How To Dry Brine Turkey In 3 Easy Steps

How To Dry Brine Turkey In 3 Easy Steps

Posted on: January 13, 2023

Fall is here, and the holiday season is just around the corner. With the approaching festivities and celebrations comes the opportunity for the host to think as to what goes on the table to celebrate the occasion. One great option that is guaranteed to wow your guests is a fully smoked turkey from your Bradley smoker.

Does this sound like a ton of work? Never fear, that’s why we are here. To show you how to get delicious dry brine turkey your family will love in three easy steps.

Today we will show you how to dry brine a turkey in three easy steps that will make you look like a professional chef and make your smoked food taste amazing!

To begin we’re going to cover a few important basics of the dry brining process.

What is Dry Brining?

Brining, also called pre-salting, is a simple process of applying salts directly on the meat (Dry Brining) or soaking the meats in a brine solution/ salt-water solution (Wet Brining).

Why Dry Brine?

The process helps the meat to retain its natural juices. It also tenderizes the muscle tissues and helps change the muscle fibers so the meat absorbs more liquid and prevents it from drying out while cooking.

Things to Know if You’re Dry Brining

Before we get to the process itself, please ensure that the bird you intend to dry brine is neither Kosher nor self-basting turkeys as they are most likely already pre-salted.

We suggest using a reliable smoker such as Bradley Smoker with its flavorful Bradley bisquettes to get the maximum flavor out of your bird.

Now, let’s get the dry brine process started. Here are the three easy steps that will help you create the turkey you’ve ever had and that your family will remember for years to come.

  1. Dry brine your bird.
  2. Let it rest, turning positions.
  3. Smoke it the right way.

Dry Brining of Turkey:

  1. Dry brine your bird.
  2. Let it rest, turning positions.
  3. Smoke it the right way.

Next, we’ll show you each one of these steps in detail.

Dry Brining Turkey

Gather your dry ingredients. Choose the spices that are the favorites in your household. Also, you can add more flavors by smoking the turkey in the Bradley smoker with our premium flavored Bradley bisquettes. The aroma it adds is amazing!

Mix your dry ingredients. The base should be salt with a rough measurement of 1 tablespoon per 5 lbs of turkey. So if you have a turkey of, say, 18-20 lbs, it will require 4 tablespoons of salt. Add black pepper, paprika, cumin, any herbs (rosemary/ oregano or anything else you like) to the mix. Pour in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil or butter and give it a mix. This will form a dry brine paste.

We recommend you thaw your turkey in the fridge. Using a paper towel, absorb any extra moisture. Loosen the skin with your hand. Now, your turkey is good to go for dry brining.

Apply dry brine paste onto the turkey, just under the skin with your hand, to glaze the inside meat nicely. It’s done!

The reasons dry brining is better than wet brining are; it’s less hassle, easier to apply, manageable while refrigerating, and less messy. Your hands are the only equipment you need to carry on the process without much effort.


It’s now time to rest. Both for you and the turkey. We recommend a plastic bags to seal as much flavor as possible and place it inside your refrigerator.

The bird can rest up to three days, changing its position every day. On the last day, however, it should rest without the plastic. This helps the skin to dry up and stretch, which gives that glowing crispy skin.

The minimum resting time should not be less than 24-36 hours if you want moist, succulent flavor out of the meat.


Take out the turkey and place it at room temperature for an hour. Bind the turkey’s leg together before shoving it inside the smoker. Now, the hard work is done. Simply let it smoke for 6-8 hours. The time will depend on the size of the bird.

With the Bradley smoker, you can always add extra flavor to your meat using our premium flavored Bradley bisquettes, giving clean, consistent smoke to the meat, and the results will always be tender and juicy.

TA – DA! We are ready to serve

Brace yourself for the most gorgeously golden, crispy-skinned, smoked turkey that will make all your guests go ga-ga. The bird always turns out moist and full of flavor. The crispy skin adds a crunch to the overall texture, and the smoky aroma will tickle your taste buds.

We can say that if they want another recipe, that we have prepared a video with it.

For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.