Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

mache

Dry "Brining" Turkey

Recommended Posts

I am thinking of dry brining and then smoking my Thanksgiving turkey and wanted to know if anyone has experience with dry brining (the smoking part is something I have been doing for a long time). I have collected some dry brining recipies from the Internet that I have listed below. I would be interested in comments from folks that have already had some experience with dry brining.

Here are some of the methods I am considering.

NY Times

12- to 16-pound turkey, preferably a heritage or pasture raised bird
1/2 cup kosher salt, more if needed

1. Two days before serving, rinse turkey and pat dry. Rub all over with kosher salt, slipping salt under skin where possible and rubbing some into cavities. Use about 1 tablespoon per four pounds of bird.

2. Wrap bird in a large plastic bag and place in refrigerator. On second night, turn turkey over. A couple of hours before cooking, remove turkey from bag and pat dry. Place in roasting pan and allow to come to room temperature.

LA Times

1. Wash the turkey inside and out, pat it dry and weigh it. Measure 1 tablespoon of salt into a bowl for every 5 pounds the turkey weighs (for a 15-pound turkey, you'd have 3 tablespoons).

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. It should look liberally seasoned, but not over-salted.

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. Place the turkey breast-side up in the refrigerator. Chill for 3 days, turning it onto its breast for the last day.

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.

Americas Test Kitchen

1 turkey (12 to 15 pounds), giblets and neck reserved for gravy, if making
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt (see note above)
2 teaspoons baking powder

For the turkey: Using fingers or handle of wooden spoon, separate turkey skin from meat on breast, legs, thighs, and back; avoid breaking skin. Rub 1 tablespoon salt evenly inside cavity of turkey, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt under skin of each breast, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt under skin of each leg. Wrap turkey tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate 24 to 48 hours.

To roast the turkey: Combine remaining 2 teaspoons kosher salt and baking powder in small bowl. Remove turkey from refrigerator and unwrap. Thoroughly dry inside and out with paper towels. Using skewer, poke 15 to 20 holes in fat deposits on top of breast halves and thighs, 4 to 5 holes in each deposit. Sprinkle surface of turkey with salt baking powder mixture and rub in mixture with hands, coating skin evenly. Tuck wings underneath turkey. Using twine, loosely tie turkey legs together. Place turkey breast-side down in V-rack set in roasting pan and drape salt pork slices over back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always dry-brine my turkey and I highly recommend it.

 

My method is:

 

12-14 lb turkey
 
Remove giblets and reserve; melt any bits of ice crystals inside with lukewarm water from the sink
 
Dry thoroughly with paper towels inside and out
 
Rub 4 1/2 tbs kosher salt (David's Salt) (1 tbs / 5 lbs, plus extra if you like) all over inside and outside, by Tuesday at 6 PM, concentrating on the thickest part of the breast and thighs
 
Leave in the fridge, open, on a rack over a roasting pan until 10 AM on Thursday morning

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dry-brine with 0.75% to 1.00% salt for at least 3 full days.


~Martin :)

I try to find the good food in every situation!

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I always dry-brine my turkey and I highly recommend it.

 

My method is:

 

12-14 lb turkey
 
Remove giblets and reserve; melt any bits of ice crystals inside with lukewarm water from the sink
 
Dry thoroughly with paper towels inside and out
 
Rub 4 1/2 tbs kosher salt (David's Salt) (1 tbs / 5 lbs, plus extra if you like) all over inside and outside, by Tuesday at 6 PM, concentrating on the thickest part of the breast and thighs
 
Leave in the fridge, open, on a rack over a roasting pan until 10 AM on Thursday morning

 

 

Slightly off topic, but after the dry 'brine' what temperature do you roast it at?


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been dry brining for several years and am very pleased with the results. Because I separated the white and dark meat this year I am going to roast at a high temp - 400F. According to the recipe I use (in this article:http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/17/food/la-fo-dry-brined-turkey-20111117 ) it needs to be done tonight. 


Edited by cyalexa (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For a long time, I have dry brined my whole chickens. 2-3 days for at least 24 hours, I let the chicken sit open on a rack like Patrick Armory. The skin seems to become thin and shrinks around the chicken. Then I preheat a cast iron pan to about 650-700 degrees on my Big Green Egg. I usually use <3 lb chickens, and the skin becomes super crispy, almost like fried chicken, and the inside super tender and juicy. The chickens cook in about 35 minutes.

The dry brining and leaving the chicken open in the fridge are key components of this technique.

Also the small chickens. I tried a 4+ lb chicken once, but it took too long to bring the interior to temp, and the outer portions of the meat were tough and chewy.

I am thinking about trying this with a turkey this year. It's a 9 lb turkey. Tomorrow I will start the dry brining. On Thursday, I plan to preheat a cast iron pan on the BGE as before, probably at 500+ degrees. Then sear the skin like with the chickens for probably 15 minutes tops. Then I'll bring the whole thing inside - either in the cast iron pan or put on a roasting rack - and then cook in the oven at a lower temp, maybe 350 or so. I'm not adverse to letting the turkey rest if thing seem to be going to fast, or lowering the temp.

Has anybody done something similar? Or have suggestions? It's just immediate family this year, and a screw up wouldn't be a disaster.

Edit: I have no interest in spatchcocking or separating parts.


Edited by Ttogull (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After the dry brine, I do a combined steam-roast as follows:

 

I stuff the turkey and rub it all over with softened butter, tying the legs together. I then it seal in a heavy-duty aluminum foil bag with air around it: Lay two sections of heavy-duty foil out in a cross, and rub the inside of the foil with plenty of softened butter. Wrap each segment loosely around the bird and crimp tightly so that no steam can escape.

 

Roast at 450F for 2 1/2 hours; remove foil and reserve drippings for gravy, return to rack in pan and continue cooking for about 30 minutes at 375F until thermometer in thickest part of the thigh reads 155F.

 

Remove bird and rest under tented foil for 15 minutes, then carve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I pre-salt the turkey with 3-5 grams salt / kg turkey, about 24 hours before cooking. If it's an air-dried bird (greatly preferred, I'll do this with the bird loosely covered in the fridge. If it's not air dried, I'll leave it completely uncovered.

 

I don't go as far as calling this dry-brining, because the salt levels aren't really high enough. With high enough salt levels to truly brine a large bird, this process would take well over a week. If you calculate the diffusion rate of salt though flesh you'll see why. You also risk curing the meat, because, the salt concentrations will be very high at first, and will stay high until the salt has diffused a ways (a long time).

 

In general I think unbrined poultry is better. But you have you have to cook it well, which is a challenge. Brining provides insurance against overcooking, but comes at a cost. Not just the time required (which is also time during which the bird is becoming less fresh) but also in the dilution of the natural juices. You get more liquid in a brined bird, but the flavors aren't as concentrated.


Notes from the underbelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slightly off topic, but after the dry 'brine' what temperature do you roast it at?

 

I separate the thighs and legs from the breast and smoke them all with four fist size chunks of cherry wood in my Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker (WSM) at 300F. I have an Automatic Temperature Controller (ATC) that maintains the temperature to within one degree F. I pull the breast at 155F and the thighs at 170F. Should take between one and a half and two hours for an unstuffed, fifteen pound turkey.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm considering dry-brining my turkey this year.  But the turkey I bought came injected with an 8% solution of broth and salt.  Can I still dry-brine it without fear of creating a salty mess?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm considering dry-brining my turkey this year.  But the turkey I bought came injected with an 8% solution of broth and salt.  Can I still dry-brine it without fear of creating a salty mess?

Sorry, but it will be way too salty.

 

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...