One of our kids does not like to eat meat. Being a little obsessed with finding the best ways to make tasty and healthy foods, we sought out how to make meat more appealing to picky kid. We heard some years ago to do a “dry brine” which sounded alien. What the heck? Well…. we gave it a go and I’ve never looked back. My husband will sometimes forget what food was like before and try different recipes he finds online. Nothing has ever come close to a dry brine. I’ll start with simple instruction/explanation and end with why it’s the best.
To do a dry brine…. get your meat. Coat your meat in salt. Or a dry rub with salt. Do this the night before or worst case, that morning. Sprinkle and resist the urge to “rub in” the salt, it doesn’t work. Now, you’re reducing the amount of salt on the meat with it now sticking to your hands. Also, you’ll have meat contaminated hands. Trust science. So. Don’t do this.
For whole chickens…. rub salt into the cavity with your hands. A little extra salt for the breasts compared to legs and thighs. If you have a turkey do it ATLEAST two days prior. Stick it in the fridge and wait. In the words of Porky Pig… that’s all folks.
The reason this works is because of osmosis. Salt by its nature will draw moisture to it. Water will come out of the meat drawn out by the salt. The salt will then melt and the salt water will now be pulled back into the meat. This is oversimplified but that’s what happens. Though this takes time, hence prepping the day before.
Why dry brine is the best! Clean up is the EASIEST. There’s no contaminated bacteria water or milk to discard or risk spilling from a traditional brine. I will trim and salt in whatever container I plan to store my meat. Very little clean up. I keep a clean hand and a meat turning hand.
It is the tastiest! I’ve heard people rave about their seasoning or marinating practices… so I’ve tried them but I’ve found few to even come close to the dry brine. Dry brining seasons your meat deep to the inside. Flavor in every bite. This is how I do turkey and it needs no salt or gravy or anything added to it. Including the breast. So good.
And finally! Dry brining is the best because the salt added into your meat helps hold water. This translates to tasty, tender meat that is not dry. Even if you over shoot it a bit. We make pork chops, pork tenderloin, brisket, whole chickens, turkeys, chicken cutlets, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, and steak this way. I do not use this for fish, ground meat, or pulled pork.