How To Dry Brine a Turkey
Time to practice my turkey cooking skills in preparation for the big day coming up.
I figured I might as well do a step by step on the dry brine process while I was at it.
Started with a non-enhanced all natural ~12lb bird
I wanted to show that you can in fact dry brine a frozen turkey, so this was a frozen turkey I picked up, I put it in the fridge overnight just to begin the thawing process.
The next day I unwrapped it, and it was still frozen, but at the least the exterior ice glaze had softened up. So I ran the frozen bird under the faucet to melt the rest of the glaze off.
This is what I ended up with
It is still a frozen hunk of meat, but the outside has been thawed enough where brine will adhere
I applied Naturiffic Harvest Brine according to the directions on the package
Spread the dry rub around as evenly as I could and then wrapped in plastic wrap
The turkey went into the beer fridge on Friday evening around 8pm
Monday at 12pm (~64 hours later) it came out of the fridge and was unwrapped to air dry.
At 3pm it came outside and lounged around a bit while waiting for the sauna
It (Tom Turkey) is sitting on a poultry pedestal, typically used for beer can chicken. I use it without the beer or the can, because, while some like to Spatchcock or lay them down, I like to cook my whole birds standing up!
The sauna is a 14.5" Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM).
I like using it because I like to cook poultry with a water pan.
I loaded the WSM up with Kingsford Applewood Charcoal and 1 minisplit of Hickory and set it to run at 300F
Here is Tom enjoying the sauna
After ~4 hours in the sauna, Tom was ready for a rest.
Note: I actually got busy and accidentally overshot the cooking time. The breast was 165F when I pulled it, and I typically like to take it out 10 degrees or so less than that.
Fortunately, this is one of the advantages of a brine, it extends your window to achieve juicy meat.
Here is a short vid of the juices pouring out of the small hole that the Thermapen went into, once I brought it in to rest.
I should have had my hip waders on, the juice that came out of this turkey when sliced was serious.
It sliced up nicely
I hope you enjoyed looking at it as much as I enjoyed cooking it!
It sure was tasty.
Turkey sandwiches was lunch today, and Turkey ala King is dinner
In summary: There was not any water or any other type of moisture added to this turkey during the brine.
The only outside moisture introduced was in the water pan in the WSM while the bird was smoking.
You can see the results, just as juicy as any wet brined Turkey with great color and texture.
If you are thinking about a brine on your turkey this year, I highly recommend you take a look at using a dry brine.