Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dry Brined Turkey

Dry Brined Turkey

Dry Brined Turkey
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This was my first American Thanksgiving. Being Canadian I celebrate Thanksgiving too, we just happen to do it in October right before my birthday. I always thought that Canadian Thanksgiving made more sense.  Instead of having two huge holidays in the span of 4 weeks Canadians spread their turkey dinners out more. But I now have to admit. Having just celebrated my first American Thanksgiving I think I'm quickly becoming a convert to the 4th Thursday in November. It's just soooo much more festive this time of year. It snowed on Thanksgiving Day here for a few hours, the pretty holiday movie snow. Downtown is all lit up and so gorgeous at night. And you get four days off instead of three and the second of those four days is the biggest shopping day of the year!

In addition to my first American Thanksgiving I also participated in my first Black Friday. I don't think I participated in it in the way it is known for but I did shop for at least an hour. I'm not much of a shopper anyway but had my sisters Christmas gift left on my list so I slept in until 10am (we had a late night! ;-),
made some oatmeal - sugar free in an attempt to detox from dinner and walked to the shops...yep I walked. There was no way I was even going to attempt to drive anywhere that day. Bend doesn't have a mall so retail is very generally divided into downtown (outrageously priced boutiques), Old Mill (Gap, Victoria's Secret, American Eagle, etc.), and the big box stores (Macy's, Target, Khols) located north of town. The big box stores are too far to walk to and it was too cold/icy for my bike so they were out. Downtown is always too expensive and the boutiques never seem to have any amazing sales so I headed to Old Mill. Those are the stores I love to shop at anyway.

Thirty minutes later I was in Old Mill and ready to see what all the fuss is about. Gap was having huge sales and was so busy I literally couldn't get to any clothes let alone try them on and pay for them. It was too much for me so I left. American Eagle had 40% off everything in the store and I got some great deals there. Bath and Body works had their large candles in holiday scents 50% off! I got two candles regular $19.50 each for $20.00 for two! I picked winter wonderland and frosted cupcake...yum! I then headed to Victoria's Secret where I got great deals on cute panties. I finished shopping in about an hour...a little disappointed about missing Gap but happy I have all my family's Christmas gifts purchased.

But getting back to FOOD as this is a FOOD BLOG. I tried out a new brining technique for the turkey. Since it was just the two of us I decided to try out some new recipes and experiment a bit with carving. Everything turned out delicious except for the pictures :( It was one of those days. I had a million things running through my head as I cooked the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, gravy, grilled asparagus and molten chocolate cake. Picture taking was not a priority. I did attempt to take pictures of the turkey. I took maybe 30 pictures and 28 of them were blurry. I think I was rushed, hungry, and slightly tipsy from the wine. At the time I was all 'whatever' about pictures. But since the turkey turned out so good...the best Shawn has ever had!!!...I wish I was more disciplined. That or I need a camera with a great flash so that I can take decent pictures when I don't have any natural light.

So here is a recipe for Dry Brined Turkey. It's easy, mess free, and makes a moist and flavorful bird. All you need is fresh herbs, salt and some pre planning. This is how I will be doing our turkey for Christmas!

Perfectly Carved Turkey Breast

Dry Brined Turkey
from Russ Parsons


  • One 11 to 12 pound turkey (Bigger is not better. When feeding a crown opt for two small turkeys instead of one big one. The quality of the meat is better)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 springs of fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp of kosher salt

  1. One week before you want to cook the turkey set it in the fridge to defrost.
  2. Three days before cooking the turkey, rinse and pat completely dry your defrosted turkey removing the neck, liver and giblets. Using the tips of your fingers separate the skin from the flesh starting at the breast and working your way back and down to the legs. Separate skin from legs as well. Place the rosemary, thyme and sage leaves between the flesh and the skin all over the turkey breast and legs. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp of salt all over the outside of the bird and inside the cavity. Massage the salt into the skin with your fingers. Place in a pan and cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 days.
  3. On the morning on the third day remove the plastic wrap, flip the bird onto its breast and place back into the fridge covered again with plastic wrap. 
  4. That night (the night before you want to cook it) Flip the bird back over and let it sit in the fridge uncovered overnight. 
  5. The next day removed the bird from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour before cooking it. Stuff it with half a lemon with juices squeezed over top of the turkey, half an onion, a few stalks of celery, and a few cloves of garlic. You can baste with butter if you like. 
  6. Preheat oven to 425F. Place turkey breast side down on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes flip bird over, easily done and mess free with silicone baking mitts, and turn down oven to 325F. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth to the bottom of the roasting pan. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165F. My 11.75 pound turkey took another 2 hours and 15 minutes to cook. 
  7. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Do not cover in foil if you wan the skin to stay crispy. We peel the skin off so it doesn't matter to us.