Russ Parsons' Dry-Brined Turkey (a.k.a. The Judy Bird)

By • November 15, 2011 • 212 Comments



Author Notes: This recipe won a turkey taste test with staff of the L.A. Times Food Section in 2006 and Russ Parsons, the Food Editor at the paper, has been writing about it every Thanksgiving since. The technique is inspired by chef Judy Rodgers, who dry brines the famous roast chicken (and just about everything else) at Zuni Café in San Francisco, but never a turkey. Parsons decided to try it and found, not only does it work -- it comes out perfectly juicy and crisp, with none of the sponginess that you sometimes get with wet-brined birds. He tests a new variation each year, and slashes steps he decides aren't important. He's grilled the brined turkey, and added herbs and spices to the salt -- but his most genius discovery is that you can brine a frozen bird as it's defrosting. And why wouldn't you? Genius Recipes

Serves 11-15

  • One 12- to 16-pound turkey (frozen is fine)
  • Kosher salt
  • Herbs and/or spices to flavor the salt (optional -- see suggestions in step 1)
  • Melted butter for basting (optional)
  1. Wash the turkey inside and out, pat it dry and weigh it. Measure 1 tablespoon of salt -- we used Diamond Crystal -- into a bowl for every 5 pounds the turkey weighs (for a 15-pound turkey, you'd have 3 tablespoons). You can flavor the salt with herbs and spices if you like -- try smoked paprika and orange zest, bay leaf and thyme, or rosemary and lemon zest. Grind together with the salt in a spice grinder, small food processor, or mortar and pestle.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Place the turkey in a 2 1/2-gallon sealable plastic bag, press out the air and seal tightly. (If you can't find a resealable bag this big, you can use a turkey oven bag, but be prepared for it to leak.) Place the turkey breast-side up in the refrigerator. Chill for 3 days, turning it onto its breast for the last day. Rub the salt around once a day if you remember.
  5. Remove the turkey from the bag. There should be no salt visible on the surface and the skin should be moist but not wet. Place the turkey breast-side up on a plate and refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.
  6. On the day it is to be cooked, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  7. Pat it dry one last time and baste with melted butter, if using. Place the turkey breast-side down on a roasting rack in a roasting pan; put it in the oven. 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).
  8. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, return the turkey to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone, reads 165 degrees, about 2 3/4 hours total roasting.
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a warm platter or carving board; tent loosely with foil. Let stand at least 30 minutes to let the juices redistribute through the meat. Carve and serve.

Comments (212) Questions (27)

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7 months ago juicyrebound1

In agreement with Deanna, easiest and best bird ever and the gravy was the tastiest I have ever had. It was a bit of an arm-wrestling match to get people to pass it at table.

Stringio

7 months ago Kristen Dandar

AHHH-MAZING!!! This was the best turkey I've ever eaten!! I cannot believe I cooked it myself! I dried some fresh orange peel in my dehydrator and mixed it with my sea salt and Earth's Pride Organics all purpose seasoning from BJ's and it was great!

For those of you who couldn't find a bag big enough, I used a medium size SPACE BAG (https://www.spacebag.com) and vacuumed all of the air out!

I was even more aggressive with my high heat. I had a bird just under 16 pounds. I started it out at 500 degrees for 30 minutes and only turned it down to 375 degrees (we were baking brownies at the same time). I was a little worried the higher temp. might be too much, but it still came out perfect and the whole thing was roasted in about 2 hours and 20 minutes!!!

Even the leftovers where moist and delicious! My husband who doesn't usually eat leftover turkey because he doesn't like the dry texture gobbled up the leftovers. Best turkey recipe ever!!!!

I put the carcass and bones in my slow cooker overnight and I also have AHHH-MAZING turkey bone broth! SCORE!!!

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8 months ago Rogan

I only got my brine in for 30 hours and it was still perfect - moist and delicious. We had a 25 pound bird and it was done in 3 hours - thank god I checked it often or I would have overcooked it. This was the first time in years we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner before 7pm…everyone raved.

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8 months ago deanna1001

It's everything promised and more. I stuffed the bird and roasted according to a 1980 Bon Appetit cover article with Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey...been using their jalapeno cornbread stuffing and cooking procedures for 30 years with never a complaint. But this bird really tasted superior. Made great gravy too - didn't need any additional seasoning. Just perfect. Will never wet brine again. Thank you cooking gods (and food 52) for this!

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8 months ago Ln

A great, simple method of dry brining. Not messy or time consuming at all. Turkey turned out moist and great flavor. I used lemon rinds and rosemary with the salt. We'd had a 10 lb bird and cooked within 2 hours with no stuffing. However, I did put in an apple, onion, and half a lemon. This is a keeper!

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8 months ago joanne

I had said that if this did not work for me that I was never making another turkey. Myself and family said that it was the best turkey they have ever tasted. It was very easy to do really and I did not put it breast side down to start it off I just roasted it at 325. It took about 3 1/2 hours and then we let it set for 45 minutes really awsome recipe. Another thing is I did not stuff my turkey (this was also a first) I cooked my home made dressing in a crock pot worked great and freed up my oven.

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8 months ago dipity

This is a keeper. I will be preparing my turkey this way from here on in. Here are some notes on my experiences:
- My turkey was a 13 lbs. Diestel Natural Turkey from Whole Foods
- I too had a hard time finding a 2 1/2 gallon sealable plastic bag. If someone has a brand and source please share. I was otherwise very lucky because the butcher at Whole Foods gave me a bag that totally worked. My husband suggested using a garbage bag, but I could not get past the word garbage.
- Since the instruction said "roast" not "bake". I used the Thermador Convection Roast setting. I was also using the oven's temperature probe to control the timing. The temperature probe in the thigh reached 165 degrees in just 1 hour. Since this was far shorter than the 2 3/4 hours stated in the instruction, I took out the probe and continued roasting without the probe (because I thought I must not have inserted the probe properly). Fortunately I decided to check the thigh temperature using an instant read thermometer after 15 minutes. At that time the thigh temperature was way over 165 (I don't remember the exact number). So my total roasting time was 30 minutes at 425 degrees and 1 hours 15 minutes at 325 degrees.
- since the turkey was done too early, I decided to tent the turkey while on the counter. I think this is a mistake as the skin lost its crispiness.
- in spite of the high thigh temperature, the breast was VERY moist. I'm a white meat person, so I forgot to taste the dark meat. :-)
THANK YOU FOOD52 for this recipe. Although the instructions seems lengthy and complicated at first glance, I actually think that it is easier than what I was doing before. My previous method requires that I separate the skin from the meat and brine that way. AND it requires that the salt be washed off. The washing and drying after brining is VERY challenging for me. As was brining between the skin and meat without tearing the skin.
Again, MANY THANKS for this!

