Gramma’s easy dry-brined roast turkey

Steaming turkey fresh from the Egg

Steaming turkey fresh from the oven

Vinny has invited the whole family for Chrisrmas. They all said YES!

That’s when his sleepless nights and bad dreams began. He had never in his life before tackled a humungous roast turkey. Vinny’s nightmares starred dry stringy white meat and rubbery drumsticks as a centerpiece for his big night.

What to do! Then he remembered Gramma and the wonderful meals he had eaten at her place before she down-sized. He went for a visit to her tiny one-bed condo on the ground floor to ask her about it.

She said Easy! Dry brine is the way to go. Simplest way… Moist meat. Lots of flavor. Buy a fresh bird, not butterballs or their friends or other fancy things. No self-baste or kosher, as too much salt already. That’s a recipe for a big heart attack. Just get a plain fresh turkey. Frozen has too much water… You’ll get soggy meat.

So, here’s how. Simplest best roast turkey ever. Put on your rubber gloves and let’s get cooking!.

Del bastes the Christmas turkey

Gramma bastes the Thanksgiving turkey, 1955

Gramma’s Easy Dry-Brined Roast Turkey, Best Way
Serves big family, even picky two-year old


Give fresh turkey a nice bath in sink. Rinse under arm pits. Open legs. Rinse between cracks. Swish water inside too. And under skin.

Put clean turkey in big roasting pan. Upside down, first. Say thanks Bro’ for feeding you.

Pat turkey all over with paper towel. Pull out little paper bag with pappy’s nose, heart, liver and stuff.

Throw handful sea salt inside stomach. Yes, I know… Turkeys don’t have noses. People also call this little lump of fat a cute word for belly button. Turkeys don’t have belly buttons either. But let’s not get technical. People can call it what they want. Unwrap these goodies and toss them back inside turkey. Except maybeyou can just throw out pappy’s nose. Enjoy life!

Sprinkle sea salt all over bottom of bird. Just cover the skin, but not like a blanket. Turn over, and do same to the top. If you go overboard, gravy will be too salty. Remember, no heart attacks.

Lift up skin over meatier parts and rub salt in there. It needs to get into the meat to break down proteins. That’s how to get a juicy bird. More flavor.

Let turkey sit like this, uncovered in fridge, for at least 24 hours. Longer is better.

Roast like normal… 15 minutes per pound at 325F, no foil. Internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh must get to 180F (82C). Then let turkey have a rest on countertop for 30 minutes before carving. Give it time for juices to flow deep into meat… Not all over the plate when you carve.

Vinny roasted his dressing in a cassarole along side. Safest way, Gramma said. Everyone had a great time… Loved the turkey. Even picky little guy said it was yummy. Vinny was very surprised. And grateful. Perfect for Christmas.

Bill addresses the Thanksgiving turkey, with Karen and Sharon

Grandpa thanks the  turkey for feeding us

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