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Dry Brine anyone?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I haven't heard of this until today, maybe for good reason... Has anyone tried it on their birds? It seems to me that unless it was injected, too much moisture would be lost. Any advice is appreciated!
post #2 of 7

What are you calling a dry brine? the purpose of a brine is to add moisture and flavor. If it is dry I don't see it adding moisture.

Happy smoken.

David

post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfishjeep View Post

I haven't heard of this until today, maybe for good reason... Has anyone tried it on their birds? It seems to me that unless it was injected, too much moisture would be lost. Any advice is appreciated!


I've been dry brining or salt curing birds (and other meats) after learning of the process many years ago from Judy Rogers, chef/owner of the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. For a number of reasons, I find it far superior to using a wet brine. Basically, it's nothing more than the process of osmosis and reverse osmosis.

 

For a non-technical description of the subject, specifically for turkeys, Google "Russ Parsons Judy Bird", obviously without the quotation marks.

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by dls1 View Post
 


I've been dry brining or salt curing birds (and other meats) after learning of the process many years ago from Judy Rogers, chef/owner of the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. For a number of reasons, I find it far superior to using a wet brine. Basically, it's nothing more than the process of osmosis and reverse osmosis.

 

For a non-technical description of the subject, specifically for turkeys, Google "Russ Parsons Judy Bird", obviously without the quotation marks.

I did a Google search. I have to say I'm sold on the idea. I am going to give it a try on a turkey breast. Thanks for the info.

Happy smoken.

David

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by themule69 View Post
 

I did a Google search. I have to say I'm sold on the idea. I am going to give it a try on a turkey breast. Thanks for the info.

Happy smoken.

David


David, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results. A couple tips. If I recall correctly Parson's calls for 1 tablespoon per 5 lbs. of turkey. I don't know exactly how much I use but I'm certain it's a little more than that. I just sprinkle salt on until it looks like a light snowfall on the surface. Also, you can mince some herbs such as thyme, sage, rosemary and mix in with the salt.

 

I'm following a similar dry brine/salt cure process with a couple rib eye steaks for dinner this evening. For red meat, I prepare a mix made up of Kosher salt, good red wine (Catena Malbec, in this case), sugar, thyme, and lemon zest. Sprinkle lightly on the steaks and refrigerate for 6-8 hours. The curing process, plus the wine and other ingredients, adds a ton to an already great piece of properly cooked meat.

post #6 of 7

Russ Parsons' Dry-Brined Turkey (a.k.a. Judy Bird)

By Genius Recipes

This recipe won a turkey taste test with staff of the L.A. Times Food Section in 2006 and Russ Parsons, the Food Editor at the paper, has been writing about it every Thanksgiving since. The technique is inspired by chef Judy Rodgers, who dry brines the famous roast chicken (and just about everything else) at Zuni Café in San Francisco, but never a turkey. Parsons decided to try it and found, not only does it work -- it comes out perfectly juicy and crisp, with none of the sponginess that you sometimes get with wet-brined birds. He tests a new variation each year, and slashes steps he decides aren't important. He's grilled the brined turkey, and added herbs and spices to the salt -- but his most genius discovery is that you can brine a frozen bird as it's defrosting. And why wouldn't you?

Serves 11-15

  • One 12- to 16-pound turkey (frozen is fine)
  • Kosher salt
  • Herbs and/or spices to flavor the salt (optional -- see suggestions in step 1)
  • Melted butter for basting (optional)
  1. Wash the turkey inside and out, pat it dry and weigh it. Measure 1 tablespoon of salt -- we used Diamond Crystal -- into a bowl for every 5 pounds the turkey weighs (for a 15-pound turkey, you'd have 3 tablespoons). You can flavor the salt with herbs and spices if you like -- try smoked paprika and orange zest, bay leaf and thyme, or rosemary and lemon zest. Grind together with the salt in a spice grinder, small food processor, or mortar and pestle.
  2. Sprinkle the inside of the turkey lightly with salt. Place the turkey on its back and salt the breasts, concentrating the salt in the center, where the meat is thickest. You'll probably use a little more than a tablespoon.
  1. Turn the turkey on one side and sprinkle the entire side with salt, concentrating on the thigh. You should use a little less than a tablespoon. Flip the turkey over and do the same with the opposite side.
  1. Place the turkey in a 2 1/2-gallon sealable plastic bag, press out the air and seal tightly. (If you can't find a resealable bag this big, you can use a turkey oven bag, but be prepared for it to leak.) Place the turkey breast-side up in the refrigerator. Chill for 3 days, turning it onto its breast for the last day. Rub the salt around once a day if you remember.
  1. Remove the turkey from the bag. There should be no salt visible on the surface and the skin should be moist but not wet. Place the turkey breast-side up on a plate and refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.
  2. On the day it is to be cooked, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  1. Pat it dry one last time and baste with melted butter, if using. Place the turkey breast-side down on a roasting rack in a roasting pan; put it in the oven. After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and carefully turn the turkey over so the breast is facing up (it's easiest to do this by hand, using kitchen towels or oven mitts).
  1. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, return the turkey to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone, reads 165 degrees, about 2 3/4 hours total roasting.
  1. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a warm platter or carving board; tent loosely with foil. Let stand at least 30 minutes to let the juices redistribute through the meat. Carve and serve
post #7 of 7

Chef Judy Rodgers was too young when she passed.  She was a great chef!  I use a variation of her dry brine on my competition chicken.

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