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8 months ago Wasel Choi

Thank you food52, thank you everyone for helping me to make my first turkey! You can read my experience at medium.com/p/623ee848d62a

Happy Thanksgiving

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8 months ago Alyssa

5 stars!! I made this for Thanksgiving dinner, 17.7 pound bird and followed the 15 pound recipe in terms of how much salt to use. I was fearful of the meat tasting too salty, but it was perfect! It was moist, but without a strange brined texture. The only thing was that the kitchen filled with a bit of smoke during the roasting time. I would definitely make this every year, way better than wet brining. Also, I used two garbage bags to wrap the bird because we didn't have ziplocs or roasting bags big enough.

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8 months ago Susan Perlow

Excellent recipe! I've probably roasted 60+ turkeys in my life; always used the wet-brine method. I've never made a "bad" turkey, so I was hesitant to switch it up. So glad I ventured away from tradition; this is by far the best turkey I've ever made! I used the "tablespoon of salt per pound of turkey", plus about a tablespoon each of fresh rosemary, time, sage, and crushed garlic and paprika. Followed the recipe as outlined; then let it rest for half an hour after roasting. My only advice would be that if you use pan drippings for gravy, it's already very salty and as in my brine, heavily seasoned, so don't add salt!!!! I added more milk and water to the drippings than usual and used only fresh pepper. Drippings made a lot of really great gravy! Best turkey, best gravy I've ever made. Juicy, moist and flavorful, and so much easier than traditional wet brining! Thank you for this amazing recipe!

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8 months ago Susan Perlow

Edit above to tablespoon of salt per five lbs turkey; my bird weighed 22 lbs, I used a little more than 5 (heaping) tablespoons salt plus fresh seasonings....

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8 months ago Chan

Did not work out for me. My turkey was so dry. I started the brine on Sunday and cooked on Thanksgivings morning. What did I do wrong?

Stringio

8 months ago Garrett Browning

Some thoughts: Did you pat it dry before salting? Did you bag it airtight during brining? Did you adhere to the recommended temp? Did you start the roast at 425 with breast down and then turn bird over and lower temp to 325?

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8 months ago Chan

Yes I followed the recipe exactly. The look though was beautiful. I have tried few different recipes and different methods from wet brine to cook under ground (Hawaiian style). The only one time that my bird came out moist was deep fry. I try this again for Christmas

Miglore

8 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Chan, sorry this didn't work out well -- hope you had good gravy to make up for it. Did you check the internal temperature in the thigh when you took it out? Dry brining makes the recipe pretty forgiving, but if it goes way above 165 F in the thigh it will dry out (and it will get there more quickly than other non-dry brined turkey recipes).

Stringio

8 months ago Garrett Browning

Followed the recipe -- works to a tee and everyone thought it was the best turkey they ever had. Lotta work but tastsy and moist.

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8 months ago QbanLuli

I'll be cooking 2 turkeys this year side by side. One is 14.5lbs the other is 17lbs. About how much cooking time do you think it should take after I flip them and put them on their backs again?

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8 months ago Clayton

The dry brine will work out great for your grilling.

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8 months ago martacamer

hmmm....I just dry-brined my organic non-frozen Diestel turkey, no hormones or additives, but here I am 10pm on the eve of TDAy and wondering if I made a mistake? I am planning on cooking my turkey on the webber. I usually season shortly before cooking, and my cooking time on the webber is usually about 2 hours. Any advice?? Will the dry-brine have a positive or negative effect and can I remedy if so?? Help!! :)

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8 months ago Noor

Someone posted that they Dry-brined their turkey 24 hrs before cooking and it worked, but I am not sure if results would be the same with grilling.

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8 months ago Noor

This is what a someone posted on here re bring a day before:
I did this again this year, this time with a frozen bird. After the bird had been in my fridge for 24 hours, I took it out, patted it dry as best I could, dug out the neck (the giblets were too frozen still), and salted it all over, then packed into a brining bag that I picked up at the grocery store. It continued defrosting, I flipped it once when I remembered. The night before, I took it out of the fridge and out of the bag, dried it again, put it on a tray and put it back in the fridge uncovered until the following day. Took it out about an hour before hand and then followed the instructions as above, though I put a cup of water in the roasting pan to help make sure the drippings didn't burn up. Had plenty of drippings for gravy, and got lots of compliments on the turkey (in the line of, I usually don't even like turkey but this is really good). This technique works even if you don't get around to doing it until the day before.

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8 months ago Craig May

help....in an hour my turkey is scheduled to go into the oven. I marionated with paprika and orange zest, bay leaf and thyme, and lemon zest,....do I wash this off and then baste with butter?

Miglore

8 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Hi Craig -- you don't need to rinse it if you're following this salt ratio, but if you've used a lot of herbs, you can always brush some off. Adding water now will get in the way of a nice crispy skin.

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8 months ago Jolie Hunt

You should be fine to also add butter. The brine is just seasoning.

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8 months ago Craig May

help....in an hour my turkey is scheduled to go into the oven. I marionated with paprika and orange zest, bay leaf and thyme, and lemon zest,....do I wash this off and then baste with butter?

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8 months ago Janice

Scott, thanks for your response! I've been wet brining fresh turkeys for a long time, but they are really fresh turkeys and not a processed fresh one.
I am very interested in how this is going to work, and I will probably look at doing another some time this winter.
Thanks again for your response!

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8 months ago scott

Janice and Michele - Oh my goodness. First, Michele, just trust the recipe. Please brace yourself and lose the bag, providing you followed the recipe so far (such as having salted Sunday or Monday, and unwrap the turkey this evening. And Janice, Butterball or otherwise, it's okay. In a few months or maybe this summer, roast another turkey, not a butterball, following this recipe and I think you will be well on your way to being the best turkey roaster around your neck of the woods.

