Dry- Brined Keto Thanksgiving Turkey

The trick to juicy turkey meat is simple: brine it then roast it slowly to not overcook it. Dry brining adds flavor through the included seasonings, and its salt helps it maintain moisture and break down some of the turkey proteins, which essentially tenderizes it. Dry-brining means there’s no giant tub of liquid to submerge the bird in, which makes storage and refrigeration easier to manage. Often, brines contain sugar, making them not so keto-friendly. This one skips the carbs by using keto-friendly sweetener so you can have an especially tasty holiday, keto-style. Note: you need to brine the turkey at least 24 hours before roasting it, so plan accordingly. Also, this brine can work for a turkey up to 30 pounds. When determining the right size turkey for your feast, factor in 1-1/2 pounds of turkey per person (so an 18-pound turkey serves 12). A stuffed turkey takes longer to cook than an unstuffed turkey; factor in 15 minutes per pound for a stuffed bird and 13 minutes for an unstuffed/empty-cavity one.
Want a keto stuffing recipe? Get it here.
Serves 12

Ingredients List

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  • Make the dry turkey brine: In a small bowl, mix together the salt, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, sage, onion powder, orange zest, and brown sugar.
  • At least 24 hours (but preferably 36 hours) before roasting the turkey, massage the dry brine onto the turkey skin to fully cover the bird. Cover the turkey or place in a clean plastic bag and refrigerate.
  • Place a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator, uncover it, set it breast-side up on the prepared rack. Remove the bag of giblets (it’s usually hidden in the body or neck) and reserve for other use or discard. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. Add about ½ inch of water to the bottom of the pan.
  • Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Place the turkey in the oven, turn down the heat to 350°F, and roast to an internal temperature of at least 165°F in the breast area, about 4 hours, drizzling the butter over the turkey during the last 45 minutes of cooking.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven, tent it in foil, and let it rest for 30 minutes. Then slice and devour.

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RecipeEric Lundy

PhotographyErin Ng

3 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Amazing! I have brined my turkeys for over 20 years now. There is a great paleo version which improved on a fabulous SF Times “Best Brined Turkey”, but this surpassed them all. I’m 64, my in-laws are in their late 80’s and have cooked many a turkey. It’s extremely difficult to impress them. All agreed unanimously this was the best ever! My husband does not like sage so I had to wash the first batch off the bird and do-over without the sage. We have learned to not get to big a bird as they don’t defrost well, and organic tends to be tougher. We get natural free-range 18-20 pounds or less. I also modify for convection, so it cooks in about 2 hours & with the temp. probe automatically turns to warm when perfectly done. It was so relaxing to just enjoy our company & let the bird rest until we were all ready for dinner. This is an absolute winner! Thanks so much from all of us.

    • We couldn’t be more delighted that you enjoyed this recipe and the company of your family!

  2. Do you put the brine on before or after thawing the turkey. Is meat seasoning the same as brine.

    • You definitely need to thaw the turkey before you dry brine it and make sure that you dry it very well after it’s thawed. We’re not exactly sure is meant by “meat seasoning”, however, if it has a ton of salt in it, then yes, it is a dry brine. If it does not, then it’s just seasoning.

    • It adds a little bit of sweetness to the flavor profile, however, if you prefer more savory than leave the sweetener ingredient out.


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