Help me gobble this gobbler
November 24, 2008 1:26 PM Subscribe
Have you ever dry-brined
posted by peachfuzz to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I just picked up this year's fresh bird from a local farm. I've done the brine thing before, and was reasonably pleased with the results, but I'm more and more intrigued by the idea of a salt rub - I hate messing about with coolers and gallons of icy poultry-contaminated water, and I've used the Judy Rogers salt/dry brine method on roast chicken for years with great success. Easy-peasy prep, juicy breast meat, crackling skin - perfect, for a three and a half pound bird. I'm nervous about translating it for the big dinner, though.
My questions -
1) If you've done this before, do you have any tips on handling, ratios, timing, anything? Right now, I'm leaning towards kosher salt mixed with dried herbs, a tablespoon per pound, with about 60 hours covered and 12 hours uncovered to dry. Do you turn the turkey during the salting? Massage or otherwise redistribute the salt? Is more or less salt better?
2) Do you stuff the bird? If so, do you undersalt the stuffing? I have a favorite dressing recipe, and much prefer to cook at least some inside the turkey, but have been reading that it's not a great idea for brined or pre-salted roasts. Ditto for drippings/gravy - should I roast some extra parts in case the turkey drippings are too salty?
3) Any tips in general for cooking a 21 pound turkey? This is bigger than any turkey I've ever cooked before, and I'm nervous about cooking it through without burning the outside. With 13 or 14 pound turkeys I start at a high temperature, then lower, then turn it back up for a final browning, flipping it several times. I'm nervous about trying to turn a turkey this big, though; I guess I can shield the breast with some foil for the beginning. I am stressed about temperature and timing, though - do you have a definitive cooking method for big birds?
Thank you so much! I know it seems like I'm overthinking, but I'm pretty committed to having actively good (not just edible/we can suffer dry meat for tradition) turkey for my Thanksgivings, and it gets me really anxious every year - I hate cooking for a houseful of people when the centerpiece dish hasn't even gotten a trial run, and it just isn't practical to try out a bunch of different variations before the big day.