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8 months ago Janice

So, I was just reading through these comments and one caught my eye...I normally don't buy a butterball, but I did, a fresh butterball. I normally do a wet brine but found this article and decided to give it a try.
Now I see where someone is questioning this method because butterball DOES inject their fresh turkeys too.
Please tell me I haven't ruined the turkey.....or if I have, is there any remediation I can do at this late time?

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8 months ago Nancy

I'm using a fresh butterball also. I rinsed it off really well before dry-brining. I won't use any salt in the stuffing or the gravy and hope it will be ok - it's a bit late to do anything about it now. Good luck to us! Happy Thanksgiving!

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8 months ago EmilyC

I've dry brined a fresh Butterball before and it turned out fine and wasn't too salty, at least to my taste. You should be fine!

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8 months ago Nancy

Thanks, Emily! I appreciate it!

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8 months ago Michele

Is it okay to use a turkey bag while cooking? I've never cooked a turkey without a turkey bag, but then again, I've never dry-brined for three days in advance before, so I'm not sure about the combination of the two.

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8 months ago Nancy

I've read comments from people who use the turkey bag after dry-brining. I plan to as well. Skin may not be as crispy, but I can't imagine why the turkey wouldn't be ok!

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8 months ago Crazed in Cali

K like the rest of you am doing it for the first time, but I rubbed the salt on as I was by myself with a large bird making it hard to hold the bird up, put on both sides & what not. Does anyone know if rubbing it on vs sprinkling it on will effect the outcome of the process or not??

Miglore

8 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Rubbing might help the salt stick to the bird and distribute evenly -- it's not really necessary, but it doesn't hurt either!

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8 months ago LizC

Hi is it too late to start this for a huge turkey?! Any hope?

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8 months ago Nancy

I'm thinking that it might be a bit late for dry brining - but you can still use a wet brine! But I'm no expert - maybe some of the more experienced readers can chime in...Happy Thanksgiving!

Miglore

8 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

LizC, sorry for not seeing this sooner -- for future reference, lots of people on these comment threads have reported that dry brining works well, even if you can only do it for a day. (And that's what I'm doing this year, because the turkey I ordered wasn't available for pickup until yesterday!)

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8 months ago Arlene

Was so excited to try this recipe. On day 2 and was reading through the comments and I am now panicked cause I used a fresh Butterball turkey?I'm am afraid it's going to be too salty. Should I cut back on the brining time or rinse the bird really well. Help!!

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8 months ago leelee84

No Arlene this was made for fresh turkeys you can do it on frozen turkeys.

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8 months ago Arlene

Yes but I saw posts saying it shouldn't be used on Butterball because they inject 4% salt solution into the bird.

Miglore

8 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Arlene, in case you didn't see EmilyC's post above, you should be fine!

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8 months ago Pepsea

I just cut the back bone out of our turkey for this recipe. I put it in the kitchen sink, which gave me good leverage to do this. I do not have a cleaver, it a hammer did help in breaking the breast bone to flatten the bird. It was not really that hard.

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8 months ago Nancy

Do you rinse the brine off the turkey before roasting?

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8 months ago leelee84

no Nancy I do not think you do there should be very little or no salt at all the bird should have absorbed it all.

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8 months ago Nancy

Thanks, Leelee! Happy Thanksgiving!

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8 months ago dipity

I have started brining using this method yesterday and am very excited. Now I have a dumb question. My oven has a "ROAST" setting as well as a "CONVECTION BAKE" and "BAKE". The instruction says "roast". Am I supposed to use the "ROAST" setting? Thanks in advance.

Miglore

8 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

dipity, I'm sorry for the delayed response -- I'm not familiar with the roast setting, but I do know that convection will circulate the air and potentially help the bird roast more quickly and evenly, especially if the oven is looking crowded.

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8 months ago dipity

Thank you very much Kristen for the reply. I did not have time to get online preparing for Thanksgiving dinner I did not see you reply until just now. As such I made an "executive decision" and use CONVECTION ROAST setting.

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8 months ago vivanat

I did this again this year, this time with a frozen bird. After the bird had been in my fridge for 24 hours, I took it out, patted it dry as best I could, dug out the neck (the giblets were too frozen still), and salted it all over, then packed into a brining bag that I picked up at the grocery store. It continued defrosting, I flipped it once when I remembered. The night before, I took it out of the fridge and out of the bag, dried it again, put it on a tray and put it back in the fridge uncovered until the following day. Took it out about an hour before hand and then followed the instructions as above, though I put a cup of water in the roasting pan to help make sure the drippings didn't burn up. Had plenty of drippings for gravy, and got lots of compliments on the turkey (in the line of, I usually don't even like turkey but this is really good). This technique works even if you don't get around to doing it until the day before.

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8 months ago Wasel Choi

Thanks for sharing, vivanat! I enjoyed reading it.. I am cooking Turkey for the first time, a comment like yours can be supportive - happy thanksgiving!

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8 months ago Ana

Does it really work even if I do this a day before cooking? I just found this method and I'm worried it won't be enough time! Also, the turkey will be cooked in a commercial facility, as a favor, on Thanksgiving day. Should I instruct them not to do anything at all to the turkey? I heard they intend to smoke the turkeys that they will be selling.

Thanks for the help!

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8 months ago neenee

also the bird weighs 20.38 lbs

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8 months ago neenee

I cannot find the directions to brine the frozen bird, so sorry but I'm new to this and really unsure of the how-to method?

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8 months ago leelee84

neenee just brine it like it was not frozen it while brine while it unthaws in the fridge.

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8 months ago Noor

For basting, would it work if I stuff soft butter with some herbs in it under the skin instead of basting with melted butter?

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8 months ago Wasel Choi

Hi Noor, I sent your question to SF Chronicle, they answered with the following: More butter never hurts but we still recommend basting so the skin crisps up and gets golden.

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8 months ago Noor

Hi Wasel,
Thank you so much for doing that. I really appreciate it!

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8 months ago Wasel Choi

You are welcome and happy thanksgiving :)

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8 months ago Wasel Choi

How was your turkey, Noor? Mine was good, you can read my blog medium.com/p/623ee848d62a
Happy Thanksgiving

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8 months ago leelee84

I want to start this this afternoon will I still have enough time?

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8 months ago Noor

You should be fine.

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8 months ago Julia Lewis

I won't get my turkey until Weds am - ordered from the farmers' mkt. I'd love to try this, but is it worth giving it a go since I don't have as much time as the recipe calls for?? Has anyone abbreviated the brining time? Will it matter that much??

