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Skip the cumbersome wet brines that call for soaking turkey and making the skin flabby. This classic overnight dry brine--a simple herb, salt, and sugar mixture--gives the turkey deep flavor and a crackly crust. Be adventurous and create your own signature dry brine using our sugar and salt ratios as a guide, or try one of our three variations below.

Recipe by Southern Living November 2014

Gallery

Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Recipe Summary

hands-on:
25 mins
total:
13 hrs 25 mins
Yield:
Makes 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Stir together first 6 ingredients.

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  • Remove giblets and neck from turkey; pat turkey dry. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. brine into cavity; rub into cavity. Reserve 1 Tbsp. brine, and sprinkle outside of turkey with remaining brine; rub into skin. Chill turkey 10 to 24 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together butter and reserved 1 Tbsp. brine. Loosen skin from turkey breast without totally detaching skin; spread butter mixture under skin. Replace skin, securing with wooden picks.

  • Tie ends of legs together with string; tuck wing tips under. Place turkey, breast side up, on a lightly greased (with cooking spray) rack in a large roasting pan.

  • Bake at 350° for 2 hours and 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion of turkey thigh registers 165°. Remove from oven; let stand 30 minutes before carving.

  • Cajun Brine Roasted Turkey: Prepare recipe as directed, substituting paprika for sage, dried oregano for dried thyme, and 2 tsp. ground red pepper for black pepper.

  • Jerk Brine Roasted Turkey: Prepare recipe as directed, substituting allspice for sage and onion powder for garlic powder and adding 2 tsp. ground cumin to brine mixture.

  • Five Spice Brine Roasted Turkey: Prepare recipe as directed, substituting Chinese five spice for sage and ground ginger for thyme.

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