Dry-brining yields a juicy, seasoned bird—minus the gallons of water and angst over where to put the bird bath. All you need is kosher salt.
Pick the Right Turkey
Opt for a natural or heritage turkey with no salt added, because you’ll be seasoning yourself. That means steer clear of kosher turkeys, which are pre-salted. It’s OK if you dry-brine a frozen or thawed turkey.
Calculate the Salt Ratio
Measure out 1 tablespoon of kosher salt for every 5 pounds of turkey. For a 12-pound bird, that means a little more than 2 tablespoons.
Give the Bird a Rub
Dry off the bird, then rub salt into the cavity, the legs, and the breast. If you’re working with a thawed bird, rub the salt under the skin. If it’s frozen, you can salt just the skin; the salt will seep in as the bird thaws.
Let the Turkey Rest
Seal the turkey in a plastic bag and refrigerate, breast-side up, for one to two days (two is ideal). After a day, the salt will draw juices out of the turkey. The turkey will then reabsorb the juices, sucking the salt in with it.