Gathering around the table is a time-honored, cherished tradition for many families. It is a time to share space, reminisce, trade gossip, and make new memories. And the table will often be running over with classic dishes and long-loved recipes that fill both the body and the soul. But if you are going to forgo one traditional food item at your family dinners, let it be the overly-dry turkey. Instead, step up your game in the kitchen and try dry brining a turkey instead.
Don’t worry – the process is so easy! No muss, no fuss – just the best holiday turkey you will ever have the pleasure of eating. You can whip up your own brining mix from simple, household ingredients or you can use this brine and rub kit for an even easier dry brine.
When you season a turkey right before cooking, the seasoning (and all of the flavor) stays on the surface. With brining, the salt has time to penetrate the meat making every single bite more flavorful. And dry brining, also known as “pre-salting,” works because the salt draws out the meat’s own moisture, dissolves in the juices to form the natural brine, and then soaks back into the meat, bringing an infusion of all the other flavorings from the brining mix.
The process helps break down muscle proteins, giving way to the most tender turkey meat. It also allows the skin to dry in the fridge, instead of making it soggy from soaking in a bucket.
Handling a wet turkey is not easy, is not fun, and no one wants to do it. For wet brining you have to put your turkey in a giant bucket or bag to soak, and then worry about other nightmarish outcomes (like cleaning out a fridge flooded with raw turkey water).
Dry brining a turkey is so much easier and cleaner than wet brining. That said, dry brining does take time for the salt and juices to work together, so you will still need to leave some space in your fridge. We suggest allowing the bird to rest for at least 24 hours, but no more than three days before you cook it. The result of dry brining a turkey is a tender, juicy, and flavorful bird with deliciously extra-crispy skin. Family and guests will definitely come back for seconds!