In a recent conversation we had with Haylie Duff on holiday entertaining, she shared the foolproof method she developed for preparing the ultimate turkey, perfect for any special feast this holiday season. They keys? Starting with a dry brine, then moving that party to the grill. Not only does this method produce a memorably mouthwatering bird, but, according to Duff, "It’s the easiest thing on earth and it frees up your oven for everything else."
Turkey Dry Brine
Recipe by Haylie Duff
Cook's note: If this seems like a lot of salt, relaaaaax, you rinse it off before you cook the turkey.
- 3 heaping Tbsp. kosher salt*
- 1 heaping Tbsp. whole green peppercorns
- 1 heaping Tbsp. whole pink peppercorns
- 1 heaping Tbsp. whole white peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp. fennel seed
- 3 whole star anise pods
- 2 large sprigs of rosemary, stemmed
- Zest from 1 whole orange
- Zest from 1 whole lemon
*Adjust according to the size of your bird; you’ll want to use about 1 heaping Tbsp. of kosher salt per 5 pounds of turkey
1. Start by toasting the star anise pods in a small skillet on low heat, just till warm. Add fennel, rosemary and peppercorns. Warm slightly, do not brown! Remove from heat and let cool. Pulse in spice blender, coffee grinder or food processor. Add zest and salt. Mix.
2. After cleaning, rinsing, and drying your bird with a paper towel, rub brine in really well, as good as you can, in every nook and cranny!
3. Let turkey sit in refrigerator, uncovered, for 24 hours.
Turkey on the Grill
By Haylie Duff
1. Prep the turkey! (See Dry Brine recipe above.)
2. After you have brined for 24 hours, rinse brine off. Rinse well, but don’t rub hard. Pat the bird dry REALLY WELL. Get under the wings, get everywhere!
3. Heat the grill to approximately 350 degrees. Place the turkey, breast side up, in a turkey-roasting pan with a grate. The grate is important. It helps heat circulate all around, so the skin isn’t sitting in juice.
4. Stuff the inside of the turkey with aromatics. Add a couple of onion wedges, fennel bulb wedges, apple wedges, and lemon wedges to the inside of the bird. Scatter some additional aromatics throughout the roasting pan.
5. Get the butter--rub it everywhere! I take a whole stick, and literally rub the turkey down. Then, I pinch off little pieces and push it far under the skin. The butter is what is going to brown that skin up and make is nice and crisp. Don’t be stingy with it.
6. Shower with kosher salt and black pepper. Place a bundle of fresh herbs inside the bird. Tuck the wings under the turkey and tie the legs together with butcher's string.
7. Place roasting pan on grill; close lid and keep it closed!! Don’t be opening and closing that thing! You wanna keep all the heat in there and keep it consistent.
8. Keep the thermometer close by--after1 hour and 45 minutes, you should check the temperature.
9. Grill to an internal thigh temperature of 180 degrees. Stick the thermometer in to the thickest part of the thigh, without hitting the bone (my turkey was 14.25 pounds and cooked for exactly 2 hours).
10. Remove from grill and let turkey rest 20 minutes before carving. Feel free to baste the turkey with melted butter halfway through, but you don’t have to.