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Dry Turkey Brine

Dry Turkey Brine - Less Mess - Great Flavor

Dry Brining not Dry Turkey:

Using a dry turkey brine is a great option. All brines make a big difference in the final dish, but wet brining is a bit messy and can take up even more valuable refrigerator space than the turkey alone does. Dry brining is as effective, takes up just the same amount of space as the turkey itself, and is less messy. It improves the flavor of the turkey without introducing extra water into the bird as the wet brining method does.

Many people who don't think they have ever heard of dry brining might have already used the process. It was just called by another name. Dry brining is sometimes called "pre-salting" or simply "seasoning." A dry brine is just a method of applying a dry salt "cure" or "rub" to the turkey. The purpose isn't to preserve the meat but rather to enhance the flavor and texture while making it more succulent.

But there is a little magic that happens when dry brining is done right. The same process of osmosis that makes a wet brine work occurs with a dry brine too. The salt moves through the skin and into the meat taking with it some of the flavors of other herbs and spices used in the turkey brine. And because the turkey is in a bag it's juices are not lost so they help the process along.

Dry Brining Turkey

The Dry Brine Turkey Process

After your turkey is defrosted plan for one more day or at least an overnight period for this brine.

If you are going to use an injector marinade, use it first and then continue with the dry brining process. That will produce intense flavors especially nice when you are going to deep fry.

Here is a basic turkey brine for the dry brining method, and with this recipe you can make a different flavored dry brine every time you make a turkey (or a chicken for that matter.)



The Basic Dry Turkey Brine Recipe

Part of the fun of brining your turkey is using the flavors that you love, so we hope you will make up your own recipes and maybe even share the best ones with us.

Salt is critical - it is what moves the other flavors into the meat so don't cut back too much on the salt. Here is a brine recipe to get you started:

Mix a cup of Morton Kosher salt with a tablespoon of cayenne and a tablespoon of black pepper. And here is where you make it your own. Add other seasonings, herbs, spices, and flavors that you like such as sage, thyme or rosemary etc.

A good ratio is 1/2 cup seasoning or less to 1 cup salt. Many recipes call for just salt with no additional seasoning. Rub this mixture over the turkey skin, place the salted, seasoned turkey in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 24 hours, or at least overnight.

The plastic bag is important because it keeps the turkey from drying out during the dry brine process.

Before cooking, wipe the dry brine crystals from the turkey, inside and outside, with a clean dish towel or rinse off and then dry the turkey.

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