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Dry-Brined Roast Turkey

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10 to 12 servings Medium
Total: Active:
1 Rating 

Ingredients (3)

  • About 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 (14-pound) turkey, preferably organic and pasture-raised, defrosted if frozen
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
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Dry-Brined Roast Turkey

Easier than submerging a turkey in a bathtub filled with ice cubes and salt water, dry brining—rubbing well with kosher salt and allowing time to let the salt penetrate—yields a crisp-skinned, noticeably juicy bird that’s seasoned all the way down to the bone. Give yourself at least 24 hours (and preferably 48) before you plan to roast—and don’t forget to completely thaw the turkey before brining.

For more holiday inspiration, check out our Fried Turkey with Southern Rub, BBQ Turkey, and Basic Roast Turkey. We also recommend using the leftover turkey carcass to make some easy homemade turkey stock.

Helpful Hints: Here’s how to fix dry turkey, and how to quickly correct undercooked turkey.

See our Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving for everything else you need to know.

Instructions

  1. 1Between 24 and 48 hours before cooking, rub the kosher salt all over the turkey, under and over the skin and in the cavities. Place it in a roasting pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  2. 2The day you plan to serve the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator about 1 hour before roasting. Using paper towels, dry the turkey inside and out. Rub the softened butter all over the skin. Set the turkey breast side down on a roasting rack inside of a roasting pan just big enough to hold the turkey.
  3. 3Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Roast the turkey for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 350°F. Continue to roast, basting the turkey occasionally with the pan juices, for 1 more hour. Remove the turkey from the oven and carefully turn the bird breast side up. Continue to roast until the temperature reads 165°F in the thickest part of the breast away from the bone or 170°F in the thickest part of the thigh away from the bone. The turkey juices should run clear.
  4. 4If the breast skin is not brown enough, increase the temperature in the oven to 500°F and roast for 15 minutes until browned. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer to a carving board, loosely tent with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes while you prepare the gravy from the pan juices.
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