Nine years ago, my brother Steve and I were faced with the daunting task of cooking Thanksgiving dinner for our family two months after our mom died.
She had written down the recipe for her Thanksgiving turkey and dressing, but, as we learned, she must have scribbled it out months after November had passed because nothing came out the same. It was, shall we say, not the best Thanksgiving, on many levels. We floundered for several years after that first year trying to recreate Mom’s magic, never quite reaching the pinnacle of her expertise.
Four years after that first, horrible Thanksgiving, Steve approached me with a proposition: what if we scrapped Mom’s turkey recipe and tried something new? He’d read about a “dry brine” technique in Bon Appetit magazine and he wanted to try it.
It seemed like a breeze. Rub a salt and herb mixture over the turkey, stuff it in a turkey brining bag and let it sit over night. The next morning, rinse off the brine and then slather it in butter. Why not?
Good golly, Miss Molly, the turkey was amazing. AMAZING!
Steve and I looked at each other, and without a word passing between us, we knew that we had done the unthinkable. We made a turkey that was better than Mom’s. Far better. It was moist and bursting with flavor. The gravy was a little salty but we fixed it by making a bigger batch. We have used this dry brine technique ever since.
I found the recipe for you on Epicurious.com, so I won’t duplicate it here. No wonder it is so great. It was created by Rick Rogers, an award-winning cooking teacher and prolific cookbook author. Click on the link below to get the recipe. Try it. And then tell me if it’s not the easiest, moistest, tastiest bird you’ve ever place on your Thanksgiving table.