Prepare Meat For Smoking – Brining

brined turkey

There are many ways to prepare meat to go on the smoker. One of those ways is to brine the meat prior to cooking. This is a method often employed with poultry and enhances the flavor and moisture of the bird. Even though it is commonly used with chicken or turkey, it can be employed with with other meats as well.

 

Methods of brining

 

There are two methods of brining exist. Wet brining and dry brining. Wet brining involves a salt water solution and dry brining uses the same ingredients less the liquid. Whether you wet brine (my preference) or dry brine, the process will take anywhere from an hour to overnight depending on the size of what you are brining. When I brine my turkey, I will do that overnight. A general rule out there is one hour per pound.

 

How to make a wet brine

 

I prefer a wet brine when I look at brining. A brine is very simple to make.

 

  • 1/2 gallon of water.

  • 1/2 gallon of kosher salt.

 

It’s that simple. Mix the two ingredients until the salt dissolves and you have your brine. Some folks like to heat the mixture and you can do that as well. I tend to just mix it up. If you do heat up the brine, you must allow it to cool in order to ensure there is no bacteria buildup. Putting it in the fridge will do the trick.

 

Once complete, fill a bag with the mixture and submerge the meat into the mixture. If you are looking at brining a large item like a turkey you may need to purchase brining bags like these.

 

brining bag

Things to watch out for

 

  • Adding too much salt.

  • Make sure all sale is dissolved.

  • Ensure water is cooled before submerging meat (if mixture was heated).

  • Do not brine the meat too long. An hour per pound is the guideline.

  • Ensure the meat is entirely submerged in the brine.

Once completed and the meat is cooking, be careful as it will cook faster than maybe you are used to.

 

 

So, should you brine?

 

Well, that is up to you. Some feel it is necessary, some feel it is not. I’m somewhere in the middle. I almost always brine a turkey and I will brine chicken from time to time depending on the type and recipe. I never brine beef, pork or any other meat. Just poultry typically.

 

I would encourage you to try it and see for yourself. As an alternative, I have found this commercial brine that I really enjoy.

 

bird bath brine mix

 

Happy smoking and please let me know how you make out!

 

 

If you enjoyed this article, come check out the rest of my articles.

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Prepare Meat For Smoking – Brining

  1. Thank you for sharing this fun fact about smoking meat. My husband has a smoker and we smoke some salmon and turkey a couple of times but we never really put them in the brine. He only cares about his smoke wood. I wonder if it will taste better or not. Will try your method and will keep you posted. 

  2. My son has recently experimented with using a brine with poultry (turkey and chicken) and he believes it makes quite a difference in the end product. Just a couple of days ago, I cooked a steak for him and used a wet brine first. The results were quite amazing, according to him. It was a London broil cut, which can be tough. But it came out quite tender and flavorful.

    Thanks for your information on brines and how to use them. I’ll pass this on to him, too!

  3. I have never tried brining my meat, but I see where it might give me an interesting alternative to my usual way of preparation. The method seems quite simple, but i always worry about having too much salt in the meat. I also wonder if it would be necessary to season the meat in addition to brining, or just bar BQ using sauce only. Any thoughts on this ?

    1. I have done both where I have seasoned and not seasoned after brining. Brining does add salt and further seasoning could really drive up the sodium level depending on what you use. Most of the time if I season, I use a low salt seasoning.

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