Dry Brining Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Brining is a process that many have heard but not everyone is familiar with. Brining allows you to pack in flavor and help retain moisture while cooking your turkey. The process adds a little time to your prep, but the flavor and moisture benefits you get are well worth it.



There are two ways to approach brining your Thanksgiving turkey: a wet brine or a dry brine. A wet brine involves submerging the turkey in water with salt, herbs, and sometimes sugar. After 12-48 hours in a wet brine you will need to remove the turkey and refrigerate it for up to an additional 48 hours to let the turkey dry fully before cooking. Though you get an excellent flavor with a wet brine, it does take quite a bit more time and takes up more space in your fridge (that might already be maxed out with holiday meal supplies).



We prefer the ease of a dry brine, which essentially contains the same ingredients as a wet brine while omitting the water. This allows the turkey to sit open in the fridge without the additional space needed to have it submerged in a bag or container full of water. Not only is it an easier, shorter prep, but it leads to crispier skin as well. Once you are ready to cook there is a lot less fuss as well as it can go right in the oven. Just remember to wipe out the extra brine from your roasting pan first, so you don’t end up with super salty gravy.



For this recipe we prepared half of a 22lb turkey (11 pounds to brine). You can increase or decrease this recipe depending on the size turkey you have, keeping the 2:1 ratio of salt to poultry seasoning). When preparing your salt/spice mixture keep in mind that you will be using your hands directly on raw turkey which is why we recommend blending the mixture in its own bowl and grabbing only from the bowl to avoid cross contamination with raw meat.



In a bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of our Poultry Seasoning. Sprinkle the brine mixture over the turkey and rub it all over, making sure to really get in those nooks and crannies as well as the underside.


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Once the turkey has had a full rub-down, place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. After your brining time in the refrigerator, pull out the turkey and place on the counter for 30 minutes to slightly bring up the temperature before cooking.



If you are roasting your turkey in the same pan that you used for the brine, make sure to remove excess salt from the bottom of the pan, especially if you are going to be making a gravy from the drippings otherwise you may end up with a gravy that is far saltier than you intended.


(The turkey after 24 hours of dry brining, before being roasted.)


We hope you enjoy this super easy Dry Brine Recipe! Let us know what you think!

-Primal Palate Team


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Dry Brined Turkey

This year, we wanted to show you how to dry brine your turkey. It's far less complicated than it sounds. Basically you're salting the turkey in advance to help make the skin crispier and the meat juicier. And because you need to defrost your turkey days in advance anyway, it's one small extra step that goes a long way in the flavor department. 

Serves: 12

Serves: 12decrease servingsincrease servings



Note, these instructions are written assuming the standard serving size, since you have modified the number of servings, these steps may need to be modified for best results
  1. If frozen, begin by defrosting your turkey in your refrigerator approximately 3 days before you plan to roast it.
  2. One day before roasting, mix the salt and Primal Palate Poultry Seasoning. Remove the giblets and neck if stuffed inside the turkey.
  3. Sprinkle the brine all over the turkey and rub it in, getting under the legs and wings. You can even lift up the skin and rub it directly on the meat.
  4. Leave the Turkey uncovered on a baking sheet in your refrigerator with the dry brine on it for up to 24 hours.
  5. On the day of roasting: preheat your oven to 350F.
  6. Arrange the racks inside the oven to accommodate the size Turkey you have purchased.
  7. Prepare a roasting dish with a rack in the bottom.
  8. Place the onion, garlic, and fresh rosemary inside the cavity of the turkey. Slice the lemon in half and also place inside the cavity. Then place the turkey on the roasting rack and cover with butter or ghee.
  9. Place the roasting pan with the turkey in the center of the oven, and roast until it measures 165F in the thickest part of the breast. A good rule of thumb is 12 minutes per pound.
  10. The chicken stock should be kept warm in a sauce pan on the stove, and used for basting throughout the roasting time.
  11. You can monitor the temperature with an integrated oven thermometer, or periodically measure it with a digital thermometer.


Alternate spice blend (in lieu of Primal Palate Poultry Seasoning): 1 tsp each of Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme.

Primal Palate Spice Blends

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