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Nov 20, 2011 11:15 AM

How to brine/season turkey in under 24 hrs?

I'm getting a fresh turkey delivered to my house sometime Weds AM/early afternoon. I'd love to try Russ Parson's dry brine method, but I have less than 24 hours from the time I get the bird to the time I stick in the oven.

So how would you cook this turkey? I usually like aromatic seasonings, but am open to anything that will produce a tasty, flavorful bird!

Thanks so much!


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  1. Last year, at a coworker's recommendation, I used this recipe for brining:
    I used an oven roasting bag instead of a stockpot - I figure that's why they come in 2-packs. I left the bird breast side up rather than flipping it, but otherwise followed the directions. It worked pretty well and I'm going to do it again this year.

    1. Even though the Russ Parsons method is called "dry brining" it isn't actually a brine; it's closer to a rub. There is no chance that his method will work in the amount of time you have available. If you're committed to brining, I'd suggest a standard brining method. However, in your circumstances, I'd opt for a coating of herb butter.

      7 Replies
      1. re: todao

        and I'd put that seasoned butter between the skin and the bird.

        1. re: wyogal

          I'd recommend that you season your own butter, using garlic powder and smoked spanish paprika. I promise that you won't be disappointed.

          1. re: jkling17

            i put fresh garlic, thyme and zest of either orange or lemon, plus salt and pepper.

        2. re: todao

          + 1 on the herb butter under the skin.

          you can also air-dry the turkey, uncovered, salted, in the fridge as soon as you get it home. this will help crisp the skin.

          fwiw, i started using parson's method last year and will do it from now on. wow, just delish.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            Sorry - I didn't mean to imply that there should be no seasoned butter under the skin. That too is important. But also spreading it on top of the bird helps to brown it and the browned seasoning in the butter helps to give the resulting drippings that eventually flavor the gravy greater intensity.

            1. re: todao

              Great, thanks for the ideas. I wish I had more time, but I console myself knowing I'm getting a super-fresh, free-range bird.

              So if I air dry the bird as suggested in the fridge, would I apply the herb butter right before cooking?

        3. If you decide to go with a classic brine, you have enough time - I put ours down in the brine before going to bed on Wed night. Cant speak to the other methods, but this one works fine.

          1. I did a 24-hr. "dry-brine" two years ago and it turned out great. I salted, massaged and left out in the fridge. It looked bruised at about the 12-hr. mark, but then was OK.

            It turned out great -- it was a natural, unmolested organic turkey, so it wasn't injected with anything. I winged it, no question, but I didn't have enough time to follow the Parsons recipe and didn't have anything big enough to do a wet brine for an 18-lb. bird.

            So I don't recommend or guarantee or even endorse this method, but it did work.