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Bapst Dry-Brined Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey

By now, everyone has talked to someone who brines their Thanksgiving turkey and has heard the tales of the moistness of the bird. While this is true, the hard part for home cooks is finding a vessel that is big enough to hold the brine and a large turkey and then making enough space in the fridge to keep it all cold for 24 to 36 hours before roasting. The solution is to use a dry brine rather than a liquid-based brine. While it takes a little bit longer to penetrate, dry brine will produce a moist bird while taking up much less storage space, and it is easier to do!


12-24 lb. Turkey (see cooking times below)

2/3 cup

kosher salt


dried bay leaves

¼ cup


3 each

dried juniper berries (optional)

• Grind or crush all the spices. (This can be done in a regular Cuisinart or a coffee grinder.) Add the salt and sugar and mix or pulse a few times to mix.

• Rinse the turkey inside and out and then dry completely with paper towels. Once dry, rub all surfaces with the salt mixture. Place in a large plastic bag or an unscented trash bag, press out as much air as possible, and tie the bag off. Place on a rimmed baking sheet or a large platter and put in the fridge for 36 to 48 hours. Remove the bird from the fridge and prepare for roasting as normal.

Alumni Stadium Turkey

1 cup

brined turkey
(see recipe for Dry Brined Thanksgiving Turkey)

1 ½ sticks

softened butter

1 cup

dry white wine (sauvignon blanc)

3 each

dried bay leaves

4 each

ribs of celery

2 each

carrots, spilt lengthwise

1 each

large white onion, sliced

1 cup


• Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees – oven rack in the lowest position.

• Remove turkey from brining bag and let rest at room temperature for an hour.

• While the turkey is resting, combine the butter, wine, and bay leaves in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a simmer and then remove from the heat. Brush the entire outside of the bird with the butter mixture. Fold the wings under the body and tie the legs.

• Place vegetables in the bottom of a roasting pan (this keeps the bird from burning on the bottom and helps to flavor the gravy) and add the water. Place the bird in the roasting pan breast side up. Roast for 30 minutes, then drop the oven temperature to 350 degrees and baste the bird with the leftover butter mixture.

• Roast until internal temperature reaches 160 to 165 degrees (check temperature using a meat thermometer). Pull from the oven, carefully remove the turkey from the roasting pan, and place on a rimmed platter. Allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before attempting to carve. Cover the turkey very loosely with aluminum foil to help keep the bird warm as the juices settle in the meat. Save all the liquid and drippings in the roasting pan for gravy.

• Save the turkey carcass after dinner to make a wonderful turkey soup.


Approximate Cooking times:

Bird Weight

Unstuffed Turkey

Stuffed Turkey

12 to 14 pounds

3 to 3 3/4 hours

3 1/2 to 4 hours

14 to 18 pounds

3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours

4 to 4 1/4 hours

18 to 20 pounds

4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours

4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours

20 to 24 pounds

4 1/2  to 5 hours

4 3/4  to 5 1/4  hours


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