As Thanksgiving approaches, food magazines are full of recipes on how to prepare or carve the turkey. I will add to the confusion with only one simple suggestion: Dry-brine your turkey to get the most flavor and moistness from the bird with as little fuss as possible.
Found below are the reasons why a dry brine works best:
- It is far less messy and no less effective than a liquid brine;
- It helps preserve the moisture in the white meat while the brown meat of the thighs and legs reach the recommended temperature of 165°F (74°C)
- Far less expensive than store-prepared brines that have lots of bells and whistles, but don’t add much in taste.
Found below is the dry-brine recipe that we will use this year. It comes from Alison Roman of the New York Times and incorporates fresh thyme in the brine mixture. For those seeking the full recipe of dry-brined turkey with sheet-pan gravy, CLICK HERE.
Thyme Dry-Brine for Turkey
- 1 bunch fresh thyme stripped from sprigs and chopped
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons black pepper
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar I recommend little or no sugar
- Strip the leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme and coarsely chop the leaves.
- Place in a medium bowl along with salt, brown sugar and pepper; mix to blend well
- Place the turkey (12-15 pound) on a wire rack sitting on a rimmed baking sheet. Lifting the skin from the breast and thighs, rub the mixture directly onto the meat. Be careful not to rip the skin while applying the brine. Any excess brine can be placed on the surface. Pat the turkey dry.
- Place in the refrigerator uncovered for 18 to 24 hours. Remove turkey from the refrigerator to allow the bird to come to room temperature before cooking.