How to Brine

Brining is the process of soaking meat in cold, salted water. Follow these simple steps to learn this useful kitchen technique.

Brining 101

Brining is one of the secrets to preparing tender, flavourful dinners, especially when you’re grilling, smoking or roasting. Brining is also extremely economical: all you need is water and salt. Making brine is quick and easy, though it does require a little planning. But perhaps the biggest advantage of brining is it brings out the natural, succulent flavours of the meat, while reducing the need for expensive marinades or pre-seasoning. 

Task Overview

Estimated time: Depends on the size and type of meat
Estimated cost: $5
Skill level:  Beginner
Number of people required: 1

Tools & Ingredients:

How to Brine

  1. Choose a container
    To start, find a container that fits your cut of meat. A stainless steel bowl, crockpot, resealable bag or non-corrosive container will work. If you’re using a solid container, the sides should be high enough for the brine to completely cover the meat. To prevent spillage, choose a container with a snug lid. 
  2. Make the brine
    You'll need enough brine to fully submerge the meat in your chosen container. Boil the water in a pot, add salt and stir. The ratio of salt to water depends on the type of meat. For example, a fish fillet can handle a ratio of 1/2 cup of salt to 1 pint of water, while a large turkey requires 2 cups salt to 1 gallon of water. After the salt dissolves, turn off the heat and let the brine cool. Refrigerate the brine until cold.
  3. Flavour the brine
    For extra flavour, add spices, sugar and herbs to the brine while it's boiling. After the brine cools to a safe temperature, you can add other brining liquids, such as wine, fruit juice or vinegar.
  4. Brine the meat
    Place the chilled meat in your brining container. Gently pour in the cold brining liquid. If the meat floats to the top, you may need to place a plate or other heavy object on top to keep it submerged. Place the brining container in the refrigerator or a cooler packed with ice for the duration of the brining process. Brining times vary, but the rule of thumb is 1 hour per pound of meat.
  5. Optional rinse and dry
    After removing the meat from the brine, you might want to rinse the outside to remove any visible salt crystals. This prevents the meat from becoming too salty. Pat the meat dry with paper towels.
  6. Season
    Since brining has already salted the meat, remember to use less salt in your wet or dry rubs. Season the meat with herbs and spices that complement those used in the brine.
  7. Cook
    Once the meat is brined and seasoned to your taste, it's ready for cooking. Your best options for a moist, flavourful result include grilling, roasting, smoking or other dry heat method.

Brining Tips:

  • Keep the meat submerged in the brining liquid at all times; meat exposed to air can grow harmful bacteria
  • Brining is ideal for roasting, grilling, smoking and other dry heat cooking; brining is not necessary when poaching or braising in liquid
  • For crispy skin on your roast turkey, remove the bird from the brine, wrap in foil or plastic and refrigerate for 12 hours before cooking
  • Acidic brining liquids such as citrus juices and vinegar help tenderize meat but can also make it mushy: use them in moderation and reduce your brining time
  • Experiment with interesting combinations of herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables in your brine to enhance the flavour of your meat
  • Kosher salt dissolves easily in water, but you will need to use more of it compared to sea salt or table salt
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



Store details