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8 months ago Mary in Gulf Breeze

watery fluid is collecting in the bag. Do I discard that or let it stay?

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8 months ago Pat in SoCal

Flip the bird over and much of it will re-absorb. Enjoy

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8 months ago Das_Muller

Made this with a 17.5 pounder today for a "Friendsgiving." Could not have turned out better. Also my first time brining a bird!

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8 months ago Noor

For basting, would it work if I stuff room temp butter with some herbs in it under the skin instead of basting with melted butter?

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8 months ago Annette

Can you use this method on a fresh turkey?

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8 months ago Noor

It says, "frozen is fine also", which makes me think that the recipe is for fresh turkey but works for frozen as well.
So, to answer your question-Yes, it works for fresh turkey.

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8 months ago olygirl

I'm so excited to make this again this year...I've made it one other time and it was a hit. I have a 20 pounder for my gathering Thursday night. One question...I feel like I recall (and also read in a comment long ago) that there's not a lot of dripping to make a lot of gravy with...any suggestions if that's the case? Gravy is the second best thing about Thanksgiving turkey!

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8 months ago vivanat

I just made mine for the second time with a 17 pounder. I added a cup of water to the roasting pan at the start and had more than enough liquid at the end.

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8 months ago Pat in SoCal

Start with some water in the pan to prevent the first drips from burning..., baste with butter....which will drip into the pan,too...baste and deglaze with some dry white wine (or apple cider) along the way...and use your good turkey broth to make gravy. Don't salt without tasting. Excellent.

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8 months ago Craig May

Of these, smoked paprika and orange zest, bay leaf and thyme, or rosemary and lemon zest, how does one know, of how much to use of each spice?

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8 months ago Charles

Holy cow! Thankfully I found this recipe again. Last year I did it and by far it was superior to any other bird I have cooked. I will do it again I'm doing two this year, one cooked James beard style and one like the recipe. Thanks for not taking this post down!!!

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8 months ago Stampfran

LisaAnn,I believe saramarsh answered yes to cooking in the bag. That was my question also. Just cook according to the cooking bag directions. I believe the turkey cooks a little faster in the bag. I am glad I found this article. I was dreading the whole brine in my ice chest for days routine.

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8 months ago deanna1001

Just wondering...I've never been able to find ziplock bags bigger than 2 gallon. Where should I be looking (for next year).

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8 months ago Mary in Gulf Breeze

Hefty makes a Jumbo ziploc. I found only 1 box at my store.

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8 months ago MELISSA

I found the Jumbo 2 1/2 gallon bag at Target yesterday…on the end cap of the checkout line!

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8 months ago Pat in SoCal

20 lb free range beauty just got a salt, thyme, sage, and fennel massage and is resting comfortably in the fridge. BTW Brining bags work great! ...no leaks

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8 months ago LisaAnn

saramarsh--thanks for your reply. I'm not really worried about the 8 hr air dry thing, I am mostly wondering of bag-roasting will yield the same results as pan-roasting? I assume that the skin will not be crispy, correct? And if I do the dry brine method would I keep to the same timetable if bag roasting? Thank you again!!

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8 months ago Doug

Hi all what about a 23 lb turkey, what are the measurements then

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8 months ago Pat in SoCal

4.5-5 Tablespoons of salt should be fine

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8 months ago saramarsh

LisaAnn, absolutely. This is only the brining method, so don't worry about the 8 hour air dry for crispy skin!

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8 months ago LisaAnn

Going to try asking this question again--can this method be used if the turkey will be roasted in a 'roasting bag'? Roasting bags have been a great way to cook our turkeys for the last few years. I'm assuming this defeats the crispy skin that comes with roasting on a rack but would like some other feedback about this before I proceed. Thanks!!

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8 months ago saramarsh

LisaAnn, absolutely. This is only the brining method, I wouldn't worry about or do the 8 hour air dry for crispy skin!

Stringio

8 months ago Eric Oxenberg

Pretty safe to say that once you sook in the bag, any crispiness will be gone from your bird. And if you don't need crispy skin, you don't need to air-dry the bird either. That step is to ensure that the turkey gets really crisp without affecting the moistness inside.

Stringio

8 months ago Mary Kay Wiseman Boysen

Who knew?? even we folks of the jewish ethnic origin did now know

Fitbit

8 months ago saramarsh

Donna, you can do a partial thaw to get the giblets and neck out if you want, but left in until you can comfortably get them out isn't going to harm anything.
Cathy, I've only ever done this on a frozen turkey, you're using the defrosting process in place of a soaking brine, if that makes sense. I've done this for 4 years now and *every* year it's fantastic!

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8 months ago Donna D

How do you clean a frozen turkey?

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8 months ago saramarsh

Donna, you can do a partial thaw to get the giblets and neck out if you want, but left in until you can comfortably get them out isn't going to harm anything.

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8 months ago Carol K.

Carol
Can the drippings still be used for the gravy or will it be too salty?

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8 months ago Pat in SoCal

Drippings are fine for gravy. Make sure your broth isn't too salty and taste before any extra seasoning is added.

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8 months ago Cathy

Can this be done on a frozen turkey? Do you do it the same way, washing and all from the first day you put it into the fridge?

Fitbit

8 months ago saramarsh

Cathy, I've only ever done this on a frozen turkey, you're using the defrosting process in place of a soaking brine, if that makes sense. I've done this for 4 years now and *every* year it's fantastic!

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8 months ago Linda

Is is possible to cook this on a smoker or in a turkey fryer after doing the brine. It sounds like the best way to go but I didn't see anybody use any of these cooking methods. Thank you Linda

Stringio

8 months ago Gigi Petery

Would this technique work that has been cut up into sections before roasting? I don't see why it would affect it, but I thought I would double check first.

Stringio

8 months ago Jen Welzel

I tried to scan for an answer to this question and didn't see it off hand... can you tell me what the cook time would be for an 8-10lb bone in breast? This sounds delicious, Thank you!

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8 months ago Leith Devine

You can use this to brine ANY size turkey, just make sure to adjust the amounts (4 TB salt for a 20 lb turkey). I live in LA and still have my '06 Times...over the years I've added various herbs....I always use thyme....and seasonings. This method has never failed. Stuff the cavity with lemons, celery and onions for great drippings.

