How to Brine Turkey


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Learn what goes into this simple salt solution and how to use it to make turkey juicy and flavorful

Brine a turkey for maximum flavor and juiciness.

Create a basic brine for turkey by combining two and a half cups of kosher salt with a gallon of cold water in a pot or container large enough to hold the turkey. Stir the brine to help dissolve the salt. Then, place the turkey breast side down in the pot and cover it the rest of the way with cold water. Ideally, there should be 2 to 3 inches of water on top of the turkey.You can also add flavorings like bay leaves, allspice, peppercorns, brown sugar, or honey to your brine. We also like using maple syrup and candied ginger for a Thanksgiving turkey.

Store the turkey on the lowest shelf in your refrigerator, fully submerged in the brine, overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours. The next day, remove the turkey from the brine, rinse it well, and pat it dry with paper towels before seasoning and roasting it as usual.


How to Brine Wild Game

The most common complaint I hear about wild game is that it’s tough and dry a symptom often the result of overcooking. The best way to counterbalance this issue is to start brining your meat. Salt can dramatically enhance juiciness, and in my opinion, is the most essential ingredient in your pantry.

Have you ever considered what makes meat juicy? Two factors contribute to this mouthfeel: fat being released from the fibers as you chew, and water that is naturally present in the tissue.

Juices squeeze out of meat as it cooks. The higher the heat, the more you lose. Since wild game is usually very lean, it’s detrimental to overcook because there’s no fat to make up for the excessive moisture loss. The easiest way to avoid this undesirable situation is to utilize the power of salt.

Salt can react with meat in two very different ways. If you apply a large amount for an extended period, it will draw all the moisture out. We refer to this process as curing, and it aids in preservation. A brine is salt dissolved in water with various herbs and spices in which you submerge meat or inject into meat. It has the opposite effect and increases the amount of moisture in the muscle tissue.

The salt in a brine denatures and relaxes protein structures. This allows the muscle tissue to absorb water from the wet brine. In other words, it helps meat hold more water, which counterbalances moisture loss when heated. I like to think of it as insurance for overcooking. In addition, it tenderizes meat and enhances the natural flavors.

There are two types of brines, wet and dry. A classic, wet brine is the one you are probably most familiar with from preparing Thanksgiving turkeys.

A dry brine is a mixture of salt and other spices without the liquids. In layman’s terms, it’s a dry rub applied to meat.

While technically a dry brine and a cure are the same thing, the main difference is the purpose. Unlike curing, a dry brine uses only enough salt to lightly cover the meat, not encrust it, for one to three days without having to rinse. The primary goal is to infuse foods with moisture and flavor.

Both types of brines are beneficial. A wet brine is perfect for cooking skinless birds or hefty cuts of meat before smoking. A common solution is 3 to 6% salt. My go-to ratio is a quarter of a cup of kosher salt for every four cups of water. You can include sugar to counterbalance the salt and add peppercorns, garlic, or herbs for flavor.

Remember that the longer you brine, the saltier the meat will be. Small birds or game may only need 8 to 12 hours, while turkeys or whole hams benefit from 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Always rinse the meat with cold water before cooking to remove excess salt.

When it comes to cooking plucked birds, it’s easier to achieve crispy skin if you go with a dry brine. The added water from a wet brine pumps liquid into the skin, which can make it rubbery if not thoroughly dried out before cooking. The dry-brine method is also my trick for making the perfect backstrap steak.

Below are two recipes one is a classic wet brine to use for almost any type of wild game that you plan to braise, roast, or smoke. It is perfect for skinless birds, geese, rabbits, squirrels, bone-in hams, or shoulders from deer or hogs.

The garlic and herb salt is a homemade rub that I frequently use for plucked gamebirds. It’s excellent on pheasant, chukar, quail, and partridge. In fact, I use this rub to season my turkey every Thanksgiving instead of a traditional wet brine. It’s also a smart way to season potatoes and mushrooms.


