• 1 turkey, 12 to 16 pounds, thawed
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt for each 5 pounds of bird
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • citrus fruits (such as lemon, tangerine or Meyer lemon), cut in half
  • pomegranates, cut in quarters
  • whole bay leaves

Dry brining makes for a very moist turkey with a better texture than a wet-brined turkey, which can get a bit spongy from its long soak. As with wet brining, the flavor you get from dry brining is deep and delicious—it gets pulled right into the meat. Dry-salt brining works just like traditional salt-water brining. After sprinkling the turkey with salt, you let it sit for several days. The salt pulls the moisture from the meat, and as the turkey sits those salty turkey juices get pulled back in, moistening and brining the meat.

 

  1. Have the turkey thawed four days before cooking in order to start the dry-brining process. Remove giblet packet.
  2. Sprinkle entire turkey with salt. Concentrate the bulk of the salt on the thickest parts of the turkey: the breast and thigh sections. Also sprinkle inside the cavity.
  3. Place turkey in a large resealable bag (a 2.5-gallon bag should be sufficient). Place in the refrigerator and allow to sit for three days.
  4. After three days, remove turkey from the bag. You should not be able to see any salt on the surface of the turkey, which should be moist, but not wet. Allow the turkey to air dry in the refrigerator overnight (8 hours or more). This will keep the skin of the cooked turkey crisp.
  5. Before cooking, allow the turkey to come to room temperature.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Prepare bird as desired, brush with butter and cook on a roasting rack in a roasting pan, breast-side down, for 30 minutes.
  7. Flip the bird and reduce the oven temperature to 325° F. Cook turkey until interior temperature at the deepest part of the thigh reaches 165° F, about 2 hours and 15 minutes more. Remove from oven. Tent with foil and let sit 30 minutes to settle and allow juices to redistribute.
  8. Meanwhile, lightly oil the citrus halves and char them in a preheated grill pan for a few minutes. They will omit a very pleasant citrus aroma.
  9. Arrange turkey on a platter and garnish with citrus halves, pomegranates and bay leaves.
  10. Watch your guests enjoy the moistest, most delightfully textured bird they’ve ever tasted!

 

Pairs with: Acacia Chardonnay