Dry Brined Roasted Turkey

Dry Brined Roasted Turkey

Republished from last year so that you can start planning your Thanksgiving meal.

Inspired by Judy Rodgers (Zuni Café, San Francisco), this turkey recipe is about as simple as it gets. This recipe will yield a golden roast turkey with flavorful, moist white and dark meat. Just salt it, bag it, and forget about it for a few days. Begin the brining the three days in advance and give it several hours in the refrigerator uncovered at the end to thoroughly dry the skin. Because roasting times can vary with big birds, allow an extra hour or so - if it's done early, tent it with foil and keep it warm; the rest will only improve the texture of the meat.

Based on the dry brining techniques used by chefs in Southern France to cook chickens, this several day dry brining process produces a moist, flavorful turkey without any of the nasty side effects of normal brining.
  • Prep: 2 hours
  • Chill: 3 days
  • Cook: 3-4 hours
  • Total: 6 hours (active), 4 days (start to finish)
  • Serves 11 to 15
Dry Brined Roasted Turkey

Carbohydrate Counts

Carbs per serving (0g)

Carb calculations Weight Carbs
Turkey (0g)
Net Weight (0g)

* Provided for informational purposes only. Consult your doctor for insulin dosing advice.

  • Dry Brine (3 days in advance)
  • One 12- to 16-pound turkey
  • In a large sink, wash the turkey inside and out. Pat it dry with several paper towels to remove as much excess moisture as possible.
  • 1 tablespoons of Kosher salt per 5 pounds of turkey
  • Measure 1 tablespoon of kosher salt into a small for every 5 pounds the turkey weighs (e.g. for a 15-pound turkey, use 3 tablespoons).
  • Sprinkle the inside of the turkey lightly with salt. Place the turkey on its back and salt the breasts, concentrating the salt in the center, where the meat is thickest. You'll probably use a little more than a tablespoon. It should look liberally seasoned, but not over-salted.
  • Turn the turkey on one side and sprinkle the entire side with salt, concentrating on the thigh. You should use a little less than a tablespoon. Flip the turkey over and do the same with the opposite side.
  • Place the turkey in a 2 1/2-gallon sealable plastic bag, press out the air and seal tightly. Place the bagged turkey breast-side up in a 13x9 inch pan (or larger) and place in the refrigerator.
  • Chill
  • Chill for 3 days, turning it onto its breast for the last day.
  • Roasting Preparation
  • Remove the turkey from the refrigerator. Pat dry with a few paper towels and let rest at room temperature at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • 2 small onions, halved
  • 2 small apples, cored and halved
  • ½ bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Stuff cavity of turkey with half of the apples, half of the onions, parsley, and thyme. Truss legs with kitchen twine. Put remaining apples and onions in neck opening and tuck neck skin under bird.
  • ½ cup butter, melted (optional)
  • Pat the turkey dry one last time and baste with melted butter, if using.
  • Roasting
  • Place the turkey breast-side down on a roasting rack in a roasting pan; put it in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes at 425°F.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and carefully turn the turkey over so the breast is facing up (it's easiest to do this by hand, using kitchen towels or oven mitts).
  • Tent the breast with aluminum foil to prevent over drying.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Return the turkey to the oven and roast.
  • Remove foil from bird after 1 ½ to 2 hours to allow breast to brown.
  • Roast until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone, reads 165°F, about 12 minutes per pound for an unstuffed bird (e.g about 2 hours for 12 pound bird, 3 hours for 15 pound bird).
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and tilt bird over bowl or roasting pan to drain excess juices. Transfer turkey to a warm platter or carving board. If making gravy, reserve fat and drippings and deglaze pan accordingly.
  • Let turkey rest, uncovered, 30 to 45 minutes to let the juices redistribute through the meat. If you carve the turkey without resting long enough, your cutting board will be flooded with juices from the turkey.
  • Carve and serve.
From MakeBetterFood.com. . (http://makebetterfood.com/recipes/dry-brined-roasted-turkey/). Adapted from Parsons, Russ. L.A. Times. (http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-dry-brined-turkey-20111117,0,4942852.story).
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