Monday, November 26, 2012

Roasted Dry-Brined Turkey



I hope all of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday!  

This year, I decided to try a new recipe for my family's Thanksgiving turkey. In the past, I've brined turkey in seasoned, salted water but I didn't like having to find enough refrigerator space to keep a bucket large enough to hold the turkey and brine liquid. I found this recipe for dry-brining and the reviews were very good. The reviewers mentioned how crispy and good the skin was. That was enough to hook me!

They were right!  The recipe produced a tender and delicious bird with amazing, crispy skin.  During the first part of the roasting process, the turkey is placed breast down in the roasting pan, which helps keep the breast juicy and tender.  The tricky part is flipping the turkey onto it's back again - but since the recipe calls for a 10-12 turkey, it wasn't too difficult.  If you need a larger amount of turkey for your gathering, I suggest making two birds - one the day before and then another one the day you plan on serving it for that crispy skin. 


The high heat during the roasting process makes this turkey finish much faster than other recipes - unless you decide to stuff your turkey as I did - then it takes somewhat longer to finish. Let your meat thermometer by your guide.

Roasted Dry-Brined Turkey

Adapted from Fine Cooking
Printable Recipe

You will find my notes for a stuffed turkey in italics and underlined throughout the recipe.

Serves ten.

One 10- to 12-lb. turkey
1/4 cup kosher salt (I used slightly more than half that amount with good results)

2 medium to large yellow onions, unpeeled and cut into eighths*
2 medium carrots, unpeeled and cut into 1-inch chunks*
2 medium ribs celery, cut into 1-inch chunks*

*Note:  I did not use the onions, carrots and celery as I made my usual stuffing

The night before: Remove the giblets from the turkey, cut off the tail, if attached, and reserve them for your gravy or another use. Rinse the turkey thoroughly and dry with paper toweling inside and out. Sprinkle the salt all over it, starting on the back side, then the cavity, and finally the breast. Put the turkey on a wire rack set over a rimmed pan or platter and refrigerate uncovered overnight. My discovery - If you tuck the wings under the back before you put it into the refrigerator overnight, then the wings will remain neatly tucked when roasting the next day. 

One hour before roasting: Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature. Place stuffing in turkey cavities, if using.  Fifteen to 20 minutes before roasting, position a rack in the lowest part of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Put half of the onions, carrots, and celery in the turkey cavity (eliminate this step if you have stuffed your turkey). Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Tuck the wings behind the neck and under the turkey. Scatter the remaining onions, carrots, and celery in a large roasting pan fitted with a V rack (again, eliminate this step if you have stuffed your turkey). Set the turkey, breast side down, on the V rack.

Roast for 30 minutes. Pour 1 cup of water into the roasting pan and roast for another 30 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven and close the oven door. With two wads of paper towels (or clean oven mitts) carefully turn the turkey over so that it's breast side up. Add another 1/2 cup water to the roasting pan. Return the turkey to the oven and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 170°F, about another 45 minutes for a turkey in the 10-lb. range, or about another 1 hour for a 12-lb. turkey. Here again, as my turkey was stuffed, it took longer to roast - perhaps an additional hour.  (Keep a close eye on the vegetables and pan drippings throughout the cooking process. They should be kept dry enough to brown and produce the rich brown drippings to make gravy, but moist enough to keep from burning, so add water as needed throughout.) Transfer the turkey to a carving board or platter, tent with foil, and let rest for at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour before carving and serving.  If your turkey was stuffed, remove stuffing to a separate bowl as soon as you can handle the turkey.

53 comments:

  1. As a rabid devotee of brining I am intrigued by this method. I didn't cook a turkey this year, but when I do (maybe after New Year's) I'll try this method (the salt that is, the high temp is something I've set off my smoke alarms with before).

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    1. 400F didn't cause any smoke at all, Stephen. Hope you try it!

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  2. Susan..your pics could be in any magazine..what a beautiful bird..
    Super interesting method too..love the tucked wings..like shaping it for keeps.
    Maybe next year for us:-)

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  3. We dry brined too, and loved the result! What a beautiful turkey Susan.

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    1. Glad you liked it too, Debbie! The reviews were great so I knew it had to be good.

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  4. Sounds like a winner Susan - I'd never heard of this method.

