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Nov 13, 2012 02:24 PM

Dry brining method - please evaluate my plan

I want to try a dry brine on my turkey this year. Have never brined before, wet or dry. I have an extremely small fridge that will not accomodate a turkey.

My thought: purchase turkey and thaw in cooler in cold/ice water. Two days before dinner, prep turkey with dry brine, slip in to roasting bag and seal, then back to the cooler with ice for 48 hrs. Proceed as per instructions for roasting.

Any glaring problems with this line of thinking? Thanks.

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  1. You can start dry-brining while the turkey is still frozen so that you thaw and brine simultaneously, if you like. Leaving it uncovered for a day to let the skin dry out makes for extra awesome crispy skin, too, but I'm not sure how well that would work in a cooler (unless you've got a big one).

    1 Reply
    1. re: biondanonima

      Thanks for that - thawing and brining simultaneously would be great! I actually got lucky in that the kitchen is equipped with a decent convection oven, which does wonders on my roast chickens, so I have my fingers crossed that it translates well to the turkey.

    2. I would make room for it in the fridge. It really needs to be uncovered in the fridge, preferably on a rack.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Becca Porter

        I'd love to, Becca, but we live in the UK, where the standard fridges are insanely tiny - even with the racks removed and no other groceries, it's not even deep enough for a roasting pan to hold the turkey.
        I keep hoping Santa will bring me what the Brits refer to as an 'American fridge'. Someday!!

        1. re: tacosandbeer

          I have two fridges, and a deep freeze. I guess I am spoiled in this area. :)

      2. You definitely have some challenges. Coated in a salt cure and sealed in a bag will not yield the drier skin for that very crispy skin that dry brining brings to the table. There will hopefully be some surface brining which is what you are looking for. But I wonder how much brining is going on when the salt is applied to the skin. How much makes it to the flesh. If you can try to get some of your cure under the skin and in contact with the flesh. Doing it frozen will not allow you to do this.

        2 Replies
        1. re: scubadoo97

          Right. I would definitely thaw it first.

          1. re: Becca Porter

            I've got time to thaw first, that's no problem. As far as challenges that scubadoo97 mentioned, well, I've had to overcome sourcing anything other than a frozen or insanely expensive turkey this early in the year here, finding canned pumpkin or a decent looking pie pumpkin, explaining to my British in-laws what pumpkin pie is, and telling them that no, dinner will NOT include roast potatoes or Yorkshire puddings. And making sure that DH knows he needs to regulate my MIL's wine consumption, unless he wants to be driving her home early - Pinot Grigio brings out the Wicked Witch in her.

            So, less-than-super crispy turkey skin? I can handle that!