Guide to Dry Brining Meat

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I’m prepared to go to any length to ensure juicy, tasty meat.

The dread of a huge bird drying out is very palpable as I’m preparing it.

I used to believe that you had to soak meat in a bath of salt and pricey herbs and spices for days (a process known as wet brining).

It turns out that there is a far simpler and less expensive technique to increase moisture, taste, and softness.

What is dry brining?

Guide to Dry Brining Meat

Dry brining may seem like a complicated culinary method, but it is really rather straightforward.

Dry brining involves sprinkling salt on the outside of fresh meat and storing it in the refrigerator before cooking.

This has has two positive effects:

  1. Because salt is a flavor enhancer, allowing it to work its way into the flesh brings out all of the exquisite taste.
  2. Salt has a denaturing impact on the proteins in meat, which simply means that the proteins unravel somewhat. As a result, the proteins may retain moisture, keeping your meat juicy throughout the cooking process.

Dry brining produces the same results as wet brining, but since the salt is not diluted in liquid, it requires much less salt and far less fridge space.

There is also a lot of evidence that wet brining is not an effective approach to add flavor to your meal.

Dry brining is a terrific technique to assure moist meat with a little more taste without the added mess and waste that wet brining entails.

Benefits of Dry Brining

There are various benefits to salting meat several hours before cooking:

  • Dry brining is an efficient method for imparting taste and sealing in moisture to meat.
  • Dry brining takes up far less room than wet brining. You just need enough space in your fridge to sit the meat for a few hours, rather than a huge tub loaded with the meat and brine.
  • As previously stated, dry brining requires less salt than wet brining since it is not dissolved in liquid.

Dry brining, unlike wet brining, does not lose any of the fats and liquids from the meat, and there is no risk of the meat getting soggy, as may happen with wet brining.

Related The 16 types of salt and how to use them

What types of meat should you dry brine?

Guide to Dry Brining Meat

Almost any form of meat may be dry brined. The salty treatment will help turkey, chicken, fish, hog, lamb, and beef.

Some may argue that red meats should not be brined. But because we believe this is a subjective problem, why don’t you try it and decide for yourself?

However, if the meat you bought has already been salted, dry brining will not work.

This would be an example of having too much of a good thing. Also, keep in mind that kosher meats are salted as part of the preparation process.

Step by step instructions for dry brining a chicken or turkey

While dry brining may enhance almost any meat, chicken and turkey are excellent choices since they tend to become dry when cooked.

Roasting a chicken, in particular, is an excellent opportunity to master this skill since it is less costly than other meats.

Let’s have a look at how to dry brine a chicken or a turkey:

1. Pat the bird dry

Pat the chicken or turkey dry with a couple paper towels, being care to get into all the crevices.

You may have heard that washing chicken before cooking it helps to keep it healthy by eliminating dangerous germs.

This is an urban legend. The only method to eliminate dangerous germs is to cook meat at the proper temperature.

In fact, washing raw meat increases the danger of cross contamination since germs from the meat’s surface might be splattered onto kitchen counters and utensils.

If you want to know which items should and should not be washed, you may get further information from the USDA here.

2) Salt the Bird  

Season the chicken well with kosher salt. And don’t be afraid to use a lot. To oversalt, you’d have to go insane.

As a general rule, one teaspoon of salt per pound of meat is a reasonable starting point.

You may wish to add a bit more, but using less will prevent you from reaping the full advantages of dry brining the chicken.

Massage the salt into your skin. Make sure the whole surface is fully coated, and don’t forget to check in all the nooks and crannies to ensure equal coverage. This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of dry brining.

You may use any sort of salt, however many people like medium grit, kosher, or sea salt. Table salt grains might be too fine, leaving your bird too salty.

3) Pop it in the Fridge

Refrigerate the salted chicken for 2 to 24 hours.

While some people like to place the chicken in a big zip lock bag, there may be advantages to keeping it exposed in the refrigerator.

This will assist to dry out the skin and keep moisture where you want it.

This may seem to be the inverse of wet brining, since the entire point of wet brining is to introduce moisture.

However, if you want your meat to have a crispy exterior while remaining moist and soft on the inside, leaving the skin to dry up and lock in all of the natural liquids is the ideal method to do it.

4) Cook the bird

Now you may cook the chicken in whatever way you like. Dry brined turkey and chicken work very well in the smoker.

Check out our recipe for smokey barbecued spatchcock chicken.

Because you’ve sealed in the moisture, you’ll get moist, juicy meat and that desirable crispy, delicious skin.

If you wish to add more flavor in the form of a spice rub or sauce, do it just before cooking.

Check the components of the rub or sauce you want to use. If it’s also salty, you could get an unpleasant, excessively salty result.

If you want to experiment, you can still moisten brine. Wet brining turkey is a favorite of ours, particularly for Thanksgiving.

Dry Brining FAQ’s

Doesn’t dry brining make your meat too salty?

