Succulent Dry Brined Turkey

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“Every Thanksgiving, I used to bathe my turkey in a brine made of wine, citrus and herbs and spices. Not any more! Inspired by chef Judy Rodgers of San Francisco's Zuni Café, this turkey uses the easiest brining method I have ever used. Salt it, bag it and forget it. According to all of my guests and family, it is also the most flavorful I have ever served.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Best to use a fresh turkey. However, is using a frozen bird, ensure that it is not injected with sodium. Otherwise, you’ll have an overly-salty bird.
  2. Wash turkey inside and out and pat dry. Use 1 tablespoon of salt for every 5 pounds (15-pounds would be 3 tablespoons).
  3. Sprinkle inside of turkey with salt.
  4. Place turkey on its back and salt breasts, concentrating in the center, where meat is thickest. It may take slightly more than a tablespoon. It should appear liberally seasoned, but not overly so. You can add other flavors if desired, like minced rosemary.
  5. Turn turkey on one side and sprinkle with salt, concentrating on thigh, using just over a tablespoon. Flip turkey over and salt the other side.
  6. Place turkey in a 2½-gallon sealable plastic bag, press air out and seal tightly.
  7. Place turkey breast-side up in refrigerator. Chill 3 days, turning onto breast for final day.
  8. Remove turkey from bag. No salt should be visible on surface, but skin should be moist. Place turkey breast-side up on a plate. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.
  9. On cooking day, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  10. Leave turkey at room temperature at least 1 hour.
  11. Brush turkey lightly with butter or oil.
  12. Roast turkey for 30 minutes, breast side down.
  13. Turn turkey breast side up. Fill cavity with lemon, celery, carrot, onion and herbs. Reserve parsley for garnish.
  14. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Return turkey to oven and roast until thermometer in deepest part of thigh reads165 degrees, after about 2¾ hours.
  15. Remove turkey from oven, transfer to warm platter or carving board. Tent loosely with foil. Let rest at least 30 minutes for juices to redistribute through meat. This is a good time to use the drippings to make pan gravy.
  16. Carve, garnish with parsley and serve.

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