Dry Brine for Roasted Turkey With Compound Butter

This dry brine turkey recipe is here just in time for Thanksgiving.

​Dry Brine for Roasted Turkey With Compound Butter
1/3 cup Kosher salt
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp ground fennel seed
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus 1/2 tsp
zest of 3 oranges
zest of 1 lemon
1 (12 lb.) turkey, spatchcocked
2 lbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 small shallot, minced

To make the dry brine:

Place Kosher salt, brown sugar, black pepper, fennel seed, 2 tbsp of thyme leaves, and the zest of two oranges and one lemon into a small bowl and mix to combine.

Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and rub the mixed spices all over the turkey. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Lay an additional piece of parchment over the turkey and place it on the bottom shelf in the refrigerator uncovered overnight.

When ready to cook, brush off excess dry brine off with a paper towel.

To make compound butter:

Place butter, zest of one orange, shallot, 1/2 tsp thyme leaves, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Combine well.

Place a large piece of plastic wrap onto a work surface or cutting board.

Spoon the butter onto the plastic wrap and roll into a log. Tighten the ends and place into the freezer until ready to use. If using immediately, place in the fridge until firm enough to cut into rounds.

Assemble & cook the turkey:

Place 3 slices of the compound butter under the skin of each breast.

Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Let the turkey come to room temperature by setting on the counter for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Place the turkey onto a sheet pan fitted with a rack and put into the oven. Let cook at 450° F for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400° F for the remaining 35 to 40 minutes.

Check from time to time to make sure the turkey isn’t getting too dark. If it is starting to brown too much, cover loosely with foil.

Remove from the oven when a thermometer inserted into the thigh of the bird reads 155° F. Let the turkey rest on the counter uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes before carving.


Making Thanksgiving dinner can feel like a hassle — there are so many things to cook and not enough time. This big family meal can be made easier if you ask the butcher to "spatchcock" your bird for faster cooking. This dry brine for turkey, when taste tested, made the bird more flavorful and crispier than its wet brine counterpart. Give this dry brined spatchcock turkey a try this year for Thanksgiving.