Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Salt-Crusted Turkey

Salt Crusted Turkey
Each year that I host Thanksgiving I brine my turkey. Usually it's a simple salt and water solution that the turkey soaks in overnight. The salt pulls the moisture to the surface of the turkey and keeps it that way, resulting in a very delicious bird.

This year, I'm switching things up a bit. Rather than soak the bird in brine, which calls for a large enough vessel to completely cover the turkey, I'm salt-crusting. There are many recipes out there for a salt-crusted turkey, but they are for a crust which bakes around the bird and is then broken away once baked. My own thoughts were to crust the turkey with salt and herbs, marinate for several hours in the refrigerator, and then roast as usual.The ending was pure bliss. The turkey was moist and delicious and the salt and herbs weren't overpowering. The gravy was even wonderful after augmenting the drippings with salt-free stock and water.

I suggest trying it beforehand with smaller poultry like a roasting chicken, but do try it, my whole family loved this and there's no way I'll be able to have Thanksgiving this year without it.

First thing's first, though - you need to start with a quality turkey. I prefer Butterball, I've never had one yet that wasn't perfect and I know each time I purchase one I'm getting the best there is. So, I started with the right turkey and the recipe goes a little something like this:

For a 10-12 pound turkey, combine 1 cup Kosher salt, 2 teaspoons ground sage, 2 teaspoons crushed thyme and 1 teaspoon crushed tarragon. Mix well and coat the washed and dried turkey with the mixture, inside and out, leaving a crust surrounding the bird. Refrigerate, covered lightly, for 4 hours or up to 8.

Salt Crusted Turkey
Properly crusted bird

Roast the turkey according to directions and when it's done, break away any excess salt crust, being careful not to let it fall into the drippings in the pan, and discard. Baste the finished turkey with pan drippings or extra salt-free stock.

Salt Crusted Turkey
Perfectly roasted

Carve as usual and make sure to add enough water or salt-free stock to the drippings, tasting frequently, to lower the heavy salt content. You can also play it safe and use purchased turkey gravy.

Now, here's the fun part of this post - I have 2 FREE BUTTERBALL TURKEY CERTIFICATES to give away and all you need to do is post here in the comments about your favorite turkey preparation or holiday memory and I will choose 2 winners on Friday the 20th of November.

**Turkey for this post and turkey certificates were given to me free of charge. this post contains my unbiased opinions of Butterball and I was not sent compensation in any other way.