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how to dry brine a turkey


Your Recipes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 240 minutes

Total: 255 minutes

Servings: 16

Cost: $2.67 /serving


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Step 1

Mix the dry brine ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside

Step 2

Remove the turkey from the wrapping and remove the giblets and neck from inside the cavity and save for another use. Remove or discard any plastic or metal cages or pop-up thermometers.

Step 3

If you can follow safe procedures, rinse the entire turkey in cold water thoroughly.  Then pat the turkey dry using paper towels, inside and out.  The FDA Does Not Recommend Rinsing Turkeys. If you do rinse your turkey make sure to clean and sanitize the counters, sink, faucet and any areas possibly exposed.

Step 4

Using your hands, gently 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.

Step 5

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the salt mixture into the cavity of the turkey and rub it into the cavity.

Step 6

Rub 4 teaspoons of the salt mixture into the meat of the breasts (under the skin).  Then sprinkle the remaining salt mixture over all the skin of both the breasts, legs and wings

Step 7

Place the turkey breast-side up in a roasting pan.  Cover the turkey securely using plastic wrap, or place it into a small plastic bag and seal it, removing as much of the air as possible.   Refrigerate for 48 - 60 hours.

Step 8

After the time has expired, uncover the turkey and allow it to remain uncovered and refrigerated for 8-12 hours.

Step 9

Allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for one hour before roasting.**Do Not Rinse The Brine Off the Turkey

Step 10

In the bottom of your roasting pan add roughly cut celery, onions, garlic, and carrots.  Include the skin from the onion and carrots.   Add 1 cup of chicken stock or water to the pan.**You can also place some aromatics inside the cavity of the turkey before cooking. Onions, carrots, herbs of your choice, orange peel and any other spices you like.

Step 11

Place the turkey upside down on a rack in a roasting pan.   This will self baste the breast as the fat from the underside and dark meat flow into the breast.  This will help keep the turkey from being dry.**If you don't feel comfortable turning the hot turkey, cook your turkey right side up for the entire process. The breast meat won't be quite as moist, but it's not a deal-breaker. Safety First!

Step 12

Preheat oven to 425º.  Brush the turkey with melted butter and roast upside down for 45 minutes.  At the end of that time very carefully turn the turkey over with the breast side up to continue cooking.   ( I used heat resistant gloves) Brush again with melted butter if you like.Decrease oven temperature to 325º.   Cook the turkey until it reaches the temp of 165º for the breast and 175º for the thighs.   The meat will rise an additional 10º continuing to cook as it rests.*My 20-pound turkey only took an additional 3 hours to cook using this method.  Make sure to check your turkey around the 2 1/2 hour mark.

Step 13

Allow the turkey to rest 30 - 60 minutes before slicing.  This will ensure that the juices stay in the turkey and don't all run out as you slice it.