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Old 11-13-2007, 05:17 AM   #1
Rusty_Barton
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Default Dry Brined Turkey

Has anyone tried a dry brined turkey? In November 2006, Russ Parsons of the LA Times, wrote an article about testing four preparation techniques on four turkeys. #1 was brined in water, #2 was brined by sprinkling dry salt over it, #3 was roasted covered, unbrined and #4 was roasted uncovered and unbrined at high temperature.

The article said the #2, the dry brined bird came out best.

Here is a link to the article:

A Thanksgiving turkey worth its salt - LA Times Nov 17, 2006
http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20061117/AE/111170066

Here is a paraphrased version of the final, successful technique used by Russ Parsons to Dry Brine a Turkey:

Dry Brined Turkey

Buy an unprocessed or unenhanced turkey of about 12 to 16 pounds.

Salting works like brining, without the water. Just sprinkle the turkey with kosher salt, then store it in the fridge for 4-days for a 12- to 16-pound bird. At first, the salt pulls moisture from the meat, but as time passes, almost all of those juices are reabsorbed, bringing the salt along with them.

Salt a 12-16 lb thawed turkey with 1-Tbs kosher salt for every 5-lbs of bird. Concentrate the distribution of salt on the thickest parts of the meat, the breast and the thigh.

Store salted turkey in fridge in a 2-1/2-gallon sealable plastic bag.

After three days, remove turkey from bag. There should be no salt visible on the skin surface and the skin should be moist but not wet. Place turkey breast side up on a platter, return to fridge and allow the turkey air-dry in the refrigerator overnight, prior to cooking.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Brush melted butter over all of the turkey and cook bird uncovered. Do not stuff turkey. Do not baste the turkey during cooking.

Start the salted bird at 425 degrees, breast-side down. After 30 minutes, flip the bird right side up and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees for the remainder of the cooking.

For doneness, you are aiming for a final temperature of 165 degrees measured in the deepest part of the thigh.

A 15-lb turkey should take roughly 3-hours to cook.

Let the bird sit and rest for 30 minutes after removing from oven, to finish cooking and enable the juices to redistribute evenly through the meat prior to slicing and serving.


I have not tried this technique yet, but plan a dry run before Thanksgiving.
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:16 AM   #2
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As a BIG fan of brining turkey, I'd be interested in hearing your results. Keep us posted. I may have to try this method too.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:13 PM   #3
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Purchasing a Kosher bird would provide similar results out of the packaging as they undergo a similar process.
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Old 11-23-2007, 02:57 PM   #4
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Okay, I used the LA Times method to dry brine a 12-lb turkey. The results were phenomenal.

I smoked the turkey in my weber kettle at 325F to 350F until the thigh temperature was 175F. I used the indirect heat method, with a 9"x13" pan of water under the turkey on the charcoal grate, and charcoal on each side of the pan.

My family loved the turkey and said it was the best flavor and texture they had ever had.

I will be using the dry brining method in the future if I only want to salt brine a turkey. Wet brining is still useful for adding other flavors, if desired.
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Old 11-23-2007, 04:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for the update. I usually do a water brine, but this is worth a shot.
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:06 PM   #6
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I've been doing the dry brine for about 3 years. Russ at the Times put together an article back then and so I thought I would try it. They are better than wet brine in that they don't carry a spungy texture and the flavor is fantastic.

As we speak I have one that was salted four days ago on my weber rotisss. I'll se about posting pics.
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:44 PM   #7
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Are you supposed to rinse the bird before it goes on the grill ?
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Old 11-23-2007, 11:38 PM   #8
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does this dry brining change the texture of the meat at all, like the texture of a pork but is changed during the bacon curing process?

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Old 11-24-2007, 08:54 AM   #9
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Default Dry Brining

I've been doing a dry brine for years also and the results are normally very good, I'll dry brine poultry and pork with salt and maple sugar, and you have to brine for 4hrs or all day, and I'll rinse the meat before I cook it!!
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:45 AM   #10
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Purchasing a Kosher Turkey should also produce the same effect (is already dry brined in salt).
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Old 11-24-2007, 10:48 AM   #11
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I dry brined the turkey 4-days, per the LA times instructions. When I took the turkey out of the bag on the evening of the 3rd day, no salt could be seen or felt on the turkey skin. I still rinsed it inside and out. The texture of the cooked meat was firm and moist. Like many people have said, wet brined turkey meat seems more soggy.
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty_Barton View Post
My family loved the turkey and said it was the best flavor and texture they had ever had.
Had they ever had a wet brined turkey before to compare, or was it just compared against non-brined and non-salted turkey?

Just trying to get some perspective.
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Old 11-26-2007, 03:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acorette View Post
Had they ever had a wet brined turkey before to compare, or was it just compared against non-brined and non-salted turkey?

Just trying to get some perspective.
I've wet brined turkeys and cooked them in the oven. I've wet brined turkeys and smoked them in my WSM. I've wet brined turkeys and smoked them in my Weber kettle. This was the first dry brined turkey that I've prepared. So my family has had all kinds of brined turkeys. The meat was juicy, firm (not soggy) and had a nice smoked flavor. I used cherry wood to smoke the turkey at about 325F.
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Old 11-26-2007, 03:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremiah View Post
Purchasing a Kosher bird would provide similar results out of the packaging as they undergo a similar process.
How long are they dry brined?
What temperatures are they dry brined at?
Are they enclosed in a bag or open during the brining process?
How much salt is used per pound?
Is the salt applied evenly all over or concentrated in places?
Are they rinsed afterward?
How many days from brining until the bird is smoked?

Without knowing the answers to the above questions, other than putting salt on a bird, how do you know the commercial Kosher process is similar at all?
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Old 11-27-2007, 12:41 AM   #15
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Similar in that they are packed in dry salt and left that way for a while, otherwise known as a dry brine. I'm not sure of the particulars, and it probably varies a bit depending on what is purchased.
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