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8 months ago hekawi

Ahh, "The Great Turkey Smackdown..." -- I still have mine, too. I haven't made the turkey any other way since -- my family won't let me! (And, let's face it, this recipe makes such a great turkey, I haven't even tried.) :)

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8 months ago Felicia

Can you use this recipe to brine a larger turkey (18-20 lbs)?

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8 months ago hekawi

Yes. It's 4 Tablespoons for a 20-pound bird. Maybe decrease it slightly to 3.5 Tablespoons plus a generous pinch for an 18-pounder.

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8 months ago student epicure

two questions:
1. would this work if i only have 36 hours to brine the turkey?
2. has anyone tried this with stuffing?

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8 months ago lisabu

Hi there, two answers:
1.Yes and
2. Yes.
We did an early thanksgiving this year, and i couldn't find a fresh turkey until 2 days before. "Fresh" was a little frozen so i had to defrost it then put the salt mixture on for about 1.5 days. Also decided to stuff at the last minute. took a little longer to cook (3 hours total for a 15.5 lb. bird) but it was fantastic. Not too salty...either the stuffing or resulting gravy. This is the best turkey recipe i've ever had.
2

Dsc_0034

8 months ago student epicure

awesome, thanks!

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8 months ago Dan Piatkowski

"Fresh" is NOT frozen. Yet a frozen bird can be Fresher..
A fresh bird is cooler to 26 F and held no colder to prevent Salmonella and bruses durring shipment. Frozen are cooler to -32 F and held at at least 0 F. Thaw a frozen bird (suspended animation) and compare that to a fresh that has been around a few days.. frozen may be fresher..

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8 months ago LisaAnn

Would this method work if cooking the turkey in a cooking bag?

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9 months ago Vicki

if you use the brining method, can you use the turkey drippings and juices for your stuffing or will it be too salty

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10 months ago TheSlyRaven

Is the amount of salt per pound the same if I am doing a boneless turkey breast instead of a whole bird?

I will only have about a day to brine my turkey. Will this amount of time still be sufficient?

Since I am doing only a breast, and for less time than suggested, should I remove the skin and put the brine under the skin?

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10 months ago Jay Kinersly

when rubbing the salt on the breast do you put any under the skin directly on to the white breast meat?

Miglore

10 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

No, even easier -- it's just sprinkled on the skin. There's plenty of time in this recipe for the salt to absorb through.

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over 1 year ago terryfontaine

It sounds delicious, and I know the recipe calls for unstuffed turkey, but what is it ok to follow the steps if the family has to have a stuffed turkey?

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over 1 year ago HeidiRowe

This was our best Thanksgiving turkey ever! I tried the recipe with rosemary and lemon zest (and stuffed the turkey with apple slices). It was a beautiful crispy brown, and when we pulled it from the oven we could see the juices boiling under the skin. Also, the turkey stayed moist thru several days of leftover recipes. I'll never bake a turkey any other way.

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over 1 year ago Mcw

This recipe was great and i didn't even get to do the full 3-day brine. Got many compliments on it. The only downside was it wouldn't brown in the electric roasting pan I used so I had to throw it in the broiler for 15 minutes. All in all a great recipe. Thanks!

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over 1 year ago Greengourmet

Fantastic recipe! Used an 18 pound turkey, and added some root vergetables/onions to the cavity, as well as some white wine in the bottom of the pan for flavor. The result was moist and delicious. The turkey cooked very quickly, freeing up the oven for tasty sides. This is my new go to turkey recipe!

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over 1 year ago fitsxarts

This was awesome. Had a 12 lb turkey and it was completely done in 2 hours. A total game-changer (and stress-free at that). Thanks, Kristen!

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over 1 year ago Dales kitchen

Thanks Kristen ,
I am really going to enjoy Food52 and Thank you for the responce....
Have A great Thanksgiving

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over 1 year ago hsooh

I started the process on Sunday. Bought a fresh turkey but in reality it was semi frozen. This last day has produced a lot of liquid that has not been reabsorbed. Should I go ahead and remove it from the bag to let sit in the fridge uncovered or wait a little longer? Hoping I didn't make a huge mistake.

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

So sorry we didn't see this question until now -- you should be fine, whichever way you chose to go. Frozen birds do tend to release more liquid.

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over 1 year ago Steph C

Hi there - I am currently dry brining my turkey using this method (it's at about 24 hours... it'll be a little less than three days when done brining). My question is this. The instructions say to leave the turkey out on the counter for an hour at room temperature. Should we cover or leave uncovered? I cook meat about once a year, so I'm clueless here. Thanks!

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

It probably won't make a huge difference but I think Parsons' intent is for it to be uncovered, so that the skin will continue to dry a bit before going in the oven (that's what I've always done, at least!).

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over 1 year ago Steph C

Thank you! I was concerned about bacteria growth, but assume at an hour it should be okay(?).

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Yep!

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over 1 year ago Marc Osten - Marc's Culinary Compass

Steph - I leave mine in the fridge for 12-24 hours to dry. The skin comes out a lot crispier that way.

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over 1 year ago vanessa.b

How long should a 20lb turkey be cooked, if using this method?

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

It will probably take about 3 1/2 hours, but be sure to check its internal temperature early on, as instructed in step 8, since the timing will vary with your bird and your oven. No harm in starting it on the early side -- it should rest while you finish up the other dishes anyway. Hope you like it!

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over 1 year ago Mcw

Just brined the bird so I will probably only get about 48 hours in before the big day. Sounds like that should be okay based on previous questions and comments, I'll just need to watch it closely so as not to overcook. Quick question - i'm using an electric roaster, will that change anything about the cooking temps or times? Thamks!

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Mcw, have you used an electric roaster to roast a turkey before? I'm sorry to say I've never done it, so I'm not sure what the differences might be. I'd just watch it closely, as you say. Let us know how it turns out!

Stringio

11 months ago Kim Martell

Electric roasters tend to be a moister environment and therefore do not brown or dry the turkey's skin the way a conventional oven does. I'm sure the meat itself will be fine.

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over 1 year ago dfarron1

Will this work with a frozen Butterball turkey that already has a sodium solution injected in it, or will this cause it to be too salty? I know that Russ Parsons says a frozen bird works great but he doesn't address this issue of a frozen bird with an already injected sodium solution.