It will not if you use the correct quantity of salt.

Of all, what is salty to one person may not be salty enough to another, so you may need to experiment a little to find the proper quantity for you.

When applying a rub after dry brining, use caution. To circumvent this issue, some commercial dry rubs are salty in their own right, so you may need to dust off any extra salt or build your own salt-free rub.

What kind of salt should I use?

Most chefs choose Kosher salt or sea salt because the size and shape of the grains make it simpler to manage the amount of salty.

Table salt is finer than kosher salt, so if you must use table salt, reduce the quantity you use. Because of its density, it will be saltier than kosher salt.

How much salt should I use?

As a general guideline, roughly a teaspoon per pound of meat will provide satisfactory results.

Some chefs urge more, while others suggest less. When identifying your own sweet spot, your own tastes will come into play.

One thing is certain: dry brining followed by a salty rub will result in a highly salty chicken, so verify the contents of your rub or be creative and build your own salt-free rub!

How long should you dry brine for (and can you dry brine for too long)?

Allow the chicken at least one hour to dry out to get the advantages.

Chickens may be kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours, while turkeys can be kept for up to 3 days.

However, keep in mind that you might overdo it. Brining for too long can cause the fat behind the skin to dry up, resulting in dry meat, which is precisely what we want to avoid.

Do you need to rinse after dry brining?

Definitely not!

If you’re inclined to rinse because you’re afraid of oversalting, it’s better to manage the rub you apply before cooking.

If you notice that your rub is too salty, just dust off some of the extra dry brining salt without having to moisten the whole chicken.

If you do not use a rub, or if your rub is salt-free and you use the appropriate quantity of salt, your chicken will not be too salty!

Second, if you moisten the bird, your skin will not get brown and crispy. Sure, you could wipe it clean with paper towels, but you’d lose a lot of the salt’s benefits if you did.

As previously stated, washing meat raises the danger of foodborne disease since raw meat fluids and germs are unavoidably sprayed throughout your kitchen.

Wrapping it up

Dry brining is a simple process that can enhance the taste and juiciness of your next roast chicken.

Next time you want to roast a turkey or a chicken, take a few minutes to salt the bird and then place it in the fridge for at least an hour before cooking. You’ll be astonished at how big of a return you’ll get for so little effort!

Just be sure to verify the salt amount of any rubs you use or manufacture your own.

Do you have any comments or questions? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below. And, if you found this information useful, please spread the word!


What meats are best to dry brine?

Almost any form of meat may be dry brined. The salty treatment will help turkey, chicken, fish, hog, lamb, and beef. Some may argue that red meats should not be brined.

How do you dry brine meat?

or sugar straight onto the flesh and skin, and then chilling the meat for a period of time before cooking.A dry brine, also known as pre-salting, seasons the turkey in the same way as a wet brine does, but without the use of water. Instead, a dry brine is made by rubbing the salt, spices, and water together.

What is the ratio for dry brining?

2 teaspoon kosher salt per pound of meat, plus any additional (dry) herbs and spices you choose. It is critical to use kosher salt, which is substantially less salty than table salt.How to Brine Meat in the Dry. The general dry brining process requires 1

Do you wipe off dry brine before cooking?

Do Not Rinse It

There is no need to rinse the surface of your meal once the dry-brining time has expired. The meat will not be too salty, and washing with water will reverse all of the surface-drying produced by the dry-brine method. As a result, browning will be avoided.

How long should you dry brine meat?

After seasoning, lay the steak in the refrigerator, uncovered on a baking rack, for at least one hour and up to two days to enable the salt to do its magic. To enable ventilation on both sides of the steak, use a baking rack or something similar.

Can you dry brine for too long?

Is it possible to brine meat for too long? Brining for an extended period of time can cause the final, cooked steaks to taste much too salty (and, given enough time, may even begin to dry up the meat). As a result, you should not leave your dry brined steaks out for more than 4 hours (even if refrigerated).

Do you cover meat when dry brining?

Place the salted bird on a rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet (to collect any liquid that falls off) or in the pan you want to cook it in. Place it in the refrigerator and let it uncovered for at least 1 hour every pound (a 14-pound turkey requires at least 14 hours).

Can I dry brine in 3 hours?

Is there a time limit for dry brining? “At least 1 hour before cooking,” I say, “4 hours is better, and at least 8 hours is best.” We know that it takes around 40 minutes for the salt to start working as a dry brine, according to Kenji Alt’s study at Serious Eats.

Is dry brining just salting?

What Exactly Is Dry Brining? The practice of salting and resting meat before to cooking to increase taste, moisture retention, texture, and tenderness is known as dry brining.

Can you dry brine in 2 hours?

Refrigerate for one to two hours with 4 teaspoons of table salt per pound. There is no need to rinse away extra salt. It will all be absorbed by the flesh.1 teaspoon kosher salt per pound of meat or 2 teaspoons kosher salt per pound of meat


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