If you ask what brine I recommend for this Thanksgiving, it’s a resounding yes to dry brine. You might ask why brine a turkey at all. The answer to that question would be just remember the last time you had dry turkey at Thanksgiving. Using a brine definitely enhances the flavor of a bird with juicy results. Dry brine is a great way to go. What is dry brine? Dry brine is essentially pre-salting a bird. There is no water or liquid involved so there is no mess! The results are a flavorful bird that is moist with crispy skin. The best part is this is super simple to prepare besides being so delicious.
From by the bay, wishing you delicious dry brine food memories!
Dry Brine Roasted Herb Turkey
1 12- to 16-pound fresh turkey, preferably organic
1/4 cup coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 springs fresh rosemary
1 onion, halved
1 orange quartered
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
The morning before serving rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Rub turkey all over with coarse salt including into the cavities. Place the turkey in a large plastic brine bag and move into the refrigerator. Before cooking, remove turkey from bag and pat dry. (There is no need to rinse it first.) Place in roasting pan and allow to come to room temperature.Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Sprinkle half the pepper into main cavity of turkey; add thyme, rosemary, onions and orange quarters. Rub butter all over the turkey including under breast skin by gently lifting the skin. Sprinkle turkey with remaining pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Add chicken broth to bottom of roasting pan and roast bird for another two hours, depending on size. Baste turkey with chicken broth every half hour. Add additional broth if needed. If turkey is browning too quickly cover breast and wing tips. Remove foil for last 1/2 hour of cooking time. After turkey has roasted for 2 hours, begin to test for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer (digital is best) into two places in thigh, making sure not to touch bone. It should be at about 160 degrees. When roasting is done, tip turkey so interior juices run back into pan. Remove turkey to a separate baking sheet or serving platter. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes. The fat and drippings can be used to make a gravy.
Note: Figure cooking time approximately 12 minutes per pound for an unstuffed turkey