Tuesday, November 16, 2010

LA Times Best Ever "Judy Bird"

If you've not ever brined a turkey, you've got to try it this year.

I'm giving you lots of time to prepare for this one. I love doing this and can take no credit for the method. I got it straight from the LA Times 3 years ago. It's amazingly wow!

Note: This is more a technique than a recipe. It makes a bird that has concentrated turkey flavor and fine, firm flesh and that is delicious as it is. But you can add other flavors as you wish. Minced rosemary would be a nice finishing addition. Or brush the bird lightly with butter before roasting.

The Judy Bird

1 (12- to 16-pound) turkey
Kosher salt

The Low Down:

1. Wash the turkey inside and out, pat it dry and weigh it. Measure 1 tablespoon of salt into a bowl for every 5 pounds the turkey weighs (for a 15-pound turkey, you'd have 3 tablespoons).

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. It should look liberally seasoned, but not over-salted.

3. 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.

4. Place the turkey in a 2 1/2 -gallon sealable plastic bag, press out the air and seal tightly. Place the turkey breast-side up in the refrigerator. Chill for 3 days, turning it onto its breast for the last day.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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).

8. 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.

9. 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.



  1. Hi! I might have to try this! I was considering the old oven bag method (in honor of my Mom's style of turkey making!) I could sure use a food post or two in my new linky party, Tell Me Tuesday at Vintage Pollyanna! http://vintagepollyanna.blogspot.com/2010/11/tell-me-tuesday-link-party-1.html

  2. Great Turkey advice!

  3. I have heard of this...I don't think I have room in my fridge to do this! We have stated buying the turkey breast roasts. They are so moist and flavorful with no bones or fuss..love them! :D

  4. I've bookmarked this and am going to give it a try next week. This makes more sense to me than a wet brining solution. I resist trying new things at holiday time, but maybe this is the year.

  5. I've never heard of this, it sounds interesting! I already use the fridge space to thaw the bird, what's and extra couple days:@)

  6. Thanks looks delish! I tried your turkey breast in the crock pot and guess what??? IT WAS DELISH!!! :) Thank you!!!

  7. That turkey looks so good. I've never made a turkey this way - easy enough for even me to try!

  8. Things that make me go, hmmmm.....
    I have never heard of anything like this. We usually stuff ours but make separate stuffing to eat in a casserole dish so that part is no problem.

    Very cool!

  9. I love brined turkey. Another favorite to brine is pork chops. Really helps take away that dry shoe leather texture that sometimes comes with pork chops.

  10. We would love for you to link up to THIS WEEK'S CRAVINGS, we are in need of turkey recipes.


  11. I've been wet brining but had never thought of dry brining - I'll try it with a chicken, as Christmas is a long way away to wait!

  12. Ok, remember how I said the last post was the best, well, I may have spoke too soon, this is terrific! Thanks for always being there and being a sweet as you are, love you!

  13. Now that's a beautiful bird! I need to get to the dollar store and buy a first prize ribbon for my mom's bird this year. We marinate ours in a bath of wine. Mmmm...

  14. Huh, I'll have to try this! Though I'm not cooking the turkey this year it will be great to have on file. :)
    Amie @ http://kittycatsandairplanes.blogspot.com/

  15. We brine ours and then fry it. It is delicious:) Come link up with Crock Pot Wednesdays. There's a giveaway going on. http://diningwithdebbie.blogspot.com/2010/11/crock-pot-wednesday-2010-thanksgiving.html


Thanks so much for leaving a comment. I read each and every one and they make me sing! renée