How to Brine Wild Game

The most common complaint I hear about wild game is that it’s tough and dry a symptom often the result of overcooking. The best way to counterbalance this issue is to start brining your meat. Salt can dramatically enhance juiciness, and in my opinion, is the most essential ingredient in your pantry.

Have you ever considered what makes meat juicy? Two factors contribute to this mouthfeel: fat being released from the fibers as you chew, and water that is naturally present in the tissue.

Juices squeeze out of meat as it cooks. The higher the heat, the more you lose. Since wild game is usually very lean, it’s detrimental to overcook because there’s no fat to make up for the excessive moisture loss. The easiest way to avoid this undesirable situation is to utilize the power of salt.

Salt can react with meat in two very different ways. If you apply a large amount for an extended period, it will draw all the moisture out. We refer to this process as curing, and it aids in preservation. A brine is salt dissolved in water with various herbs and spices in which you submerge meat or inject into meat. It has the opposite effect and increases the amount of moisture in the muscle tissue.

The salt in a brine denatures and relaxes protein structures. This allows the muscle tissue to absorb water from the wet brine. In other words, it helps meat hold more water, which counterbalances moisture loss when heated. I like to think of it as insurance for overcooking. In addition, it tenderizes meat and enhances the natural flavors.

There are two types of brines, wet and dry. A classic, wet brine is the one you are probably most familiar with from preparing Thanksgiving turkeys.

A dry brine is a mixture of salt and other spices without the liquids. In layman’s terms, it’s a dry rub applied to meat.

While technically a dry brine and a cure are the same thing, the main difference is the purpose. Unlike curing, a dry brine uses only enough salt to lightly cover the meat, not encrust it, for one to three days without having to rinse. The primary goal is to infuse foods with moisture and flavor.

Both types of brines are beneficial. A wet brine is perfect for cooking skinless birds or hefty cuts of meat before smoking. A common solution is 3 to 6% salt. My go-to ratio is a quarter of a cup of kosher salt for every four cups of water. You can include sugar to counterbalance the salt and add peppercorns, garlic, or herbs for flavor.

Remember that the longer you brine, the saltier the meat will be. Small birds or game may only need 8 to 12 hours, while turkeys or whole hams benefit from 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Always rinse the meat with cold water before cooking to remove excess salt.

When it comes to cooking plucked birds, it’s easier to achieve crispy skin if you go with a dry brine. The added water from a wet brine pumps liquid into the skin, which can make it rubbery if not thoroughly dried out before cooking. The dry-brine method is also my trick for making the perfect backstrap steak.

Below are two recipes one is a classic wet brine to use for almost any type of wild game that you plan to braise, roast, or smoke. It is perfect for skinless birds, geese, rabbits, squirrels, bone-in hams, or shoulders from deer or hogs.

The garlic and herb salt is a homemade rub that I frequently use for plucked gamebirds. It’s excellent on pheasant, chukar, quail, and partridge. In fact, I use this rub to season my turkey every Thanksgiving instead of a traditional wet brine. It’s also a smart way to season potatoes and mushrooms.


How to Brine Wild Game

The most common complaint I hear about wild game is that it’s tough and dry a symptom often the result of overcooking. The best way to counterbalance this issue is to start brining your meat. Salt can dramatically enhance juiciness, and in my opinion, is the most essential ingredient in your pantry.

Have you ever considered what makes meat juicy? Two factors contribute to this mouthfeel: fat being released from the fibers as you chew, and water that is naturally present in the tissue.

Juices squeeze out of meat as it cooks. The higher the heat, the more you lose. Since wild game is usually very lean, it’s detrimental to overcook because there’s no fat to make up for the excessive moisture loss. The easiest way to avoid this undesirable situation is to utilize the power of salt.

Salt can react with meat in two very different ways. If you apply a large amount for an extended period, it will draw all the moisture out. We refer to this process as curing, and it aids in preservation. A brine is salt dissolved in water with various herbs and spices in which you submerge meat or inject into meat. It has the opposite effect and increases the amount of moisture in the muscle tissue.

