This recipe is a simple asian twist on your traditional Thanksgiving roast turkey. I used the dry-brining method after reading a few different blogs about why it works: essentially, liberally salting the turkey draws the moisture out of the meat at first and then as the salt dissolves, creates a brine directly on the surface, which is then reabsorbed with the salt, which breaks down the proteins, giving you more tender, juicy meat w/out extra liquid. See the helpful diagram below:
One key thing to note about this recipe: you MUST use pre-minced frozen lemongrass, or you will end up hating life trying to hand mince the mini-trees that are lemongrass stalks. Another alternative is to use a food processor, but then you have the extra work of dragging out that big piece of equipment. You can find this pre-minced stuff in the frozen section of an asian market. It comes in either a flat-packed plastic bag or a small plastic jar. I always have this in my freezer and love it for quickly adding a lot of great flavor without a lot of work.
- 1-2 cups frozen minced lemongrass, thawed
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 10-15 lb turkey
- 3 TB olive oil
- 2 TB ground pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 1 lemon
- Wash and dry the turkey
- Take handfuls of lemongrass & salt and rub all over the turkey, getting under the skin and inside the cavity.
- Place on a dish with at least 1 inch edge and place in the fridge uncovered overnight.
- The next day, heat oven to 500 and place roasting pan inside to preheat for 30 min.
- Take turkey out of the fridge and pat dry if needed.
- Rub olive oil & pepper all over the skin.
- Place rack in pan and turkey on rack. Roast at 500 for 20 min. Turn heat down to 300 and cook the rest of the way until a meat thermometer at the thigh reads 160. My 15 lb turkey took just under 4 hours. Cover wings with foil if they start getting dark earlier.
- Remove from oven and tent with foil and cover with kitchen towels to keep warm. Let rest for 30 minutes (very important!) Temp will continue to rise and finish cooking.
- While turkey is resting, use pan drippings to make gravy.
- Slice & serve!