Drying Out Turkey in Fridge: The Secret to Crispy Skin

You might think drying out a turkey sounds like a bad idea. But drying out a turkey before cooking can result in crisp skin! Don’t get confused with overcooking your turkey and letting it go dry. This a good method if you like crispy skin! 

So wondering if drying out your turkey in the fridge good or maybe you should cover it? Below you find out the science between this technique plus how to do it yourself at home! 


What Is Drying Out a Turkey in the Fridge?

Drying out the turkey in a fridge is a method to cook a turkey with a crispy skin.

Leaving a turkey uncovered in the fridge will dry it out, this means that less moisture will make the skin soggy while it cooks.

Many people pat the turkey’s skin dry with paper towels, this helps dry the skin, but the refrigerator does a more thorough job.

Why Should You Dry Out a Turkey in the Fridge?

You should dry out a turkey if you want crispier skin, it is also beneficial to dry out a turkey if you plan to smoke the turkey or roast it

Although this step may take a bit extra time, it’s quite simple, as crispy skin on a turkey has a bit more flavor than smoked turkey with rubbery skin. It also looks beautiful when you serve it!

How Do You Dry Out a Turkey?

First, use paper towels to dry the skin. Once the skin seems mostly dry, continue to the next step.

This is a good time to season the turkey if you wish. Many people simply use kosher salt. Others may use ground black pepper or a few cloves of garlic. You can edit the salt mixture to your taste preferences.

Place the turkey on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan. Make sure that any moisture won’t be able to drip out.

You can leave the turkey uncovered in the fridge for just a few hours or up to 2 days, this depends on when the turkey was thawed.

Turkey is generally considered safe 1-2 days after it thaws. We recommend drying out the turkey overnight.

If you only have a few hours, those few hours will make a difference in the final result. This works well for turkey breast as well as whole turkey.


Can I Dry Out a Turkey After Brining It?

You can dry out a turkey after you brine it.

Brining is another technique to result in crisper skin.

It can bring out the juices through osmosis which helps both the skin and the meat to be delicious.

There are many ways to brine a turkey, but they all fall under wet brine and dry brine.


Wet Brine vs. Dry Brine

Wet brining involves soaking the meat in a saltwater solution.

Dry brining involves rubbing a salt mixture on the skin of the turkey.

Whether you do a wet or dry brine, you’ll want to use kosher salt. Table salt will be a bit too salty.

You can also use other seasonings. Some people may use apple juice in a cold water solution.

A lot of people may include garlic in a dry brining solution.

When brining a turkey, it is usually easier to do a dry brine.

This is because putting the bird in the liquid solution can cause a bit of a mess.

It will also be easier to dry out the turkey if you used a dry solution.

If you rub dry kosher salt on the turkey, you can leave it uncovered in the fridge.

This makes it possible to dry it out while you brine it.

Does Spatchcocking Help Get Crispy Skin?

Spatchcocking the turkey ensures that the turkey cooks quickly and evenly.

This means the white meat and dark meat both get cooked properly.

This decreases cooking time and results in juicy meat.

However, the shorter cook time may result in less crispy skin.


Can You Dry Out Turkey at Room Temperature?

Do not dry out the turkey on the counter.

You should never leave raw turkey at room temperature for more than a few minutes at a time.

Once the cooked turkey comes out of the oven, it can remain at room temperature for up to two hours.

Bacteria can grow on the meat when at room temperature.

Can You Dry Out a Frozen Turkey?

You can brine and dry out a frozen turkey in the refrigerator.

The important thing to remember is that excess moisture will come from a frozen turkey as it thaws.

You may need to empty the baking tray as it fills up.

Drying out a turkey doesn’t result in a dry turkey. It results in juicier meat with golden skin!

This simple step is well worth it.


Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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