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Dry brining feedback

BillHartmann's picture

I used a dry brining that was in the local paper. 1/4 cup plus pepper and herbs for 12 lb bird.

It was SO MUCH easier then the wet brining that I had done in the past.

But I think that it was a touch too salty. Not that anyone complained, even after I told them that.

But I think that I will cut the salt down just a bit next time.

The LA Times article only 1 tbs/4 bls.

http://www.latimes.com/theguide/holiday-guide/la-fo-turkeycontest,0,929580,full.story

But the also brined it (both dry and wet) for 3 days.

That seems like a lot.

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William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe
. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe
Gretchen's picture

(post #36748, reply #1 of 28)

Did you rinse it?

Gretchen

Gretchen
BillHartmann's picture

(post #36748, reply #2 of 28)

No.

I do rinse the wet brine birds.

But there is nothing on the surface, except the herbs, on the dry brined birds.

And the skin is dry.

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William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe
. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe
suz's picture

(post #36748, reply #3 of 28)

Cut down on the salt and I think you will be even happier next time.

Gretchen's picture

(post #36748, reply #4 of 28)

There's no salt on the skin?

Gretchen

Gretchen
BillHartmann's picture

(post #36748, reply #5 of 28)

No visible salt. Apparently the salt draws out the moisture and it dissolves the salt and then brine works back into the meat.

That is the way that several of the articles describe it.

Now when I was carving it ahead of time I did some quality control testing and the skin did seem to be a little saltier. But it is the white meat that noticed the taste on. And even if there was a little extra on the skin that I was able to rinse off I don't think that it would have any affect on the white meat.

I don't remember what the dark meat tasted like. I will have to check that on the leftovers.

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William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe
. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe
teebee's picture

(post #36748, reply #8 of 28)

I also dry brined my turkeys, per the recipe in Bon Appetit. It directed you to rinse the bird thoroughly and pat very dry before roasting. I just brushed on some butter, put some sage leaves, onion, carrot, and celery in the cavity, and ground just a bit of pepper on the skin. It was not at all too salty.

tones's picture

(post #36748, reply #9 of 28)

Is that recipe accessible?  I didn't see anything about rinsing the dry brined turkey in the recipes from Pam Anderson or the NY Times.  Does anyone know what those resources think? I did not rinse as I thought 4 TBSP salt didn't seem like a great amount for the 20 lb. turkey I was fixing.  I don't think this turkey was too salty.  I do remember needing to rinse the bird after wet-brining. 

Heather's picture

(post #36748, reply #10 of 28)

I don't rinse mine. I think one of the benefits of salting and leaving the turkey uncovered is to dry the skin and make it more crisp after roasting.

tones's picture

(post #36748, reply #13 of 28)

Thanks, Heather.  I like to get confirmation or in some cases, different thoughts.  Did you salt and air-dry just one day?

Heather's picture

(post #36748, reply #14 of 28)

If I'm organized I do it for a couple of days.

Risottogirl's picture

(post #36748, reply #17 of 28)

I don't rinse mine. I think one of the benefits of salting and leaving the turkey uncovered is to dry the skin and make it more crisp after roasting.


I agree. I have been seasoning my poultry this way for AGES, long before I ever heard the term "dry brining" and I never rinse for very reason you describe.  Two days is better than one if it can be managed.


Never a problem with salty drippings. Of course my palate may be skewed toward seasoning as it was trained - more in the french manner :)



Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay


Edited 11/30/2008 3:12 pm ET by Risottogirl

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

tones's picture

(post #36748, reply #19 of 28)

Hi, and thanks for your input.  Do you air-dry for 2 days or put in a bag for one day and air-dry one day?  I'm not sure if air-drying for more than a day would do something unwanted. Thank you.

Risottogirl's picture

(post #36748, reply #20 of 28)

Air dry all the way...

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

teebee's picture

(post #36748, reply #11 of 28)

I haven't looked on the Bon Appetit website (I had the issue), but I would assume that it was there. I rubbed the salt/herb mixture all over the turkeys, inside and out. I believe that it was 1/3 cup, which is quite a bit of salt. I then put the turkeys in a bag and back into the fridge. I convect roasted my turkeys, so the skin was nice and crisp (started them breast side down, per Pam's instructions). Pam did not call for her turkey to be rinsed after salting. This recipe had some other herbs, including torn bay leaves, so I wanted to rinse. I used the drippings for the gravy, but the stock I made had no added salt.

tones's picture

(post #36748, reply #15 of 28)

I appreciate your details, teebee.  I, too, convected and I was very happy with the results.  When I quickly looked at the amount of herbs in the recipe, I was wondering about if it was too much.  And the recipe calls for dried herbs.  For about the last 4 years I have been using fresh thyme, sage, and parsley in my dressing and a couple of each with fresh rosemary in the cavities of the bird.  You liked the taste of the bird you cooked with all the dried herbs?  I am thinking that I might try this recipe for Christmas.  Although I did like the simplicity of the turkey I made this year.  I didn't even put anything on the skin before putting it in the oven...no butter or oil. 