The salt in a brine denatures and relaxes protein structures. This allows the muscle tissue to absorb water from the wet brine. In other words, it helps meat hold more water, which counterbalances moisture loss when heated. I like to think of it as insurance for overcooking. In addition, it tenderizes meat and enhances the natural flavors.

There are two types of brines, wet and dry. A classic, wet brine is the one you are probably most familiar with from preparing Thanksgiving turkeys.

A dry brine is a mixture of salt and other spices without the liquids. In layman’s terms, it’s a dry rub applied to meat.

While technically a dry brine and a cure are the same thing, the main difference is the purpose. Unlike curing, a dry brine uses only enough salt to lightly cover the meat, not encrust it, for one to three days without having to rinse. The primary goal is to infuse foods with moisture and flavor.

Both types of brines are beneficial. A wet brine is perfect for cooking skinless birds or hefty cuts of meat before smoking. A common solution is 3 to 6% salt. My go-to ratio is a quarter of a cup of kosher salt for every four cups of water. You can include sugar to counterbalance the salt and add peppercorns, garlic, or herbs for flavor.

Remember that the longer you brine, the saltier the meat will be. Small birds or game may only need 8 to 12 hours, while turkeys or whole hams benefit from 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Always rinse the meat with cold water before cooking to remove excess salt.

When it comes to cooking plucked birds, it’s easier to achieve crispy skin if you go with a dry brine. The added water from a wet brine pumps liquid into the skin, which can make it rubbery if not thoroughly dried out before cooking. The dry-brine method is also my trick for making the perfect backstrap steak.

Below are two recipes one is a classic wet brine to use for almost any type of wild game that you plan to braise, roast, or smoke. It is perfect for skinless birds, geese, rabbits, squirrels, bone-in hams, or shoulders from deer or hogs.

The garlic and herb salt is a homemade rub that I frequently use for plucked gamebirds. It’s excellent on pheasant, chukar, quail, and partridge. In fact, I use this rub to season my turkey every Thanksgiving instead of a traditional wet brine. It’s also a smart way to season potatoes and mushrooms.


How to Brine Wild Game

The most common complaint I hear about wild game is that it’s tough and dry a symptom often the result of overcooking. The best way to counterbalance this issue is to start brining your meat. Salt can dramatically enhance juiciness, and in my opinion, is the most essential ingredient in your pantry.

Have you ever considered what makes meat juicy? Two factors contribute to this mouthfeel: fat being released from the fibers as you chew, and water that is naturally present in the tissue.

Juices squeeze out of meat as it cooks. The higher the heat, the more you lose. Since wild game is usually very lean, it’s detrimental to overcook because there’s no fat to make up for the excessive moisture loss. The easiest way to avoid this undesirable situation is to utilize the power of salt.

Salt can react with meat in two very different ways. If you apply a large amount for an extended period, it will draw all the moisture out. We refer to this process as curing, and it aids in preservation. A brine is salt dissolved in water with various herbs and spices in which you submerge meat or inject into meat. It has the opposite effect and increases the amount of moisture in the muscle tissue.

The salt in a brine denatures and relaxes protein structures. This allows the muscle tissue to absorb water from the wet brine. In other words, it helps meat hold more water, which counterbalances moisture loss when heated. I like to think of it as insurance for overcooking. In addition, it tenderizes meat and enhances the natural flavors.

There are two types of brines, wet and dry. A classic, wet brine is the one you are probably most familiar with from preparing Thanksgiving turkeys.

A dry brine is a mixture of salt and other spices without the liquids. In layman’s terms, it’s a dry rub applied to meat.

While technically a dry brine and a cure are the same thing, the main difference is the purpose. Unlike curing, a dry brine uses only enough salt to lightly cover the meat, not encrust it, for one to three days without having to rinse. The primary goal is to infuse foods with moisture and flavor.

