We’ve been dry-brining our birds for years and the result is off the charts! It’s the key to a juicy, flavourful and tender turkey every time. Does it mean starting the turkey prep a little earlier? Yes, but your family and friends will thank you for it and possibly even declare you a Thanksgiving Hero!
How does Dry Brining work?
It’s all in the Salt. As the dry-brine penetrates the turkey meat the salt molecules (an ionic compound) meet both negatively and positively charged protein molecules and cause the meat proteins to scatter. The rearrangement of protein molecules results in more space between the muscle fibers. This allows them to hold more of their natural juices which means a much juicer and more delicious turkey! Some of the muscle fibers will also be dissolved by the salt which creates a more tender final product. Prepare to be amazed. You’ll wonder why you didn’t try dry-brining earlier.
Let’s Get Started!
Dry Brining is easy. Step one is getting your dry-brine ready. Some people use just salt. Others add a little sugar. I take it a step further and add spices. The reason is efficiency.
I’m already sticking my hands in and massaging the turkey, I might as well be getting it as ready for the big day as it can be!
The quantity will vary based on the size of your turkey but the following recipe will give you a sense of proportions. You’ll need enough dry-brine to coat the inside of the turkey cavity well, under the skin very well, and a little for on top of the skin too.
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup roasted garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp smoky and sweet bbq
- Make sure your turkey is defrosted, if it’s not fully defrosted help it out by washing it out with cool water. Even if my turkey is defrosted I still prefer to wash it out but that’s up to you!
- Pat your turkey dry with paper towel.
- Put your turkey in it’s roasting pan.
- Gently push your hands under the skin and break up the connective tissue. You should be able to get all the way under the bird including into each leg. Don’t rush this step, you don’t want to accidently rip the skin!
- Now get in there under the skin with the dry-brine and massage it into the meat. Make sure a lot goes onto the breast, and that you get some in each leg.
- Use the rest of your dry-brine on the inside cavity and save a little for the top of the skin.
- Cover your turkey with parchment paper or plastic wrap and then a layer of tin-foil and put it back into the fridge.
- For best results refrigerate your dry-brined bird for 2-3 days before cooking!
Stay tuned for the next steps in cooking the perfect stuffed turkey (=
Recipe by: Sofia Martimianakis