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How to Dry Brine and Roast a Turkey

How to Dry Brine and Roast a Turkey
  • Category


  • Cusine



4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary, the leaves from about one 9-inch sprig

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

3/4 tablespoon dried sage, or 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage

1 1/4  tablespoon whole black peppercorns, ground

3 tablespoons Morton\'s kosher salt

1 1/2  tablespoons granulated sugar

Zest from 2 lemons

3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil


1 medium onion, quartered

2 to 3 cups of turkey or chicken stock, if needed


In a medium-sized bowl, combine the minced garlic, parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, ground black peppercorns, salt, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Stir to combine. Quarter the remaining lemons, and save them for the cavity of the turkey.

About 24 to 72 hours before you want to roast the bird, take the thawed turkey out of any packaging, and remove the pop-up thermometer, if it has one. Remove and reserve the giblets and neck for making gravy or stock.

Place turkey on either a cooling rack set on top of a rimmed baking sheet or directly on the roasting rack in the roasting pan . Thoroughly pat the turkey dry inside and out with paper towels. Loosen the skin of the breast and legs. Spread about half of the brine mixture under the skin, massaging it into the breasts and legs, 1/4 on the outside and the remaining 1/4 inside the cavity. Refrigerate uncovered for 24 to 72 hours.

When ready to roast the turkey, position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. If it's not there already, transfer the turkey to a roasting rack set in a roasting pan. Into the cavity of the turkey, put the quartered onion and lemon, and the rest of the fresh herbs you used for the dry brine. To truss the bird, tuck the wings under the body as best as you can. Place butcher’s twine under the turkey, close to the wings. Cross the twine at the neck of the turkey, wrap each end of twine around the tip of the leg, and tie the legs together.

Roast the turkey at 425 degrees F until the skin starts to brown in spots, about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and roast for another 45 minutes.

Rotate the roasting pan, baste the turkey with the pan juices, and tent the breast with foil to prevent it from overcooking. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 160 degrees F. This should take an additional 30 to 45 minutes; check the temperature and baste every 15 minutes until the bird is fully cooked.

Transfer the turkey to a clean cutting board and tent with foil. Let it rest 20 minutes before carving. Pat yourself on the back. Pour yourself one of these bad boys, and put someone else in charge of the dishes.