Both types of brines are beneficial. A wet brine is perfect for cooking skinless birds or hefty cuts of meat before smoking. A common solution is 3 to 6% salt. My go-to ratio is a quarter of a cup of kosher salt for every four cups of water. You can include sugar to counterbalance the salt and add peppercorns, garlic, or herbs for flavor.

Remember that the longer you brine, the saltier the meat will be. Small birds or game may only need 8 to 12 hours, while turkeys or whole hams benefit from 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Always rinse the meat with cold water before cooking to remove excess salt.

When it comes to cooking plucked birds, it’s easier to achieve crispy skin if you go with a dry brine. The added water from a wet brine pumps liquid into the skin, which can make it rubbery if not thoroughly dried out before cooking. The dry-brine method is also my trick for making the perfect backstrap steak.

Below are two recipes one is a classic wet brine to use for almost any type of wild game that you plan to braise, roast, or smoke. It is perfect for skinless birds, geese, rabbits, squirrels, bone-in hams, or shoulders from deer or hogs.

The garlic and herb salt is a homemade rub that I frequently use for plucked gamebirds. It’s excellent on pheasant, chukar, quail, and partridge. In fact, I use this rub to season my turkey every Thanksgiving instead of a traditional wet brine. It’s also a smart way to season potatoes and mushrooms.


How to Brine Wild Game

The most common complaint I hear about wild game is that it’s tough and dry a symptom often the result of overcooking. The best way to counterbalance this issue is to start brining your meat. Salt can dramatically enhance juiciness, and in my opinion, is the most essential ingredient in your pantry.

Have you ever considered what makes meat juicy? Two factors contribute to this mouthfeel: fat being released from the fibers as you chew, and water that is naturally present in the tissue.

Juices squeeze out of meat as it cooks. The higher the heat, the more you lose. Since wild game is usually very lean, it’s detrimental to overcook because there’s no fat to make up for the excessive moisture loss. The easiest way to avoid this undesirable situation is to utilize the power of salt.

Salt can react with meat in two very different ways. If you apply a large amount for an extended period, it will draw all the moisture out. We refer to this process as curing, and it aids in preservation. A brine is salt dissolved in water with various herbs and spices in which you submerge meat or inject into meat. It has the opposite effect and increases the amount of moisture in the muscle tissue.

The salt in a brine denatures and relaxes protein structures. This allows the muscle tissue to absorb water from the wet brine. In other words, it helps meat hold more water, which counterbalances moisture loss when heated. I like to think of it as insurance for overcooking. In addition, it tenderizes meat and enhances the natural flavors.

There are two types of brines, wet and dry. A classic, wet brine is the one you are probably most familiar with from preparing Thanksgiving turkeys.

A dry brine is a mixture of salt and other spices without the liquids. In layman’s terms, it’s a dry rub applied to meat.

While technically a dry brine and a cure are the same thing, the main difference is the purpose. Unlike curing, a dry brine uses only enough salt to lightly cover the meat, not encrust it, for one to three days without having to rinse. The primary goal is to infuse foods with moisture and flavor.

Both types of brines are beneficial. A wet brine is perfect for cooking skinless birds or hefty cuts of meat before smoking. A common solution is 3 to 6% salt. My go-to ratio is a quarter of a cup of kosher salt for every four cups of water. You can include sugar to counterbalance the salt and add peppercorns, garlic, or herbs for flavor.

Remember that the longer you brine, the saltier the meat will be. Small birds or game may only need 8 to 12 hours, while turkeys or whole hams benefit from 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Always rinse the meat with cold water before cooking to remove excess salt.

When it comes to cooking plucked birds, it’s easier to achieve crispy skin if you go with a dry brine. The added water from a wet brine pumps liquid into the skin, which can make it rubbery if not thoroughly dried out before cooking. The dry-brine method is also my trick for making the perfect backstrap steak.