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  5. Since the skin is my favorite part of poultry... ☺

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  6. This sounds quite straightforward and a good solution for those of us who don't have walk-in fridges! I love the thought of the crispy skin.

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  7. That's a beautiful bird! I'll bet it was amazing! I hope you had a wonderful day with our loved ones.

    I bought a kosher turkey or the first time, so it's already been brined. We really enjoyed it too!

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  8. My son wet brined the turkey and had a bit of an accident in the fridge. Dry brining sounds much easier. We'll be trying that next year.

    Hope you had a wonderful day with your family.

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  9. Yum! Your turkey looks yummy! I have never brined one - wet or dry.
    Have a great week!

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  10. Oh my goodness that looks really tasty. I had to giggle when you talked about flipping your bird, that does seem a bit tricky! I thought about brining a turkey this year and like you the whole bucket in the refer thing seemed a bit daunting, but this I could do. Maybe this winter :)

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  11. o my that looks really golden crispy and tasty!

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  12. What a perfectly golden turkey to enjoy my friend :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  13. Look at that crispy skin. Amazing. I've never brined a turkey either because of refrigerator space. Great idea.
    Sam

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  14. I've always wanted to brine our turkey too but haven't due to lack of refrigerator space! This is the perfect solution~ love the beautiful color of your bird! Hope your Thanksgiving was delicious as your turkey looks :)

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  15. We had a smaller turkey this year and I did the dry brining. It was, as you said, delicious and so much easier than the wet brining method. I did the dressing separately and stuffed the cavity with the vegetables. That turned out very well too.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  16. I never tried the classic brining method thinking it was too much trouble; now this one has got my attention! the bird does look super crispy and still tender. Yum. Will check out this technique next time, thanks Susan!

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  17. This turkey looks absolutely beautiful.. not to mention delicious! As M says..perfect for any magazine!the skin truly looks crispy..I have to admit that we don't often eat turkey. I think the last time we had it, was when we lived in SC for 2 years...12 years ago...
    Hope you had a great thanksgiving.
    Ronelle

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  18. Good to know about dry-brining! I'm not sure how my aunt and uncle made theirs but I'll be sure to pass this along to them, because your bird looks wonderful!

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  19. My Thanksgiving was great I was with American frieds and it was cooked stuffed with tangerines and oranges..it was so goooooooooooood!!! I like your recipe...xoxoxoxo Flavia

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  20. Oh, Susan, even after days of eating turkey, your photos make me want more. I usually roast a large turkey, but I would love to try your recipe with a smaller one, perhaps after the holidays one cold January day :)

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  21. looks perfect and I agree with Marigene :_)

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  22. Hi dear this turkey look absolutely delicious!1

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  23. Looks beautiful your turkey...perfect! Picture perfect since I cannot taste it :)
    Have a great week Susan!

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  24. What a beautiful turkey. I did a dry brine this year too, but keep forgetting to take pictures.

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  25. I was so pleased to read this, Susan. Space in the fridge is exactly why I've never brined a turkey. Can't wait to try this next year. Looks wonderful.
    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

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  26. I've heard of high heat roasting for a turkey but have never tried it. Yours certainly looks beautiful.

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  27. Gorgeous roast turkey! I'm saving your recipe with such wonderful detailed instructions;-) for my next attempt at roast turkey. I tried the recipe(rub in the salt and seasonings to rest for a few days before roasting) from Ina Garten's latest cookbook for this past Thanksgiving and it was pretty good but I'm always open to try new things;-)

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  28. That turkey is picture perfect; I had never heard of dry brining. The first turkey I cooked many many years ago, I cooked it breast down; I was so embarrassed. I have to tell you it was juicy good.

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  29. I've heard of a few different people dry brining their turkeys this year and loving it. I may have to try next year!

    Sues

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  30. This year we had a turkey throw down: I brined my bird and cooked in the oven, and my husband brined a bird and smoked in the Big Green Egg. ---We had 2 birds brining in our extra refrigerator! I think we will have to give this dry brine a try.
    p.s. Remember your Chive Pull-Apart rolls? I have made them a few times since your post, and included them in our Thanksgiving dinner. They were a hit!

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  31. Susan, you know it's a perfectly-cooked turkey when a non-turkey eater, like me, is drooling over it.

