Mix the dry brine together: Mix the salt, pepper, and herbs together in a small bowl.

  2. Remove the turkey from the packaging and remove any unnecessary parts.

  3. Pat the turkey dry: Pat the outside of the turkey dry with paper towels.

  4. Loosen the skin: Using your hands, loosen the skin over the breast and separate it from the meat, making sure to break through the thin membrane between the skin and breast while leaving the skin itself intact. Loosen the skin over the meaty part of the legs.

  5. Season the cavity: Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the salt mixture into the cavity of the turkey.

  6. Season the meat: Rub another 2 teaspoons of the salt mixture into the meat of the legs (under the skin). Rub 4 teaspoons of the salt mixture into the meat of the breasts (under the skin).

  7. Season the skin: Sprinkle the remaining salt mixture over all the skin of both the breasts and legs.

  8. Tuck the wings back: Bend the wings back and tuck under the breast.

  9. Refrigerate: Place the turkey breast-side up in a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan and refrigerate UNCOVERED for at least 1 day but ideally 3 days. You do not need to pat it dry before cooking.

  10. Now it's time for the Herbed Ghee Turkey Rub. Simply mix all ingredients together. Rub on top and under the skin of the breasts and legs. 

  11. Cook per instructions for your turkey.

Recipe Notes

  • You can dry-brine a partially frozen turkey: You can dry-brine a frozen turkey. See some tips here.
  • Type of salt: The type of salt here is very important. The recipe calls for Kosher salt. If you only have a fine salt, use half the amount called for.
  • Brine proportions for a smaller turkey: Turkey sizes vary, so if you have a larger or smaller bird, go by these proportions instead: For every 5 pounds of turkey, you will need 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  • Fresh herbs substitution: Instead of dried herbs, you can substitute 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (or 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of turkey).