Below are two recipes one is a classic wet brine to use for almost any type of wild game that you plan to braise, roast, or smoke. It is perfect for skinless birds, geese, rabbits, squirrels, bone-in hams, or shoulders from deer or hogs.

The garlic and herb salt is a homemade rub that I frequently use for plucked gamebirds. It’s excellent on pheasant, chukar, quail, and partridge. In fact, I use this rub to season my turkey every Thanksgiving instead of a traditional wet brine. It’s also a smart way to season potatoes and mushrooms.


How to Brine Wild Game

The most common complaint I hear about wild game is that it’s tough and dry a symptom often the result of overcooking. The best way to counterbalance this issue is to start brining your meat. Salt can dramatically enhance juiciness, and in my opinion, is the most essential ingredient in your pantry.

Have you ever considered what makes meat juicy? Two factors contribute to this mouthfeel: fat being released from the fibers as you chew, and water that is naturally present in the tissue.

Juices squeeze out of meat as it cooks. The higher the heat, the more you lose. Since wild game is usually very lean, it’s detrimental to overcook because there’s no fat to make up for the excessive moisture loss. The easiest way to avoid this undesirable situation is to utilize the power of salt.

Salt can react with meat in two very different ways. If you apply a large amount for an extended period, it will draw all the moisture out. We refer to this process as curing, and it aids in preservation. A brine is salt dissolved in water with various herbs and spices in which you submerge meat or inject into meat. It has the opposite effect and increases the amount of moisture in the muscle tissue.

The salt in a brine denatures and relaxes protein structures. This allows the muscle tissue to absorb water from the wet brine. In other words, it helps meat hold more water, which counterbalances moisture loss when heated. I like to think of it as insurance for overcooking. In addition, it tenderizes meat and enhances the natural flavors.

There are two types of brines, wet and dry. A classic, wet brine is the one you are probably most familiar with from preparing Thanksgiving turkeys.

A dry brine is a mixture of salt and other spices without the liquids. In layman’s terms, it’s a dry rub applied to meat.

While technically a dry brine and a cure are the same thing, the main difference is the purpose. Unlike curing, a dry brine uses only enough salt to lightly cover the meat, not encrust it, for one to three days without having to rinse. The primary goal is to infuse foods with moisture and flavor.

Both types of brines are beneficial. A wet brine is perfect for cooking skinless birds or hefty cuts of meat before smoking. A common solution is 3 to 6% salt. My go-to ratio is a quarter of a cup of kosher salt for every four cups of water. You can include sugar to counterbalance the salt and add peppercorns, garlic, or herbs for flavor.

Remember that the longer you brine, the saltier the meat will be. Small birds or game may only need 8 to 12 hours, while turkeys or whole hams benefit from 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Always rinse the meat with cold water before cooking to remove excess salt.

When it comes to cooking plucked birds, it’s easier to achieve crispy skin if you go with a dry brine. The added water from a wet brine pumps liquid into the skin, which can make it rubbery if not thoroughly dried out before cooking. The dry-brine method is also my trick for making the perfect backstrap steak.

Below are two recipes one is a classic wet brine to use for almost any type of wild game that you plan to braise, roast, or smoke. It is perfect for skinless birds, geese, rabbits, squirrels, bone-in hams, or shoulders from deer or hogs.

The garlic and herb salt is a homemade rub that I frequently use for plucked gamebirds. It’s excellent on pheasant, chukar, quail, and partridge. In fact, I use this rub to season my turkey every Thanksgiving instead of a traditional wet brine. It’s also a smart way to season potatoes and mushrooms.


How to Brine Wild Game

The most common complaint I hear about wild game is that it’s tough and dry a symptom often the result of overcooking. The best way to counterbalance this issue is to start brining your meat. Salt can dramatically enhance juiciness, and in my opinion, is the most essential ingredient in your pantry.

Have you ever considered what makes meat juicy? Two factors contribute to this mouthfeel: fat being released from the fibers as you chew, and water that is naturally present in the tissue.

