Thanksgiving Turkey: Hold the Salt


I always have used a salt and sugar brine in years past for my turkey, but I no longer want to do that since I’m really enjoying how I feel on the Paleo diet.  What do I do without salt for this festive dinner, though?  I can’t imagine a no-salt turkey will cook properly, will it?

Many of the popular ways to prepare the bird is to use a salt in some way, shape or form.

Personally, I’m not opposed to using some salt for certain cooking methods; being an athlete, including some salt in my diet is actually a healthy thing to do, in order to make up for the electrolytes I’m losing through sweat.

However, I’d hate to present the erroneous message that the only way to guarantee a flavorful, juicy bird is to use copious amounts of salt… even if it is sea salt (there’s barely a difference in sodium content between sea salt and good old Morton’s, incidentally…).

Just as we do with all other meals, turn the focus away from salt being a seasoning and redirect it towards seasonally appropriate fresh or dried herbs, spices and other natural flavorings to make a truly Paleo rub, jus or gravy without compromising what True Paleo is all about.

  • Use a rub.  Sage, thyme, rosemary, lemon, orange zest and even a hint of clove can be macerated and then rubbed under and on top of the skin for a lovely dose of flavor.
  • Inject the bird with salt-free broth, a dry white wine, or olive oil, you can directly inject moisture into the bird, akin to brining, but without the salt.
  • Use a salt free brine.  Many organic spice companies now offer salt-free blends that make it easy for you to create the perfect flavor profile. Look for one containing just dried herbs and spices and rest assured you’re not going to end up with a turkey that’s too salty or dried out!