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Thanks for asking this -- I'll answer here as well as the Hotline so that others can see. To avoid over-salting, we don't recommend using this technique with sodium-injected turkeys. (Butterball is basically attempting to do the brining for you.)

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over 1 year ago GrandmaGG

I sat down over an hour ago to look for this recipe which was posted in the L.A. Times on November 18th, 2008, and fortunately got sidetracked here at FOOD52. Now I have my old perfect turkey recipe and lots of yummy desserts saved as a bonus!

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

How great -- welcome to Food52!

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over 1 year ago NeilJ

Are the oven temperatures used for a convection or conventional oven? Thanks

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Conventional -- for convection, you may want to drop the temperature 25 degrees.

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over 1 year ago AllisonT

I too have a question regarding the convection. The roasting time seems very short for a conventional oven, so how long should I assume it might take in a convection? Thank you!

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Dry-brined birds do tend to cook a little faster, but it will depend on your oven, your bird, and its starting temperature. With convection, chances are it will cook even more quickly. Luckily, having a bird come out of the oven to rest early isn't a bad thing -- you can tent with foil, or Tom Hirschfeld puts his in the cooler to keep warm, while he uses the oven to heat up the casseroles!

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over 1 year ago vivanat

Did not plan far enough ahead - salted about 26 hours in advance, let it dry out in the fridge for 3 hours, then brought it up to room temp for an hour before following the roasting instructions. ~21 lb, unstuffed turkey reached the correct temperature in about two hours - I use a thermometer with an alarm linked to the probe. I actually couldn't believe it was done, so I took the temp in several places. It looked beautiful and got good reviews. Will likely never bother with a wet brine again given how much less fuss this is.

Stringio

over 1 year ago ConnieHuberSchmidt

I am cooking only a large turkey breast (about 9 lbs, must have been a giant turkey). Anyway, does the process need any adjustment for that?

Miglore

over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Connie, you can follow the instructions and proportions exactly for salting. You might not want to bother with flipping the bird, since that step is meant for the juices to drip down from the rest of the bird into the breast. And it will cook for much less time, so start checking the internal temp at least an hour earlier. Cover it with foil if the skin is getting dark too quickly, turn up the temp at the end briefly if you want it to brown a bit more. It will be great!

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over 1 year ago JulieBoulangerie

It's great to know that's the purpose of the flip!

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over 1 year ago LJP

Do you need to use a natural turkey or does a frozen butterball work as well?

Fitbit

over 1 year ago saramarsh

Frozen works best for this, I've found. I've done the turkey this way for 3 years, and I've always used frozen. I just ran it under cold water to start the defrosting *only* to remove the neck and giblets...

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almost 2 years ago BArnold

Hi editors! A little help would be greatly appreciated...I need to make several turkeys in advance--can I make these and freeze it? If I freeze it and reheat it in whatever gravy I chose to make, will it still be good? Also, do I need to use a whole turkey or would a cut-up turkey work as well?

Miglore

almost 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

BArnold, I'm sorry we missed this question. Please let us know if you still need help. And if you already made your turkeys, let us know how it went!

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over 2 years ago shoestringmama

Ooh sooo yummy!! This time, used lemon zest and rosemary combo with the course sea salt and put the cut up the lemon in the cavity during cooking - truely fab! Thank you for sharing.

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over 2 years ago rider5

This turkey is amazing!! ( I seasoned the kosher salt with the poultry seasoning that Williams-Sonoma sells.) I didn't salt the stuffing and it was perfect. The gravy and the soup that followed were all equally wonderful. Thanks for sharing!!!

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over 2 years ago shoestringmama

Positvely the best turkey I've ever prepared, served and eaten - got rave reviews! Thank you - don't think I can ever cook a turkey any other way. Bought another turkey (while they were on sale) to have during the Christmas week and can't wait to do this again. Used 1 1/2 bay leaves and 1 tsp + of dried thyme, both crushed, with 2 Tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp course salt for about 12 lb turkey and stuffed chopped apples and onions in the carcass during the cooking - which added some subtle flavor to the gravy. The turkey soup I made later on was really super and the turkey broth I made also tasted yummy - that's in the freezer with some of the dark meat to be used in quick turkey soup on some cold day sure the coming soon. Next time I'll try the rosemary and lemon zest combo. Thank you for turning an average homecook into a stupendous one for my family!

Stringio

over 2 years ago hothead

Hi

Could you give me an estimate of how many teaspoons or tablespoons of the suggested spices to add to add along with the salt.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Hi hothead -- check out Russ Parsons' complete recipes for those 3 herb & spice salts here: http://www.latimes.com...

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over 1 year ago Marc Osten - Marc's Culinary Compass

Everyone...the link that Kristen shared from the LA Times is gold.

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over 2 years ago Warren

Tried this and it turned out fantastic. Truly the juciest turkey I've ever eaten. Glad I tok a chance on this one!

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over 2 years ago MAP

Far and away the best Turkey I have ever made! Moist, tender and delicious. Mine roasted much faster than I anticipated as well, but not a problem.

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over 2 years ago CentralCoastContessa

Far and away the best turkey I've ever made (or eaten). I followed the instructions exactly using a 15 lb Diestel Turkey, Italian course herb sea salt, and lemon zest. Flavorful, juicy, and oh so pretty!

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over 2 years ago jlsm

Fantastic! I cooked mine at 325 on a Big Green Egg using a drip pan below the grate filled with stock, two onions, a celery stalk and a carrot. I slathered an oil slurry of sage and thyme under and over the skin. The drip pan produced an unbelievably tasty base for gravy, and the meat was incredibly moist. Hands down the best turkey I have ever eaten let alone made. Thanks so much for the recipe.

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over 2 years ago Klweaver

Best turkey I've ever made. I didn't have 3 days - just 1 1/2, and it was still amazing.

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over 2 years ago Pammorgan

My dry brined turkey was a huge success.
It cooked quicker than expected though.
I had a 16 pound bird and it cooked in
3 hours. I had calculated 4 hours.
Does dry brining decrease the cook time?

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over 2 years ago anne7hall

Amazing!! The turkey was perfect - delicious, golden brown and easy to do. Thanks for a great recipe.