Juices squeeze out of meat as it cooks. The higher the heat, the more you lose. Since wild game is usually very lean, it’s detrimental to overcook because there’s no fat to make up for the excessive moisture loss. The easiest way to avoid this undesirable situation is to utilize the power of salt.

Salt can react with meat in two very different ways. If you apply a large amount for an extended period, it will draw all the moisture out. We refer to this process as curing, and it aids in preservation. A brine is salt dissolved in water with various herbs and spices in which you submerge meat or inject into meat. It has the opposite effect and increases the amount of moisture in the muscle tissue.

The salt in a brine denatures and relaxes protein structures. This allows the muscle tissue to absorb water from the wet brine. In other words, it helps meat hold more water, which counterbalances moisture loss when heated. I like to think of it as insurance for overcooking. In addition, it tenderizes meat and enhances the natural flavors.

There are two types of brines, wet and dry. A classic, wet brine is the one you are probably most familiar with from preparing Thanksgiving turkeys.

A dry brine is a mixture of salt and other spices without the liquids. In layman’s terms, it’s a dry rub applied to meat.

While technically a dry brine and a cure are the same thing, the main difference is the purpose. Unlike curing, a dry brine uses only enough salt to lightly cover the meat, not encrust it, for one to three days without having to rinse. The primary goal is to infuse foods with moisture and flavor.

Both types of brines are beneficial. A wet brine is perfect for cooking skinless birds or hefty cuts of meat before smoking. A common solution is 3 to 6% salt. My go-to ratio is a quarter of a cup of kosher salt for every four cups of water. You can include sugar to counterbalance the salt and add peppercorns, garlic, or herbs for flavor.

Remember that the longer you brine, the saltier the meat will be. Small birds or game may only need 8 to 12 hours, while turkeys or whole hams benefit from 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Always rinse the meat with cold water before cooking to remove excess salt.

When it comes to cooking plucked birds, it’s easier to achieve crispy skin if you go with a dry brine. The added water from a wet brine pumps liquid into the skin, which can make it rubbery if not thoroughly dried out before cooking. The dry-brine method is also my trick for making the perfect backstrap steak.

Below are two recipes one is a classic wet brine to use for almost any type of wild game that you plan to braise, roast, or smoke. It is perfect for skinless birds, geese, rabbits, squirrels, bone-in hams, or shoulders from deer or hogs.

The garlic and herb salt is a homemade rub that I frequently use for plucked gamebirds. It’s excellent on pheasant, chukar, quail, and partridge. In fact, I use this rub to season my turkey every Thanksgiving instead of a traditional wet brine. It’s also a smart way to season potatoes and mushrooms.


How to Brine Wild Game

The most common complaint I hear about wild game is that it’s tough and dry a symptom often the result of overcooking. The best way to counterbalance this issue is to start brining your meat. Salt can dramatically enhance juiciness, and in my opinion, is the most essential ingredient in your pantry.

Have you ever considered what makes meat juicy? Two factors contribute to this mouthfeel: fat being released from the fibers as you chew, and water that is naturally present in the tissue.

Juices squeeze out of meat as it cooks. The higher the heat, the more you lose. Since wild game is usually very lean, it’s detrimental to overcook because there’s no fat to make up for the excessive moisture loss. The easiest way to avoid this undesirable situation is to utilize the power of salt.

Salt can react with meat in two very different ways. If you apply a large amount for an extended period, it will draw all the moisture out. We refer to this process as curing, and it aids in preservation. A brine is salt dissolved in water with various herbs and spices in which you submerge meat or inject into meat. It has the opposite effect and increases the amount of moisture in the muscle tissue.

The salt in a brine denatures and relaxes protein structures. This allows the muscle tissue to absorb water from the wet brine. In other words, it helps meat hold more water, which counterbalances moisture loss when heated. I like to think of it as insurance for overcooking. In addition, it tenderizes meat and enhances the natural flavors.

