Turkey Perfect: Dry Brining Your Turkey

Benefits of Dry Brining

A juicy, flavorful bird starts with brining. It is the most important step in preparing the best turkey possible. There are thousands of articles on brining, but we have broken it down the basics to tell you everything you need to know on how to create the juiciest bird.  

First, there are two types of brining: wet brining and dry brining. We are fans of both, but for different reasons. Wet brining is guaranteed to bring moisture and flavor all the way to the bone, even on very large birds. However, when you submerge your bird in a liquid solution the skin absorbs the liquid and in turn, may not brown as well. You can easily overcome this by brining a day or so ahead then refrigerating your brined turkey, uncovered for 12-24 hours. The skin will dry and brown and crisp to perfection when cooked. 

While both methods are super easy, with Dry Brining there is no submerging in liquid. You simply rub the dry brine inside the cavity, directly on, and underneath the skin of the bird. The best part? You can even do this while the bird is still thawing. What a time saver! Your bird will brine in its own flavorful juices and because it is not soaked with water, the skin naturally becomes thinner and drier, giving you that crispy, flavorful skin everyone fights for at the Thanksgiving table. Also, if your turkey brines longer than the advised time period, do not fret. Unlike wet brining, dry brining is more forgiving with time and your protein can withstand the extra few minutes.  

If you have a rather large bird (20 pounds or more) it might be hard for the dry brine to penetrate all the way to the bone at the thickest part of the turkey’s breast. So, for extra large birds, we find that wet brining is the best route.  Both methods are effective and Fire & Flavor offers easy brining solutions for whatever method you choose. There is no doubt, you will be sitting down to the best turkey your family has ever had.

How to Dry Brine

Remove giblets and neck from your fresh or partially frozen turkey and pat it dry with paper towels.

Using your hands, loosen the skin under breasts and meaty part of legs. Season the inside cavity with 1 teaspoon of dry brine and rub about 4 teaspoons of brine under the skin of the breast and legs.

Sprinkle the remaining dry brine over your turkey’s breast and legs, making sure to coat the sides and wings as well.

Bend the wings back and tuck under the breast.

Place your bird breast side up in the refrigerator, uncovered, and brine for 2-3 days. Once fully brined, do not rinse your bird but brush with oil and cook to your liking.

Turkey Breasts: Dry brine with 1-2 tablespoon of brine per 5 pounds of turkey

Tips for Dry Brining

  • If you are adding different spices and herbs to your turkey, do so before the dry brine takes place.
  • We do not recommend stuffing a dry brined turkey.
  • Even if your bird is partially frozen, you can still start the dry brining process while it is thawing.