How to pat dry chicken or meat

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Today we’re talking about one of my favorite techniques for better chicken every time – dry brining! This simple trick will totally change your chicken game.


Chicken can easily be bland, dry, & boring – but I’m here to lớn tell you, it doesn’t have lớn be! I’m all about easy ways to lớn make your food taste better, và dry brining is one of the easiest ways to bởi vì it.

What is a dry brine?

A dry brine is simply salting a piece of meat and letting it sit before cooking. You may have heard of wet brining before, but the two are quite a bit different.

For a wet brine, you boil a mixture of water, sugar, salt, và aromatics, then place the meat in the mixture và refrigerate for up to lớn a day. This results in a more tender, flavorful, and juicier kết thúc product. However, wet brining requires quite a bit more work, & depending on the kích thước of what you are brining (think: a whole turkey) it can be a bit impractical.

A dry brine gives you similar results to a wet brine & allows for meat that is tenderized, flavorful, và easier to lớn crisp và caramelize. It is easier & quicker than a wet brine, because all you have to bởi vì is salt the meat on both sides at least half an hour before cooking, then let it sit.

Is a dry brine or a wet brine better?

Honestly, it depends on what you are cooking, what you want the outcome khổng lồ be, & how much time you have! Here’s a quick overview:

Use a wet brine if…

You have at least 4 hours to brine.You don’t mind a little extra work và time for making & cooling the brine.You’d prefer juicier meat over crispy skin or a more caramelized surface.

Use a dry brine if…

You’re using a larger piece of meat, like a whole chicken or turkey.You’re short on time.You’re using beef or skin-on chicken.

How does a dry brine work?

A dry brine works through osmosis! Essentially, salting the meat ahead of time will draw moisture out of it. This moisture will then break down the salt and reabsorb into the protein, both tenderizing it & flavoring it. Thanks khổng lồ this process, your protein will be salted throughout, instead of just on the outside, và the exterior will be drier – which is ideal for good caramelization.

Benefits of Using a Dry Brine

Overall, a dry brine has three main benefits:

It removes excess moisture. Now, don’t mistake this for a dry kết thúc product – instead, your meat will still be juicy inside, but the drier exterior will be easier khổng lồ brown.It seasons meat all the way through.

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Typically, you’ll season your meat right before cooking. This creates a flavorful crust, but for thicker cuts, the middle can taste quite bland. With this simple fix, your entire cut of protein will be filled with flavor.It tenderizes meat. Salt naturally breaks down the tendons in meat, và with enough time, a dry brine can help create a more tender kết thúc product.

How lớn Dry Brine Chicken

Luckily, dry brining chicken is really simple! My favorite thing khổng lồ dry brine is a whole chicken, because it creates crispier skin, but it works great on other cuts, too. Below I’ll talk about how khổng lồ dry brine any cut of chicken.

What type of salt is best?

The best type of salt to use for dry brining is kosher salt because it sticks the best và distributes more evenly, but coarse sea salt will also work if you have it on hand! I wouldn’t recommend using fine sea salt or regular table salt for brining, but if it’s all you have, it’ll work in a pinch – just use half the recommended amount listed below!

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Whole Chicken

Here’s what you’ll need to do to dry brine a whole chicken:

Pat it completely dry, then phối it on a rimmed baking sheet or other dish. I personally lượt thích to place mine in a 9×13 inch dish with a thick layer of paper towels – the chicken will thua kém more juice than you’d think! Alternatively, you can place the chicken on a rack, which will allow the skin on the bottom to dry out a bit.Salt the chicken. Salt the chicken with coarse or kosher salt on both sides, & in the cavity. On average, you can use about 1 teaspoon per pound – but it doesn’t have khổng lồ be exact! If you’d like, you can also add herbs lượt thích thyme & rosemary or spices like black pepper to further flavor the chicken.Refrigerate for 8-24 hours. After you’ve salted it, place the chicken in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours. If you’d like, you can loosely cover it with a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper, but don’t seal the foil. This allows the chicken skin lớn properly dry out so you’ll wind up with super crispy skin!Cook as directed. Once you’re ready khổng lồ bake, simply pull the chicken out of the fridge & follow the recipe instructions khổng lồ roast in the oven.

Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken

Smaller bone-in, skin-on cuts like chicken thighs, wings, breasts, or legs are also great candidates for dry brining!

For these, simply pat them dry, place them on a paper towel-lined dish. Salt on both sides. You’ll use about ¾ teaspoon coarse or kosher salt per pound of chicken. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to about 12 hours.

I recommend leaving the chicken uncovered if you’re just refrigerating for a few hours, or using a loose tent of foil or parchment if brining overnight.

Boneless, Skinless Chicken

For boneless, skinless chicken all you’ll need is a super quick dry brine!

Simply pat the chicken dry on both sides, place on a plate or in a dish. Salt on both sides with about ½ a teaspoon of coarse or kosher salt per side. Refrigerate the chicken for 30 minutes lớn 1 hour, then cook as directed!

Frequently Asked Questions