There are two types of brines, wet and dry. A classic, wet brine is the one you are probably most familiar with from preparing Thanksgiving turkeys.

A dry brine is a mixture of salt and other spices without the liquids. In layman’s terms, it’s a dry rub applied to meat.

While technically a dry brine and a cure are the same thing, the main difference is the purpose. Unlike curing, a dry brine uses only enough salt to lightly cover the meat, not encrust it, for one to three days without having to rinse. The primary goal is to infuse foods with moisture and flavor.

Both types of brines are beneficial. A wet brine is perfect for cooking skinless birds or hefty cuts of meat before smoking. A common solution is 3 to 6% salt. My go-to ratio is a quarter of a cup of kosher salt for every four cups of water. You can include sugar to counterbalance the salt and add peppercorns, garlic, or herbs for flavor.

Remember that the longer you brine, the saltier the meat will be. Small birds or game may only need 8 to 12 hours, while turkeys or whole hams benefit from 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Always rinse the meat with cold water before cooking to remove excess salt.

When it comes to cooking plucked birds, it’s easier to achieve crispy skin if you go with a dry brine. The added water from a wet brine pumps liquid into the skin, which can make it rubbery if not thoroughly dried out before cooking. The dry-brine method is also my trick for making the perfect backstrap steak.

Below are two recipes one is a classic wet brine to use for almost any type of wild game that you plan to braise, roast, or smoke. It is perfect for skinless birds, geese, rabbits, squirrels, bone-in hams, or shoulders from deer or hogs.

The garlic and herb salt is a homemade rub that I frequently use for plucked gamebirds. It’s excellent on pheasant, chukar, quail, and partridge. In fact, I use this rub to season my turkey every Thanksgiving instead of a traditional wet brine. It’s also a smart way to season potatoes and mushrooms.


How to Brine Wild Game

The most common complaint I hear about wild game is that it’s tough and dry a symptom often the result of overcooking. The best way to counterbalance this issue is to start brining your meat. Salt can dramatically enhance juiciness, and in my opinion, is the most essential ingredient in your pantry.

Have you ever considered what makes meat juicy? Two factors contribute to this mouthfeel: fat being released from the fibers as you chew, and water that is naturally present in the tissue.

Juices squeeze out of meat as it cooks. The higher the heat, the more you lose. Since wild game is usually very lean, it’s detrimental to overcook because there’s no fat to make up for the excessive moisture loss. The easiest way to avoid this undesirable situation is to utilize the power of salt.

Salt can react with meat in two very different ways. If you apply a large amount for an extended period, it will draw all the moisture out. We refer to this process as curing, and it aids in preservation. A brine is salt dissolved in water with various herbs and spices in which you submerge meat or inject into meat. It has the opposite effect and increases the amount of moisture in the muscle tissue.

The salt in a brine denatures and relaxes protein structures. This allows the muscle tissue to absorb water from the wet brine. In other words, it helps meat hold more water, which counterbalances moisture loss when heated. I like to think of it as insurance for overcooking. In addition, it tenderizes meat and enhances the natural flavors.

There are two types of brines, wet and dry. A classic, wet brine is the one you are probably most familiar with from preparing Thanksgiving turkeys.

A dry brine is a mixture of salt and other spices without the liquids. In layman’s terms, it’s a dry rub applied to meat.

While technically a dry brine and a cure are the same thing, the main difference is the purpose. Unlike curing, a dry brine uses only enough salt to lightly cover the meat, not encrust it, for one to three days without having to rinse. The primary goal is to infuse foods with moisture and flavor.

Both types of brines are beneficial. A wet brine is perfect for cooking skinless birds or hefty cuts of meat before smoking. A common solution is 3 to 6% salt. My go-to ratio is a quarter of a cup of kosher salt for every four cups of water. You can include sugar to counterbalance the salt and add peppercorns, garlic, or herbs for flavor.

Remember that the longer you brine, the saltier the meat will be. Small birds or game may only need 8 to 12 hours, while turkeys or whole hams benefit from 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Always rinse the meat with cold water before cooking to remove excess salt.

