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  • Dry Salt-Brined Turkey
  • Dry Salt-Brined Turkey
  • Dry Salt-Brined Turkey
  • Dry Salt-Brined Turkey
  • Dry Salt-Brined Turkey

Dry Salt-Brined Turkey

Food | October 26, 2015 | Nik Manojlovich
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
  • 180 Minutes
  • 11 pounds
  • Moderate

This recipe for DRY SALT-BRINED TURKEY will astound you. Who knew that preparing a tender, moist and flavourful turkey could be THIS easy?

Any at-home-chef-wannabe will agree – preparing a memorable roast turkey dinner can be nerve wracking, and if your road to making the perfect turkey has been like mine, you’ve tried everything! You’ve roasted a turkey covered in bacon, you’ve plumped it up with salted water, you’ve grilled it slathered in sauce. I will admit, I haven’t done the deep-fry in hot oil version because it scares me and I value our cedar deck, and the overall structure of our cottage, a bit too much!

Thankfully I stumbled across this recipe and everything changed. Gone are the worries about tenderness, flavour, texture and doneness. This recipe yields a perfectly cooked turkey each and every time. Here’s the deal on preparing a Dry Salt-Brined Turkey.

1) ORGANIC – If possible, purchase your turkey from a certified organic farm. Ideally, you’re looking for a bird that has been organic-fed and raised free-range. I think it’s also important to use a turkey that has never been frozen. Trust me, you will taste the difference.

2) PLAN AHEAD – Make sure to purchase your turkey at least four days before you plan on cooking it to give enough time to complete the brining process.

3) HERBSFeel free to change up the herbs you use.Try different combinations of rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram, parsley, tarragon and oregano. Create your own winning herb combination.

4) IT’S IN THE BAG – When picking up your turkey, ask your butcher for two oversized turkey bags. You’ll need to place your turkey into them when you begin the brining.

5) GIVE IT A REST – Promise me you’ll allow your roasted turkey to rest, covered on the counter for 30 minutes before you carve. This is essential as it will allow the juices to settle before carving.

My only other suggestion is a comment about the overall cooking time. The first time you make a turkey in this fashion you’ll think “Hey! This cooking time can’t be right!”, yet it is. Remember, dry-brining causes the turkey to retain it’s own natural juices for moisture. Your turkey will roast in less time than you’re used to, but the finished bird will be crispy-skinned and tender with a pure, rich flavour. I promise!

This recipe for a DRY SALT-BRINED TURKEY will have your guests asking for more while leaving you proud as a peacock at your culinary accomplishment!


Ingredients & Amounts

  • 1 fresh organic turkey, 20 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup kosher salt


  1. Remove extra turkey parts (neck, heart, kidney, liver) and reserve. Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry using paper towels. Carefully slide your hands between the skin and meat loosening the skin around the shoulders, breast, thighs and drumsticks.
  2. Fine chop herbs and mix together with olive oil. Rub the herb mixture under the skin, on the meat, trying to disperse the herbs as evenly as possible. Pat the skin back into place.
  3. Rub the kosher salt inside the cavity and on the skin. Tie the legs together or tuck them under the flap of skin at the opening of the cavity, then tuck the wings behind the back. Transfer the turkey into a large plastic bag and tie, super-tight! Place this into a second bag and tie tight again. Refrigerate the turkey and turn it each time you open your fridge over the next THREE days.
  4. The night before you roast, remove the turkey from the bags. Discard the bags and any juices collected in them. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and place into a roasting pan. Transfer the prepared turkey into the refrigerator UNWRAPPED overnight.
  5. Place oven rack in the bottom-third position and pre-heat oven to 425°F. Remove turkey from refrigerator one hour before roasting. If making a dressing, prepare now and transfer it into a poultry bag, and then into the cavity of the bird right before cooking.
  6. Place prepared turkey into oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°F and continue roasting for an additional 2 hours, basting every 30 minutes or so.
  7. Turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh reads 170°F, or when a drumstick gives easily when pulled.
  8. Remove turkey from oven, cover with tinfoil and allow the juices to settle for 30 minutes before carving.
Listen on MUSIC

Listening to great music is an important part of every Weekend at the Cottage but Nanny, Lisa and I were so busy yapping, we forgot to turn on the music! I do have a wonderful suggestion for you, something soothing and relaxing while your turkey roasts – Mahler: 10 Symphonies – Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra & Rafael Kubelik. Visit iTunes to add this music to your collection.


Nik Manojlovich

Nik is the creator, host and brains behind Weekend at the Cottage. He loves sharing his wisdom and experience about the things that interest him most.


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