Lorigoldsby

over 2 years ago lorigoldsby

We will never wet brine again! Been brining for years and took awhile to figure out how to crisp up the skin...but this alleviated that concern! I did add sage to my salt and loved how easy it was to see where the salt was absorbed--the sage residue was there and I could concentrate on rinsing well in those spots! Basted with butter, every 30 minutes, added a little low sodium boxed chic broth to the pan because there weren't a lot of drippings at first, and really wanted a nice gravy. did not add any salt to the gravy... We always stuff our turkey...because that's the way we do it. It did not take as long as they said but it was completely cooked after resting...very, very moist.

Lorigoldsby

over 2 years ago lorigoldsby

Did start with a fresh turkey as always.

Me

over 2 years ago wssmom

Am I the only one who did not achieve a roaring success with this recipe?

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over 2 years ago jonahgail

made this yesterday for Thanksgiving ... I'll never wet brine a bird again ! It came out perfectly ... juicy all around. Thanks !

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over 2 years ago bookjunky

Well, I liked the simplicity of this so I tried it. It turned out great and the breast meat was delicious and moist. This is definitely going to be my go-to recipe for every Thanksgiving. A+++

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over 2 years ago Lucytron

This was the most wonderful turkey I have ever eaten! Our guests were shocked and then impressed. It looked beautiful, was juicy, and cooked in about 2 1/2 hours for a 20 pound unstuffed bird. Magnificent!

We used a fresh (never frozen) bird, dried it off, rubbed it in butter and pepper and put some herbs under the skin. Took it out it the morning to get it down to room temp all the way through - I think this helped the cook time a lot. We took the recipe's advice and started it breast-down for 20 minutes at 450, then flipped it and kept it at 450 for another 20 minutes, then tented it with foil and turned it down to 350, basting lightly with the pan juices.

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Amazing, just amazing. We totally overcooked our turkey because my husband insisted on stuffing it, and the meat was still moist and delicious. I also used the carcass to make stock and it isn't salty at all--even after concentrating it. Really wonderful concept.

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over 2 years ago cincoymaya

I followed directions except didn't baste the turkey with butter. It was delicious, moist but it didn't look as if it were cooked. I trusted my thermometer more than my eye sight (though I tried two different thermometers) as it looked raw. Other than not using the butter, I've no idea why it didn't look good.

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over 2 years ago RitaVDZ

Just ate the bird, everyone loved it. Followed the directions to the tee, except I put herbs under the skin and leek, carrot, celery and onion under the bird. Delish and definitely will do it again.... and just maybe for every bird ever in my future. A terrific easy recipe. Just salt, time and patience. Very forgiving.

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over 2 years ago kcc

i have a 27 lb turkey brined and chilling in a cooler with ice on the porch. now how do i air dry it? it won't go in the fridge. and what about rinsing? not? and do i stay with the roasting 20 min a pound rule? it's not going to be stuffed.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Kcc, if you have room to keep some ice in the cooler and also set the turkey in, patted dry and uncovered, go for it. If not, it's okay to skip this drying stage -- it will still be good (Russ Parsons says so). Just pat it dry well with paper towels and leave it out uncovered as it comes back down to room temperature for the hour before roasting. As for timing, you kick start it at higher heat for the first 30 minutes, so it will probably roast in just under the time that the USDA recommends for a bird your size (about 5 1/2 hours). Just be sure to start checking the internal temperature in the fleshy part of the thigh at around 4 hours to gauge its progress and pull it out when it hits 165, covering any parts of the skin that seem like they're browning too fast with foil.

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over 2 years ago MrsMaltby

If I start this now do you still think it will be good - 24 hours vs. 3 days? A lot of brines say 24 hours so I think it will be ok?

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Sure, go for it! Russ Parsons answered this (among other questions from readers) here in 2009: http://articles.latimes... Sounds like the shortened time won't have quite the same effect so you'll just have to watch the bird more closely to make sure it doesn't overcook.

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over 2 years ago Sonkie

Thank you everyone. There is about a cup in the bag so it sounds like I'm on schedule!

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over 2 years ago thirschfeld

You are good to go. There should be about a cup of blood in the bag. Continue as scheduled

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over 2 years ago Sonkie

Help - new to the dry-brine method! I started dry brining Monday night. As of Wednesday morning, there is some watery/bloody liquid in the bag. Is this okay at this stage or should this have been reabsorbed by now? I was planning on taking it out of the bag late tonight and letting it air dry in the fridge overnight but am concerned about the liquid. Do I need a new turkey?

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Hi Sonkie -- don't worry, this is normal! The salt first pulls some moisture out of the turkey, then draws it back in. If you used a frozen bird or didn't pat it dry before starting, it'll be even a little wetter. Tonight, just pull it out of the bag, rinse it if you want, and pat it dry well (inside and out) with paper towels for its final drying stage in the fridge.

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over 2 years ago Tammy Ward

Would this work for a deep fried turkey?

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

I've never tried it but I don't see why not! I would think you'd want to give the skin plenty of time to dry uncovered in the fridge, so it gets nice and crackly.

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over 2 years ago QbanLuli

Hi, I just found your site and think this recipe sounds awesome! My question is this: I normally slow cook my turkey overnight so my oven is available on Thanksgiving for all the other stuff I make. Its now Tuesday so I'll have to follow the quick-brine method but can I still put it in the oven to slow cook @ about 11p.m. Weds. night?

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

If you normally slow-cook your turkey, there's nothing about this technique that will hurt that. Let us know how you like it!

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over 2 years ago thirschfeld

Just delivered the first two birds to the PreK for first round of school parties. OMG, so good, this is exactly what you want a turkey to be, its turkey. I have brined over the years and it works and is really good but this is better, no doubt in my mind about it. Two more turkeys to go this afternoon to Kgarten, and my two birds for Thanksgiving are dry brining now. This recipe alone is worth $9.99 and I would still splurge for the pinot, it the holidays after all.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

This is great news! I'm so glad you liked the results. Follow-up question -- where the heck did you store 6 brining turkeys?

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over 2 years ago thirschfeld

I have an extra fridge in the garage. I put each in a bag then stacked them, two to a container in one of these http://tinyurl.com/7x55go7... I still had room for all the apples and cabbage that were root cellaring in there. Yeah I know why the hell do you have those but remember I used to cater back in the day.

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over 2 years ago everblessed

Just put it together tonight (I know it's not 3 1/2 days, but I JUST got the turkey, running behind this year) and very excited for the results...mouth is watering in anticipation!

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over 2 years ago nan8LT

What effect does the honey have on the skin being crisp?