I haven't had time to check the recipe fully.  What temp. did you have the oven at Convection?  Mine was 325 degrees (Pure Convection) to preheat and cook for the first 10-15 mins., and then I turned it down to 300.  It was such a pretty golden-colored turkey.  Thanks again for your input.

teebee's picture

(post #36748, reply #18 of 28)

Yes, the taste of the turkey was good. Since the herbs were rinsed off, they were not overpowering. The only seasoning I used after rinsing was ground pepper (just a little on the outside), and a couple fresh sage leaves inside (with celery, carrot, and onion inside as well). I set the ovens at 350. I still had an issue with one of the ovens smoking quite a bit, but the other did not smoke at all. That temperature may have been too high. I am still adjusting to the ovens.

tones's picture

(post #36748, reply #16 of 28)

You are so thoughtful, Schnitzel, and I thank you so much!

Suzf's picture

(post #36748, reply #6 of 28)

I agree that wet brining is a bit too messy for my small & busy kitchen.  When I dry brine chicken, I always rinse it and then butter (or oil) the skin and add S&P.   You could try that next time.  Suz

suz's picture

(post #36748, reply #7 of 28)

There is a method my sister uses of mixing salt with herbs that sits in the refrig a few days and doesn't get rinsed but she uses less salt then Bill used.  I also dry brine with just salt again for that size turkey a bit less and I do rinse.

Lee's picture

(post #36748, reply #21 of 28)

I've used Judy Rogers' dry brine method for the past 3 or 4 years, but I agree with the testers in the LA Times article that 1 tablespoon of salt per 4 pounds of turkey is too much.  They neglected to specify which brand of salt they use, and it does make a difference.


I follow the recipe in the article and use 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt, or 3/4 tablespoon of Morton's kosher salt, for every 5 pounds of turkey, seal it in a brining bag and let it cure for 2 to 3 days.  I try to remember to uncover it the night before roasting, but if I forget I just pat it dry, inside and out, with paper towels.  It still browns beautifully. I don't rinse the bird, since there's nothing on the skin to rinse away; all of the salt has been absorbed into the meat.  Stuffed or unstuffed, neither the turkey, the stuffing or the drippings are salty.  We made an 18 pound turkey this year and it was juicy and delicious. 

tones's picture

(post #36748, reply #22 of 28)

Please tell me if you use convection and what temperature you roast at whether it is convection or conventional. I'm glad that you like dry brining.  I think I will stick to this method since I think my 20 lb. turkey was excellent at Thanksgiving and it was so much easier not to drench it in water.  Perhaps I will put the bird in a brining bag as you did for 2 days and then take it out to air dry for one more day. Do you know the reason for not leaving out to air dry for 2-3 days?   Thanks for your thoughts.


Edited 12/2/2008 1:27 am by tones

Gretchen's picture

(post #36748, reply #23 of 28)

I roast my turkey at 325* conventional. Convection usually lowers the temp by 25*.  DS's convection oven did it "automatically"--if I set it on convection and entered 350*, it set itself to 325*.  I guess it thought it knew best.

Gretchen

Gretchen
tones's picture

(post #36748, reply #26 of 28)

Thanks, Gretchen.  You know, my mom always cooked her turkey at 300 or 325, but there was so little information out there then.  So, I have made it a bit more difficult than necessary...but now there is browning, brining, blasting, convection...  I tend to overthink things.  Thank you for your info.

Lee's picture

(post #36748, reply #27 of 28)

It has become rather confusing, hasn't it?  DH keeps telling me that if it ain't broke, don't fix it, but I'm always looking for a better way to do something. 

Gretchen's picture

(post #36748, reply #28 of 28)

My father used to cook ours all night.  Put a piece of cheesecloth soaked with the turkey drippings over the breast--stuffed with chesnut bread stuffing. Big yum!!

Gretchen

Gretchen
Lee's picture

(post #36748, reply #24 of 28)

I roasted it at 325 degrees.  I did not use convection.  I had a "discussion" with Pam Anderson before Thanksgiving when she was answering questions here.  She recommended roasting at 275 degrees for a turkey that's 17 pounds or larger, then raising the heat at the end to brown the skin.  I'm going to try that next time. 


I'm not sure why they direct you to put the turkey in a bag for most of the curing time (I'm sure plastic wrap would work just as well).  I assume it keeps the turkey from drying out too much, although Risottogirl said earlier that she lets the turkey sit for 2 days uncovered.  I dry brine chickens for 2 to 3 days on a rack covered loosely with a piece of foil, which is what Judy Rogers recommends in her Zuni Cafe cookbook.  I think she really got the whole salting thing started.  The chickens aren't dry, so I can't answer your question with any certainty.  Maybe someone else can come up with the answer. 

tones's picture

(post #36748, reply #25 of 28)

Thank you so much, lee.