For tender, juicy roast turkey, you can’t top dry brining. The combination of kosher salt and fresh herbs keeps your turkey moist and adds classic flavour. Top it all with a butter and brown sugar glaze with a bit of citrus zing and get ready to dig into a holiday meal you’ll never forget - and you’ll make again next year!
3 days of brining
- 1 8-12 lb (3632 g to 5448 g) turkey (fresh or thawed from frozen), giblets and neck removed from the cavity 1 8-12 lb (3632 g to 5448 g) turkey (fresh or thawed from frozen), giblets and neck removed from the cavity
For the dry-brine:
- 2 tbsp (17 g) kosher salt 2 tbsp (17 g) kosher salt
- 1 tbsp (14 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar 1 tbsp (14 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp (2 g) fresh sage, finely chopped 1 tbsp (2 g) fresh sage, finely chopped
- 2 tsp (2 g) fresh thyme, finely chopped 2 tsp (2 g) fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 2 tsp (2 g) fresh rosemary, finely chopped 2 tsp (2 g) fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- ½ tsp (1 g) black pepper, preferably freshly ground ½ tsp (1 g) black pepper, preferably freshly ground
For the glaze:
- ¾ cup (188 ml) chicken stock ¾ cup (188 ml) chicken stock
- ½ cup (113 g) butter, unsalted ½ cup (113 g) butter, unsalted
- ¼ cup (54 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar ¼ cup (54 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) honey 1 tbsp (15 ml) honey
- 8 pcs (9 g) lemon or orange zest, wide strips 8 pcs (9 g) lemon or orange zest, wide strips
- 2 tsp (4 g) smoked paprika 2 tsp (4 g) smoked paprika
- 1 tsp (6 g) garlic powder 1 tsp (6 g) garlic powder
- 1 tsp (3 g) onion powder 1 tsp (3 g) onion powder
Pat dry the turkey, including the cavity, with paper towels until it is completely dry.
Using your hands, carefully loosen and separate the skin from the meat over the breast and, if possible the legs of the bird, without tearing it. Place the turkey into a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk together kosher salt, the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, finely chopped sage, thyme, and rosemary, and black pepper until thoroughly combined.
Sprinkle and rub about 2 teaspoons of the dry-brine mixture into the cavity of the turkey. Use about 5 teaspoons (3 teaspoons on the breast meat, and 1 teaspoon per leg) of the dry-brine and rub onto the meat under the skin. Sprinkle the remaining dry-brine mixture over the skin of the entire turkey.
Place the turkey back into the roasting pan (or baking sheet) and place into a plastic bag and seal (or cover turkey with plastic wrap). Place the covered turkey onto the bottom shelf of the fridge; 48 hours.
Uncover the turkey and discard any liquids that may have accumulated in the bottom of the pan. Place a wire cooling rack or roasting rack into the pan or rimmed baking sheet. Place the uncovered turkey onto the rack. Place uncovered turkey onto the bottom shelf of the fridge; 12 to 24 hours.
Remove turkey from the fridge and pat dry with paper towels removing any moisture and excess salt; do not rinse. Allow turkey to sit at room temperature; 1 hour.
Position oven rack in bottom third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
Add aromatics to the cavity of the turkey now, if using. See Chef’s Tips.
Fold the neck skin of the turkey under, and secure with a skewer. Tuck wing tips under the bird and tie legs together with kitchen twine.
Place pan into the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes or until skin begins to brown in areas.
While the turkey is roasting, prepare the glaze.
For the glaze:
In a small pot, combine the chicken stock, butter, the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, honey, strips of lemon or orange zest, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Place over medium heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved and glaze has slightly thickened; 5 minutes. Keep warm.
After roasting for 20 minutes, rotate the roasting pan and brush turkey with the prepared glaze. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F (163°C).
Roast for approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes (depends on the size of the bird), rotating the pan throughout the cooking time to ensure even roasting, until turkey is a deep golden brown colour and a thermometer when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (without hitting the bone) registers 165°F (74°C) and 155°F (68°C) for the breast. Generously baste the turkey with the glaze approximately every 20 minutes while roasting.
Once cooked, transfer the turkey to a large platter or cutting board. Tent loosely with foil and allow turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving. This redistributes the juices throughout the bird and the residual heat will continue to cook the turkey as it rests. Turkey is safely cooked when the internal temperature at the breast is 170°F (77°C) and 180°F (82°C) at the thigh.
Use a sharp carving, boning, or chef’s knife to slice the turkey. Serve immediately.
*If using a larger bird or smaller cuts of meat (for example, if just using turkey breast or a chicken), the rule of thumb is for every 4 to 5 lbs, use 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs, and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper.
*This recipe can also be used for roasting a chicken.
*Try different herbs in the dry-brine.
*If the turkey appears to be browning too quickly, simply tent with aluminum foil.
*If the pan is dry while roasting, add a cup or two of chicken/turkey broth or water to the pan.
*If you want to roast vegetables with the turkey, add them around the outside of the turkey during the last 45 minutes of roasting.
*If planning to use any of the pan drippings as gravy, do not season until the very end. It will likely not need any salt.
*If using a frozen turkey, ensure that the turkey is completely thawed. Thaw frozen turkey on the bottom shelf of the fridge in its original packaging. Allow at least 24 hours for every 5 lbs.
*Do not brine preseasoned, pre-salted, self-basting turkeys as this will result in an overly salted bird.
*Start dry-brining the fresh or thawed turkey 3 days before you plan on roasting the turkey.
*Optional: Lemon or orange wedges (whichever citrus zest was used in the glaze) can be thrown into the cavity of the turkey, along with sprigs of sage, thyme, and/or rosemary, a quartered onion, and/or garlic cloves.