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Dry Brining, times for various meats

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    Dry Brining, times for various meats

    I am new to this concept of Dry Brining, but it sounds great. The amount of salt per pound has been discussed and I am comfortable with that. But as for the time element, how long should I dry brine steak, whole chicken, cut up chicken, pork back ribs, pork spare ribs, pork shoulder, beef ribs, brisket, etc.

    I am sorry if this is a complicated question, but maybe there is a chart or rule of thumb posted somewhere on this site.

    Thank you, PelletHeadSteve

    Thinner pieces like ribs, steaks and chicken parts only need a few to 12 hours. Much thicker cuts like beef roasts, pork shoulder, whole chicken and brisket benefit from at least 24 hours and up to 48 or more. The rate of penetration decreases over a predictible curve (Dr. Blonder referred to it as the square root of time) so the deeper it has to penetrate to get to the center of the meat, the longer it should brine, but it isn't linear. As an example (and no, the math probably isn't accurate, but I think I have the concept straight) say the salt penetrates 1/8" in the first hour. It will penetrate another 1/8" in the next 2 hours and another 1/8" in the next 4 hours and another 1/8" in the next 16 hours. Or something like that. Remember that you salt all sides so the salt only has to penetrate 1/2 the total thickness to get all the way to the center. Also, the rate of salt penetration speeds up when heat is applied so the salt doesn't have to be all the way to the center before you cook, but should be a good way in.

    I don't know if this helps/answers your question or not.



      Here's my thought Steve:

      Any where from just before you cook to 3 days for all of the above.

      Lots depends on how much time you have.

      Huskee taught me that ribs dont taste much different if you salt them an hour or a day before you cook them . Kind of a weak answer so let me list some of my target times:

      steak 1 hours

      whole chicken 24 hours

      cut up chicken 1 hour

      pork back ribs 24 hours

      pork spare ribs 24 hours

      pork shoulder 72 hours

      beef ribs N/A to me
      brisket N/A to me

      Hope this help some


        I like at least overnight. 2 days for thick stuff like butts and briskets.

        The salt penetrates deeper as you cook.

        Most ribs that are vacuum packed have enough sodium to supply 15% of your RDV.


          You'll find some accepted norms, and you'll also find wackos like me who do what they do. I'll share what I do because it works for me:

          Steak: Min 1 hour, preferably 3-6 (some guys go overnight to 24hrs) Steaks are usually an impulse buy for me so there's rarely any overnight.

          Whole chicken: Minimum 2 or 3hrs, preferably 6-8 (morning of the cook)

          Cut up chicken: I like to wet brine skinless cut pieces in 1gal water, 1C table salt, for 1 hr only; Skin-on pieces dry brine 1-2hrs

          Back ribs: at least an hour, sometimes 2 or 3. I notice no difference going longer but it hurts nothing.

          Spare ribs: same as backs

          Shoulder/butt: I try to do them at least overnight, sometimes 18-24 hrs if I plan ahead properly

          Beef ribs: Same as pork ribs or steak- at least 1hr, maybe 2-3 or even 6 if I have time

          Brisket: Same as pork shoulder/butt


            Thanks to all of you for responding to my question. Your answers helped me a lot. With some slight variations, you all suggest the same basic technique: Thin needs less time and thick needs more. As with most cooking methods, dry brining is an ongoing experiment with the goal of achieving elusive perfection.

            As far as chickens are concerned, in the past I have had good success with Cabela's Honey Cure and Brine Mix. This is a wet brine mix and I use half chickens brined overnight. The brine is a combination of salt and sugar (other ingredients?). Could this mixture be used for dry brining?



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