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I don't have a great answer to that. I did the honey-salt paste under the skin, then followed it with a duck fat and shallot mixture. I also rubbed the outside of the skin with oil. It came out a gorgeous mahogany color and was quite crispy.

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over 2 years ago phyllis

I only have 36 hours from the time I receive my turkey until I cook it. I'd love to dry-brine it, but am not sure if I can shorten the steps. Please help. Thank you.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Russ Parsons answered this (among other questions from readers) here in 2009: http://articles.latimes... Sounds like the shortened time is doable, but won't have quite the same effect so you'll have to watch the bird more closely to make sure it doesn't overcook.

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over 2 years ago phyllis

Thanks very much, Kristen. I'll definitely use this method. Happy Thanksgiving!!

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over 2 years ago denverdawn

Oh, and I'm picking up the turkey the day before we smoke it - yikes! I guess not enough time to reap the full benefits?

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over 2 years ago Mcriden

Hardlikearmour, how did you get the paste to stick to the skin? I wasn't confident the paste was sticking and abandoned it in favor of pure kosher salt.

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I put the paste under the skin - which is how Cook's Illustrated does the dry-brine with just salt - so it worked well, but is obviously more work on the front end. I also put a duck fat mixture under the skin before cooking, so having the skin loosened ahead of time makes the day-of prep a little easier.

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over 2 years ago katethecook

Is 3 days necessary? I'm picking up my turkey the day before Thanksgiving, so I've only really got 24 hours. Any quick tips? I've got a garlic scape compound butter in my freezer - could incorporate that.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Russ Parsons answered this (among other questions from readers) here in 2009: http://articles.latimes... Sounds like it's doable, but won't have quite the same effect.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

p.s. I'd salt it first for the 24 hours, then rub the butter under the skin in the hour it comes to room temp before roasting. The butter sounds great!

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over 2 years ago lisabu

What about gravy? Can you make pan gravy out of the drippings, or will they be too salty? Would it make sense to put an onion, carrot, and celery on the bottom to flavor the drippings for gravy? Also, do you stuff the bird inside with anything? Thanks! This looks great. Also, i assume you can't stuff this turkey with regular stuffing...does anyone stuff anymore?

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

The drippings won't be too salty -- just be sure you don't use overly salted stock, so you have more control over the seasoning in the end. The onions, etc. sound great, and you can stuff with whatever aromatics you like too! Technically you can stuff the bird with regular stuffing, but you just have to make sure it cooks through to 160 degrees, as with any other stuffing. Personally, I'm a dressing-on-the-side girl. Here's more from Russ Parsons on all sorts of questions like this: http://www.latimes.com...

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over 2 years ago True Blue

Can the turkey go on a sheet pan covered with plastice wrap instead of in a bag? Also, if salting while defrosting you will have to skip salting the inside because you won't be able to remove the neck and gizzards. Will that effect the results?

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Hi True Blue -- I think the plastic wrap idea sounds great as a workaround, and if you wrap it well enough, it will probably hold in moisture better than those turkey oven bags do (they leak a little). I didn't have any trouble getting the giblets out of my frozen bird, but yours are stuck, you could try running some lukewarm water in the cavity until they're thawed enough to pull out, then pat the inside dry with paper towels before sprinkling with salt.

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over 2 years ago Nanny Linn

I am planning on cooking my bird in the Weber. Any thoughts?

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Nanny Linn, check out Russ Parsons' story on grilling the dry-brined bird, which he perfected last year: http://www.latimes.com...

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over 2 years ago CA Bell

This method sounds very, very intriguing! Will it would on a Butterball?

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Butterball's website says that the breast meat of their turkeys has been "deep-basted" -- which involves a salty solution, so brining could make the bird too salty. But on this Chowhound thread, someone mentions that Butterball also sells fresh, unbasted turkeys -- if you have one of those, you might be fine (check the ingredients and sodium count to be sure): http://chowhound.chow.com...

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over 2 years ago galsmu

So why does the Butterball website have all of these brining recipes??? Based on the 2007 chowhound link above, it sounds like their hotline is out of sync with their website unless they've changed their 'recipe' since then.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Who knows? Maybe the brining recipes are intended for their fresh birds, or maybe the effect of the sodium in the "deep baste" is actually pretty negligible. Not sure, since I haven't tried this recipe with a Butterball (kosher birds, which get salted briefly in processing, were fine though). Some people on the Chowhound thread did report brining a Butterball with good results.

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over 2 years ago starving_artist

Can I do this with a roasting chicken? And if so does it need the full three days?

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Absolutely! In fact, this recipe was inspired by Zuni Cafe's dry-brined roast chicken. Here's the recipe on Serious Eats (it calls for 3/4 tsp sea salt per pound, and 1-3 days brining time): http://www.seriouseats...

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over 2 years ago hbgrrl

I abandoned the wet brine method after reading this in the LATimes way back when. It IS genius! I've had a perfect bird, thanks to this method. That said, the only additions I make are a compound butter with herbs and garlic that I smoosh under the breast. I also give the turkey a good EVOO rubdown. Other than that, I don't do a thing.

One thing that is not mentioned....be warned: this brined bird will cook faster than what you're used to. Plan accordingly! lol

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over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

OK riddle me this - I am now thinking I should dry brine the 20 legs we will be smoking for TDay - that should work fine right? AND - I love HLAs honey addition - honey smoked turkey legs??

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over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Reporting in - SUCCESS! We did 3 legs in salt and garham masala, and 3 in salt and honey per Hardlikearmor's suggestion. Both were delicious - but the honey one ruled the day so that is how we are going on TDay. We smoked them for about 4 hours, they were GORGEOUS deep bronzed, and absolutley perfect salt / sweet / smoke flavor.

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Thank you so much for this recipe! I was *just* contemplating the way I'll prep my Thanksgiving turkey. I've done a wet brine for the past 5+ years, but this method seems so much simpler and more effective, with the added bonus of taking up less fridge space!

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over 2 years ago sunnyluz

I made this recipe last year - my first hosting T-giving - and it was both easy and delicious! It's on my plan for this year as well!

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I love the dry brine method! I found that if you make a paste with honey & kosher salt (2 parts salt to 1 part honey) the salt dissolves and disappears quickly. I've done it with a couple of chickens and a turkey and the salt pockets are gone within 24 hours.

Gator_cake

over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I need to add that I put the salt-honey paste under the skin.