Dry-Brined Turkey wtih Citrus & Peppercorn Dry Brine

For our turkey this year, I decided to try something different… I know, I know – you shouldn’t mess with the turkey recipe *right* before Thanksgiving, but I did it anyway! I had seen this recipe in my recent Bon Appetit issue, so I just had to try it!

The verdict? It was easy, and the turkey was moist & flavorful. This just might be our Thanksgiving turkey recipe from now on. And I can see the brine being used for other meats too – I’ll have to try it!


Dry-Brined Turkey wtih Citrus & Peppercorn Dry Brine
Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, Nov 2013
Servings vary

2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
2 teaspoons white peppercorns
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
6 bay leaves
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon zest
2 tablespoons orange zest

1 turkey, 12-14 lbs
1 medium onion, quartered
1-2 bunches of herbs (I used one bunch each – sage, rosemary, & thyme)
1/4 cup whipped butter
2 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth

For brine:
Toast black, pink, and white peppercorns and bay leaves in a skillet until fragrant. Let cool, then crush in a bag using a rolling pin or heavy skillet (I pulsed in my spice grinder to get a coarse grind). Mix with salt, sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest.
Citrus dry brine - toasting Citrus dry brine

DO AHEAD: Dry brine can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

For turkey:
Rub dry brine all over turkey; chill uncovered, 6–7 hours. After curing, rinse off and pat dry before roasting.
Citrus dry-brined turkey - brining Citrus dry-brined turkey - ready to cook

Preheat oven to 425°F. Rinse turkey under cold water; pat dry and place, breast side up, on a rack set in a large roasting pan. Stuff turkey with onion, garlic, and herbs. Working from neck end of turkey, gently loosen skin from breasts and rub butter under skin and all over outside of bird. Tie legs together with kitchen twine, pour broth into pan, and roast turkey 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F and roast, basting with pan juices every 30–40 minutes, adding more broth as needed to maintain some liquid in pan, and tenting with foil if skin is browning too quickly, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, 2 1/2–3 hours.

Transfer turkey to a platter; tent with foil. Let rest at least 30 minutes before carving.

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