Dry brines work magic just like wet brines, with less fuss.
Credit: Photo: Randy Mayor

Q: How do I keep my turkey moist?

A: There are only two things at the Thanksgiving table that should be dry: the wine and the humor. For moist meat without the hassle of clearing fridge space to soak the bird in a vat of brining liquid, try a dry brine. Salting a turkey and letting it rest before roasting seasons it deeply and helps it retain moisture.

Here's how it works: Salt on the surface of the meat will draw out some moisture via osmosis. The salt then dissolves in this liquid, creating a very concentrated brine, which eventually will be drawn back inside the meat. When you roast that turkey, it will retain more moisture, making for juicier, tastier meat.

To dry brine a turkey, gently separate the skin from the breast meat, and rub kosher salt into the cavity in between, as well as all over the legs and back. (Nutrition guidelines limit us to 1 tablespoon kosher salt for a 12-pound bird—use your discretion if sodium isn't a concern for you.) Place the turkey on a large plate, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest in the refrigerator at least one night and up to four before roasting.