Charles loves to cook and enjoys trying new recipes every day. He specializes in recreating gourmet comfort food.
Dry Brine vs. Wet Brine
Having tried both a wet and dry brine, there is a clear winner here when it comes to prep time as well as simplicity. If brining your meats is new to you, there are really only two ways to go about it. The choices are either a wet brine or a dry brine.
A wet brine consists of dissolving salt, sugar, and your desired herbs and spices in water. This involves bringing the brine mixture to a boil and then cooling it before adding your, turkey, chicken, or other meats. You will need to refrigerate the brined meat for 24 hours before cooking. You will need a container large enough to submerge your meat, which can take up valuable space in the fridge.
A dry brine is a much simpler method that consists of applying the brining mixture directly onto the meat before refrigerating. Dry brining definitely saves a few steps and uses less salt, sugar, and spices.
Whichever method is being used, the results are indistinguishable. For a moist and tender turkey breast every time, a simple dry brine refrigerated overnight is the ticket. Don't be afraid to mix it up a bit. Experiment with different herbs and spices. Try adding a tablespoon of dried sage, rosemary, or thyme to your brine mixture for that traditional Thanksgiving flavor.
For the dry brine:
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
For the turkey:
- 1 (6- to 8-pound) bone-in turkey breast (thawed)
- 1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium canned chicken stock for the bottom of the roasting pan
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- In a bowl, combine the dry brine ingredients.
- Dry the surface of the turkey breast with paper towels; then rub the brine mixture over the surface of the meat. Push the brine mixture under the skin and onto the breast, massaging it into the breast. Refrigerate the dry brined turkey breast uncovered overnight or up to 2 days in advance of roasting.
- Remove the turkey breast from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before roasting. Allow the turkey breast to reach room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F. Ensure your oven rack is in the middle section of the oven.
- Place the brined turkey breast in a shallow roasting pan, place a wire rack in the bottom. Pat dry any excess moisture before roasting. Rub the brined turkey breast with 1 tablespoon of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Add the low-sodium chicken stock, bay leaves, and white wine into the bottom of the pan to help keep the breast moist while roasting.
- Roast the turkey breast uncovered for 35 minutes at 450°F. Reduce the heat to 325°F. Continue cooking until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 155–160°F using an instant-read thermometer. Add additional chicken stock if needed. When finished roasting, tent the breast with foil for 15 minutes before removing the turkey breast to a cutting board for carving.
- Slice into portions and serve with your favorite sides (see suggestions below).
I generally serve this roasted turkey with roasted broccoli, whipped mashed potatoes, and turkey gravy. Leftover turkey breast can be sliced thin and sandwiched between nice multi-grain bread with lettuce, tomato, and healthy smear of Hellmann's mayonnaise.