This recipe is adapted from Food & Wine
If you’re like us, you’ve served way too many under seasoned and dried out turkeys. And when turkey is the centerpiece of the meal, this is stress you don’t need during the holidays.
We’ve found the only way to ensure a perfectly cooked turkey every time is to dry brine and spatchcock it. And to ensure you’ll impress your friends and family, we’ve come up with a Masi Masa twist on the holiday classic using our Tikka Masala spice blend, which adds a ton of flavor and a little smokiness. (To take your menu over the top, make our Tikka Masala Spiced Naan Stuffing and Saag Paneer-ish.)
Dry brining results in crispier skin than wet brining and more flavorful meat than a classic wet brine. And spatchcocking (butterflying) the turkey cuts down on cooking time and results in more evenly cooked meat.
We won’t lie, dry brining takes time. If you are using a frozen turkey, you’ll need to be sure to allow enough time to defrost it in the refrigerator (3-4 days) AND to air dry and dry brine (36 hours), which means you have to start the process at least 5 days before Turkey Day.
Active Time: 45 mins
Defrost Time: 3-4 days
Air Dry & Brine Time: 36 hours
Cooking Time: 20 minutes + 65-75 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
1 (12- to 14-pound) fresh or thawed frozen natural whole turkey — OR — equal weight of skin on turkey breasts, thighs, and legs
3 ½ TBSP Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 3 TBSP Morton kosher salt
2 TBSP Masi Masa Tikka Masala Spice Blend
¼ C light brown sugar
2 lemons, quartered
1 orange, cut into 8 wedges
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 head of garlic, skins on, cut in half crosswise
1/2 C unsalted butter (4 ounces), cut into 8 pieces or ½ C ghee
This recipe calls for 2 TSBP Masi Masa Tikka Masala Spice Blend. There are 3 TBSP in a pack — the additional TSBP can be used in our Naan Stuffing with a Tikka Masala Twist.
Select natural, heritage, or organic turkeys instead of kosher, water-added, or self-basting turkeys, which are processed with salt.
If not using a fresh turkey, make sure to allow 3-4 days to defrost your turkey in the refrigerator before brining (follow defrosting directions on the package).
If you have the space for a full sheet pan in your refrigerator, you can spatchcock the turkey before brining.
Remove DEFROSTED turkey from packaging, pat dry with paper towels. (Remove innards from the cavity. Save for gravy or discard.)
Make spice mixture: Mix together 3 ½ TBSP Diamond kosher salt, 2 TBSP of Masi Masa Tikka Masala Spice Blend (reserve rest of pack for Naan Stuffing), and ½ cup brown sugar.
Rub 1 TBSP spice mixture under skin. Carefully replace skin.
On a clean rimmed baking sheet (lined with aluminum foil for easier clean up), spread lemon and orange wedges, quartered onion, and halved garlic head in a single layer on a clean rimmed baking sheet (lined with aluminum foil, if desired). Place a clean wire rack on top (rack will be a little wobbly).
Place 2 butter pieces (2 TBSP each) (or ¼ cup ghee (divided into two 2 TBSP pieces)) under loosened skin of each breast and 2 butter pieces (2 TBSP each) (or ¼ cup ghee (divided into two 2 TBSP pieces)) under loosened skin of each leg.
Roast turkey in a preheated oven at 450°F for 20 minutes.
Reduce temperature to 375°F and roast for additional 65-75 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 150°F.