Russ Parsons’s Dry-Brined Turkey (aka The Judy Bird)

Easy, tasty and beautifully moist: This is the only way I make my turkeys now!

When some of our amazing neighbors gifted us with five turkeys, I dry-brined every one. I never liked turkey so much or found it so easy to prepare until I learned about this method.

Click here for the link and a much better picture than mine.

I adapt almost every recipe I use, adjusting it to individual tastes and demands. After rinsing my turkey (yes, I still rinse but am careful about contamination), I skip patting it dry and put it in a roaster, slathering about 3T of sea salt (depending on turkey weight–see recipe directions on link) over all the turkey, not worrying about the cavities until later because they’re usually frozen solid. I skip any other spices until after step 7.

After rinsing I fold the wings when thawed enough to do so, removing any packaged parts or plastic from the drumsticks or elsewhere, and covering without turning but refrigerating as directed (For me, it usually takes longer than 3 days). I usually forget to rub in the salt or flip and uncover the bird.

I do step 6 but don’t pat or baste with any butter on step 7. My favorite seasoning is zesting 2 limes (or 1 lime, 1 lemon) and 2T fresh or frozen rosemary, sprinkled on top of the turkey after step 7. I then halve each fruit, hand-squeeze the juice over the skin, and put the rinds in both bird cavities. I used to insert big fork tines, one on each end, to flip the turkey, which was hot and heavy. Now I just take it out of the oven while I zest and squeeze. By the time I’m done, it’s usually fine to quickly handle with my hands (but I’m kinda tough).

After flipping I do step 8, but roasting in my oven can take 3 hours or more.

I skip the foil of step 9 and try to let the turkey stand as directed before serving. Often we’re already eating it.

Since dry-brining, my turkeys taste great and and are devoured fast. Plus, the kitchen smells delicious for hours!