A question about a recipe: Russ Parsons' Dry-Brined Turkey (a.k.a. The Judy Bird)

I have a question about step 1 on the recipe "Russ Parsons' Dry-Brined Turkey (a.k.a. The Judy Bird)" from Genius Recipes. It says:

"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." The original recipe calls for dried bay leaves in the spice rub. I would like to use fresh bay leaves instead, but I am unsure of how the quantity of bay leaves would change in using fresh vs. dried. Thanks!



dickensthedog December 28, 2011
You are welcome creamtea. I love the idea of shallots and garlic under the skin. Were you happy with your Thanksgiving turkey using Russ Parson' method?
dickensthedog December 25, 2011
Hello creamtea,
How lovely to have a fresh bay tree! The herb company didn't respond, but I guessed that they were Californian since I noticed that it said "product of the USA" on the package.; I went with a one to one ration, used 10 leaves, but chose the smallest ones,some of which were pretty tiny. I didn't get the messages in time that suggested stripping the leaves of veins and letting the mixture rest before applying it to the turkey, so I couldn't incorporate these seemingly good suggestions. I used my coffee grinder, and I ended with a very fine powder, which I applied to the turkey with a flour shaker. The powder smelled and tasted wonderful, subtle and delicate, and not too salty at all. We did rub it into the skin and also sprinkled a fair amount into the cavity. We only had 1.5 days vs. the suggested 3 days. We did take it out of its "curing bag" for the last 8 or 9 hours to dry the skin as suggested. I was nervous about not rinsing off the dry rub before roasting the turkey because the Epicurious recipe we used for our Thanksgiving turkey stressed the importance of thorough rinsing and several reviewers of that recipe warned that if you did't do so that the gravy would be intolerably salty. Our gravy was just outstanding, and it was not salty at all. I used the turkey drippings, homemade turkey stock, a roux with turkey fat and toasted flour, and a shot of port.
creamtea December 27, 2011
Thanks, dickensthedog. I'd love to try this version next Thanksgiving. I did salt mine bird a la Russ Parsons' recipe, but used less salt than called for and only 1 day, no special herbs. Stuffed shallots & garlic under the skin the day of roasting. I'll have to remember to try the ground bay leaves next time. It sounds delicious. Thanks for the update!
dickensthedog December 24, 2011
The turkey came out great. I decided to roast it unstuffed (which I don't normally do). The gravy was the best we ever had!! I used the drippings from the turkey along with turkey stock that I made and froze for this purpose, a shot of port, and a roux with turkey fat and toasted flour. The color was intense and the flavor was superb.
creamtea December 25, 2011
So glad to read this. Could you tell us how many bay leaves you decided to use in the end and how you treated them: did you grind them up fully, did you leave the paste on for roasting or scrape off, etc., was it a pasty paste or were there bits of bay leaf? I'm really interested to know; I always keep fresh bay in the fridge-- ever since buying a bay tree for my parents years ago and loving the flavor the fresh ingredient imparts.
dickensthedog December 23, 2011
thanks so much. I'll let everyone know how the bird turns out.
creamtea December 23, 2011
You might remove the central veins before grinding them. I use fresh bay all the time. The veins can be tough!
AntoniaJames December 23, 2011
I'd let the salt and ground up fresh bay sit for at least a few hours, stirring occasionally during that time. Have fun!! ;o) P.S. I spatchcocked my dry brined turkey so I cannot reply re the stuffing. I hope you have a wonderful holiday, too!!
dickensthedog December 23, 2011
Yes, I plan to use my husband's old retired coffee grinder which is now reserved for my cooking! How long would you let it sit?

Also, has anyone roasted Russ Parson's dry-brined turkey, a.k.a., "The Judy Bird," with stuffing inside the bird? If so, how did you

adjust his timing in the oven?

I am new to this board, and it is just wonderful!! Thanks so much Amanda and AntoniaJames! I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday :)
AntoniaJames December 23, 2011
For a dry brine, I'd put the fresh bay leaves in a food processor with the salt and buzz it for about thirty seconds or more, to break up the leaves into fine bits, and thoroughly to flavor the salt. I'd let it sit for a while before using. ;o)
dickensthedog December 22, 2011
Thanks for your clarification. I just e-mailed the "New England Herb Company" asking them whether their bay leaves are Californian or Turkish. My dry brine recipe calls for ten dried bay leaves. I actually bought the fresh bay leaves for the chestnut soup I will make, also for Christmas, and I just found the dry brine turkey recipe tonight, so I thought maybe I would use the fresh leaves for the turkey as well. I
Amanda H. December 22, 2011
The general rule for dried ground herbs is 2 parts fresh to 1 part dried. If a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, then you would use 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme. I'd double the number of bay leaves since you're using fresh.
dickensthedog December 22, 2011
Thanks. I have just been reading online however that fresh bay leaves are more pungent than dried (unlike most other herbs which are milder fresh than dried).
Amanda H. December 22, 2011
I should have noted that the fresh are strong, but I wouldn't say they are stronger -- unless you are talking about California bay leaves, which are super strong (and unpleasant in my view). Because you were talking about a rub and not something you'd add to a broth, I thought the fresh/dry ratio would work ok. If you're nervous then I'd go 1 to 1 rather than 1 to 2.
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