When it comes to cooking plucked birds, it’s easier to achieve crispy skin if you go with a dry brine. The added water from a wet brine pumps liquid into the skin, which can make it rubbery if not thoroughly dried out before cooking. The dry-brine method is also my trick for making the perfect backstrap steak.

Below are two recipes one is a classic wet brine to use for almost any type of wild game that you plan to braise, roast, or smoke. It is perfect for skinless birds, geese, rabbits, squirrels, bone-in hams, or shoulders from deer or hogs.

The garlic and herb salt is a homemade rub that I frequently use for plucked gamebirds. It’s excellent on pheasant, chukar, quail, and partridge. In fact, I use this rub to season my turkey every Thanksgiving instead of a traditional wet brine. It’s also a smart way to season potatoes and mushrooms.


How to Brine Wild Game

The most common complaint I hear about wild game is that it’s tough and dry a symptom often the result of overcooking. The best way to counterbalance this issue is to start brining your meat. Salt can dramatically enhance juiciness, and in my opinion, is the most essential ingredient in your pantry.

Have you ever considered what makes meat juicy? Two factors contribute to this mouthfeel: fat being released from the fibers as you chew, and water that is naturally present in the tissue.

Juices squeeze out of meat as it cooks. The higher the heat, the more you lose. Since wild game is usually very lean, it’s detrimental to overcook because there’s no fat to make up for the excessive moisture loss. The easiest way to avoid this undesirable situation is to utilize the power of salt.

Salt can react with meat in two very different ways. If you apply a large amount for an extended period, it will draw all the moisture out. We refer to this process as curing, and it aids in preservation. A brine is salt dissolved in water with various herbs and spices in which you submerge meat or inject into meat. It has the opposite effect and increases the amount of moisture in the muscle tissue.

The salt in a brine denatures and relaxes protein structures. This allows the muscle tissue to absorb water from the wet brine. In other words, it helps meat hold more water, which counterbalances moisture loss when heated. I like to think of it as insurance for overcooking. In addition, it tenderizes meat and enhances the natural flavors.

There are two types of brines, wet and dry. A classic, wet brine is the one you are probably most familiar with from preparing Thanksgiving turkeys.

A dry brine is a mixture of salt and other spices without the liquids. In layman’s terms, it’s a dry rub applied to meat.

While technically a dry brine and a cure are the same thing, the main difference is the purpose. Unlike curing, a dry brine uses only enough salt to lightly cover the meat, not encrust it, for one to three days without having to rinse. The primary goal is to infuse foods with moisture and flavor.

Both types of brines are beneficial. A wet brine is perfect for cooking skinless birds or hefty cuts of meat before smoking. A common solution is 3 to 6% salt. My go-to ratio is a quarter of a cup of kosher salt for every four cups of water. You can include sugar to counterbalance the salt and add peppercorns, garlic, or herbs for flavor.

Remember that the longer you brine, the saltier the meat will be. Small birds or game may only need 8 to 12 hours, while turkeys or whole hams benefit from 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Always rinse the meat with cold water before cooking to remove excess salt.

When it comes to cooking plucked birds, it’s easier to achieve crispy skin if you go with a dry brine. The added water from a wet brine pumps liquid into the skin, which can make it rubbery if not thoroughly dried out before cooking. The dry-brine method is also my trick for making the perfect backstrap steak.

Below are two recipes one is a classic wet brine to use for almost any type of wild game that you plan to braise, roast, or smoke. It is perfect for skinless birds, geese, rabbits, squirrels, bone-in hams, or shoulders from deer or hogs.

The garlic and herb salt is a homemade rub that I frequently use for plucked gamebirds. It’s excellent on pheasant, chukar, quail, and partridge. In fact, I use this rub to season my turkey every Thanksgiving instead of a traditional wet brine. It’s also a smart way to season potatoes and mushrooms.