    I also like to start cooking the turkey (or chicken) breast side down. Turning it over, however, it's always an interesting feat. One of these days, I'll make a video and put it on Youtube :)

    I have yet to try the dry-brine method, but you've inspired me.

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  32. This turkey looks absolutely delicious Susan !Hope you had a great thanksgiving! A warm hug...

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  33. I hope you had a great holiday. The turkey looks like it belongs in a magazine!

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  34. I have avoided brining a turkey for the same reason - where do I put it? I love a good crispy skin on a turkey and I'm really tempted to try this method. Your turkey looks perfectly cooked, Susan.

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  35. I thought I'd posted a comment here already but I guess not. I've been so busy with classes lately that I've barely had time to post for myself and I see you must be busy as well.

    Your turkey is beautiful! I've never tried flipping the turkey over although I've heard it's wonderful and your photo is proof of that. I think I'll have to try that next year and see how it goes or next time I make a whole turkey if it's before Thanksgiving. Beautiful!

    I hope you and your family had a nice holiday.

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  36. I have never dry brined. I have brined and really not noticed much difference. The biggest factor for me is buying a fresh bird from a local organic - or grass fed bird - farm. Incredible. I will try this. Your bird is stunning. I have never been able to plate a turkey like this without it being dry. I have stopped lifting it in the roasting pan and as a result, it is gorgeously brown and roasted on the top, yet bathing in its own juices and falling apart, quite literally - almost a confit.
    I am completely charmed by your incredibly successful presentation, Susan!

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  37. I'm loving this method for cooking a turkey. Saving the recipe for my next bird. Happy Sunday!!

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  38. My family is celebrating our Thanksgiving today and I've got the turkey in the oven as we speak :) I'm a wet-briner, but I'll admit that I'm always striving to get that crispy delicious skin. Thanks for the run-through, maybe I'll give dry brining a shot next year.

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  39. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I love baking sourdough, i'm sure you would too - definitely worth the effort.
    To start the starter you need 100g flour, 120g of water and a simple sugar (a teaspoon of honey or even a small amount of crushed fruit). leave it in a cupboard that will keep a steady temperature the best and leave for a day or two, (depending on you climate). It will form little bubbles on top (and sides if in a see through container) then its time to begin the feeding process.
    Take 220g of the starter and mix with 100g flour and 120g water. repeat this process every 8 hours (this may also vary depending on your climate). after doing this for a week i made my first loaf of bread. used 200g in my bread and used the remaining 220g to continue my starter.
    Combine the 200g of starter with 380g flour, 205g water and a teaspoon of malt or honey. Mix together then add 10g of salt. It will be very sticky but it does become more manageable. Knead for 2 minutes then rest for 2 minutes, repeat 4 or 5 times. Rest for 20 minutes in oiled bowl, fold over it self twice then rest for 2 hours, fold again then rest another 20 minutes. Shape (i just use a tea towel lined bowl) and leave in fridge for 12-24 hours. Leave at room temp (i measure internal temp to 16degrees celcius), then place on a pizza stone that has been heated to very hot. Spray the oven with water to create steam, close the door and reduce oven temp to 210degreesCelcius. It will take about 45minutes (i turn mine a couple of times).
    HOpe this helps. :)

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  40. I love brined turkey but the space it takes up in he refrigerator is definitely an issue. This dry-brined method is definitely an alternative.

    Velva

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  41. We make the turkey during Christmas Day! Your bird looks perfect Susan. I printed the recipe to see if I can make it this year!

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  42. Perfect Turkey, Susan. It looks delicious :) Sounds like a great idea to dry-brine the bird.

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  43. I love brining a turkey, and just did so last weekend for a church dinner. Two women brought turkeys for the group, and I was embarrassed/proud that mine was eaten first and I got lots of "how'd you do dat" questions! I have to try this dry method.

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  44. The skin on your turkey does look incredibly crispa dn golden, Susan. I must try this method next time I cook a turkey as it sounds easy and so good!

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  45. Hi, your roasted turkey look perfect. Love the crispy skin and the left over breast meat is perfect for sandwiches or fried rice.

    Have a lovely day ahead.

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  46. The skin looks so crispy! I have to remember the dry brining next year. This year, I roasted my first turkey and brined it in water and yes, it was hard to find room. Thankfully my husband let me use his beer brewing pot :)
    I can not imagine roasting anything bigger than 12 lbs!

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