Thanksgiving Turkey Dry Brine Technique


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, 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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rick Roger’s Salt Roasted Turkey with Herbs and Shallot-Dijon Gravy

7 replies
    • Gwen Ashley Walters
      Gwen Ashley Walters says:

      Thanks Bonnie! If you do try it, let me know. We follow the recipe fairly closely (although I don’t measure the herbs anymore, just throw them in) and I don’t make the exact same gravy.

  1. Jackie Davis
    Jackie Davis says:

    Hey Gwen! Hi, I used to work with your wonderful mother Jerry here at the Appraisal Dist. We were just talking about her, reminiscing about all the wonderful food she would bring in around the holidays. My favorite of hers (possibly yours) was a fantastic guacamole dip. Is that recipe located in any of your cookbooks?

  2. Mary
    Mary says:

    Thank you so much for the turkey tip! I tried the dry brine recipe today and it was easily the best turkey I’ve ever roasted. No more wet brine hassle for me!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] again. That holiday time. Time to start thinking about turkey and stuffing and whether to brine or dry brine. Time to start assembling recipes and making shopping […]

  2. 5 reasons to make cranberry sauce now » Jill Silverman Hough says:

    […] again. That holiday time. Time to start thinking about turkey and stuffing and whether to brine or dry brine. Time to start assembling recipes and making shopping […]

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