Turkey Technique: The Dry Brine

In the Los Angeles Times, Russ Parsons shares a turkey cooking technique inspired by Judy Rodgers, the chef/owner of San Francisco's Zuni Cafe.

Saltshaker He calls it "dry-brining": "You just salt the turkey a few days in advance, give it a brisk massage every so often to redistribute the salt, and then roast it." The salt releases moisture from the turkey, which gets reabsorbed by the meat, essentially brining the bird in its own juices.

While wet-brining -- soaking the turkey in a saltwater solution -- has become a very popular way of preparing turkey, Parsons notes the technique often leads to a spongy texture. On the other hand, dry-brining leaves the turkey "firm and meaty."

While the technique is straightforward, make sure you leave enough time for the turkey to brine (three days), though Parsons writes that you can cut it back to two days.


 





Comments

I'm planning to try the dry-brining technique this year. I've heard so many good things! I'd been a little concerned about buying a fresh turkey so far in advance but when I called my butcher they said as long as it stays in the fridge it should be fine.

Btw, I found your blog through your wife. She'd suggested I check it out and I'm very glad I did!

 

Anyone know if the same amount of time should be used for just the breast? I'm guessing the two days would be enough; I'm definitely trying this this year. I've always wondered if the wet-brining..in addition to that weird texture.. also makes it more difficult to dry the skin enough to get it crisp. At least it seems to for me, unless I'm just not patient enough. And a breast isn't in the oven long enough to get a really nice crisp skin if it is even a little wet. This sounds like the answer.

 

After reading about this in Bon Appetit I wanted to practice it on a whole roasted chicken before committing to a turkey. I'm sold! It was so easy to do, combining salt w/ seasoning really enhances the effect.

 

After reading about this in Bon Appetit I wanted to practice it on a whole roasted chicken before committing to a turkey. I'm sold! It was so easy to do, combining salt w/ seasoning really enhances the effect.

 

After reading about this in Bon Appetit I wanted to practice it on a whole roasted chicken before committing to a turkey. I'm sold! It was so easy to do, combining salt w/ seasoning really enhances the effect.

 

You can always go for the Turducken

http://bestbyfarr.wordpress.com/2008/10/27/vive-la-turducken/

 

i'm guessing that if you vacuum-sealed the dry-brined turkey(is there a bag big enough?), the process would be quicker. try adding other flavorings(orange, herbs, spices), in addition to salt.

 

I did this last year for thanksgiving dinner and it was the best turkey ever.

 

wow this is a great idea, but don't you think tat 3 days is too little.
when I prepare turkey I let it marinating for 5 days

 

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