How to Dry-Brine a Turkey

Posted: November 23, 2022 3:00 am

Turkey day is coming up and of course, the star of the show, must be the prepped the right way! When it comes to getting the turkey ready, there’s a couple of options available that will ensure the juiciest, tastiest bird there is. There’s the choice of wet brining the turkey which requires a ton of liquid and finding a big enough container to fit everything in. Wet brining is just soaking the turkey in a solution mixed with salt and spices to tenderize and flavor the meat. However, dry brining can do the same exact thing without the fuss and the mess. Once you’ve tried this process, you’ll be a fan!

What is dry brining?
Dry brining is the method of rubbing salt and other seasonings on the surface of the turkey. This can also be called “salting” the turkey since salt (or other spices) is applied directly to the turkey’s skin without using any type of liquid. The turkey is then placed in the refrigerator to rest for a specific timeframe. Most would recommend at least 48 hours to refrigerate the turkey after brining, but can also be done up to 72 hours. Dry brining works when the meat juices are drawn out from the salt through osmosis. Then the salt dissolves and turns into the brine that is then absorbed into the meat. Once the brine is inside the meat, it starts to tenderize the muscle proteins and breaking them down. This results in a well-seasoned, tender and delicious turkey.

Advantages of Dry Brining vs. Wet Brining
If you want to go the faster route with the same delicious results, dry-brine is the way to go. It’s much easier to apply the ingredients directly onto the turkey, without having to worry about the measurements that will go into the liquid solution. It will take more salt and seasonings for a wet brine since water will dilute the flavor and the taste. Also, you don’t have to worry about finding a large enough container to fit a turkey and 2 gallons of water (which is recommended for a 15 pound turkey) and then have adequate space to store it in the fridge. In addition, you do not have to handle a wet turkey when it’s time to cook it.

Before brining, make sure turkey is thawed
Don’t brine a turkey until it’s completely thawed. A turkey that is fully thawed will absorb the dry brine much more effectively than when it’s still frozen or half thawed. If you do not thaw it all the way, the turkey will release excess liquid that will wash off the brine. Then you’ll have to do double work and apply more salt and seasoning later.
Here is a guide to go by when thawing a whole turkey:
• Thaw 1 to 3 days prior to brining a turkey weighing 4 – 12 pounds
• Thaw 3 to 4 days prior to brining a turkey weighing 12 – 16 pounds days
• Thaw 4 to 5 days prior to brining a turkey weighing 16 – 20 pounds
• Thaw 5 to 6 days prior to brining a turkey weighing 20 – 24 pounds

How to cook a brine turkey?
It’s time to cook that delicious turkey. Dry brining works for all types of cooking, whether it’s roasting the meat, grilling, smoking or deep frying – it will all be equally delicious!
And dry brine is also appropriate for all cuts of turkey, even if it’s a spatchcocked or a bone-in turkey, it will work with this method.

Dry brining works!
When you want the flavor without all the work, give dry-brine a try. It will give you that crispy skin and well-seasoned, tender meat that will sure to impress your family and guests. And the ingredients are flexible, you can add or take away any of the seasonings you like. If you want a touch of sweetness, add brown sugar to your mixture. Or if you want a hint of spiciness, sprinkle some paprika or cayenne. The best part is, you have some room for creativity and you decide how flavorful it should be. Make it your own and let the turkey do the work for you, not the other way around!

Try these recipes!
These recipes will have you convinced that dry-brine turkey is what you’ll have every Thanksgiving.
Dry-Brined Turkey
Dry-Brined Turkey with Classic Herb and Butter
Herb and Brown Sugar Dry-Brined Turkey



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