Dry-Brined Spiced Citrus Turkey

Dry-Brined Spiced Citrus Turkey

Our new favorite turkey technique — dry brining — flavors and locks in moisture during a hands-off "curing" period for a juicy, perfectly seasoned bird. The mixture of coriander, pink peppercorns and grapefruit zest is fragrant and distinctive. Garnish the serving platter with fresh herbs and citrus peel. 

Serves 14 with leftovers


  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon pink peppercorns 
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns 
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds 
  • 4 bay leaves 
  • 6 tablespoons coarse sea salt 
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • Finely grated zest of 2 large grapefruit (about 1/4 cup) 
  • 1 (14- to 16-pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed 
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


Combine coriander, peppercorns, fennel and bay leaves in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until crushed but not powdered. Return spices to the bowl and stir in salt, sugar and grapefruit zest.
Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Rub spice mixture all over turkey and in cavity. Place turkey on a rack set in a roasting pan and refrigerate uncovered 8 hours or overnight.   
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Rinse spice mixture off turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Rub butter all over turkey, working a little underneath skin of breast. Tuck wing tips under turkey and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Return turkey breast-side up to the rack-lined roasting pan. Roast for 1 1/2 hours. Tent breast loosely with aluminum foil and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh, without touching bone, reads 165°F, or juices run clear when thigh is pierced, about 2 hours more. Start checking for doneness about 1 hour before the total roasting time is reached. Let turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving. 

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