Home Cooking 12

How long to dry brine? And when to air dry?

marcia2 | Nov 14, 200910:20 AM

Last year I wet brined for 24 hours, air dried in the refrigerator for 36 (don't remember where I got the reccomendations for those particular numbers) and then grilled using the technique in Raichlen's BBQ Bible. It produced a turkey that my husband pronounced the most beautiful I had ever made (It really was gorgeous) and that was moist and delicious. (Well, as delicious as turkey ever gets. I'm really all about the sides.)

So clearly this year I need to mess with success. I want to try dry brining instead.

I've been reading here. Many people reccomend the Zuni Kitchen/LA Times method which calls for 4 days of dry brining. Several posts last year noted that part way through, the turkey looked very, very bad (blue and red IIRC) but that this turned out to be just how it went in the process of having the salt draw all the moisture out and then have it all drawn back in.

The turkey is already ordered and I will pick it up Monday morning, so I don't have 4 days with it.

I was looking at the dry brining recipe published last week in the NYT, which calls for about 2 days of brining in a plastic bag and then allowing to come to room temp before roasting.

I'm concerned about the relatively short brining time compared to the Zuni method. I also worry that I'm losing something by not air drying for a good long time.

Do you think that dry brining in the bag somehow speeds up the process so that 2 days is sufficient? I could brine in the bag for about 48 hours and then air dry for about 24.

Alternatively, I could just dry brine exposed to the air (no bag) for about 72.

Any thoughts?

I would definitely reccomend grilling the turkey. It was incredibly easy (no basting, no turning), came out really well and freed up highly limited oven space.

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