Grill Dads | Maple Chili Juicy Bird Dry Brine

This dry brine is a must for any bird with the sweetness of maple sugar and perfect heat from red chili flake. That’s right… Tasty. Crispy. Tender & Juicy. You’re welcome.

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What is a Dry Brine?

The dry brining process involves salting and then allowing for the moisture within the food to form a brine. This will trap the natural moisture, allowing for a juicy, crispy result, particularly for poultry like chicken and turkey. Remember, moisture is the enemy of the crisp.

Both dry brine and wet brine techniques use a salt solution to prepare proteins before cooking, but wet brining doesn’t produce the tasty, crispy bird that dry brining does.

The biggest misconception is that tenderness comes from sitting in water. In a wet brine, the water is just a vessel to get the salt-solution into the bird. It’s the salt that is the key to tenderness. 

Trust us. In fact, we even engineered the perfect dry brine for super bowl chicken wings, thanksgiving turkey or grilled chicken.

How to dry brine

  1. Sprinkle 1 tbsp per pound-of-protein on the poultry – distribute across the top of the skin, under the skin, and in the cavity of the whole bird.
  2. Place your poultry uncovered on a rack or sheet tray, and place in the fridge for 24+ hours.
  3. Let that moisture flow!

The Science:
When the combination of spices, salt and sugar is sprinkled on the protein, it experiences:

OSMOSIS: This draws the moisture out of the bird which then dissolves the sugar and salt on the skin, and then the sugar and salt are reabsorbed into the bird. It all dissolves in the first hour, and then it spends the rest of the time absorbing the solution.

DIFFUSION: When left for long enough, the salt re-shapes, dissolving (or relaxing) muscle proteins, allowing the meat to reabsorb and retain the flavorful moisture while drying out the skin.

The Results:

  • Tasty! Who wants water-logged poultry? Not us.
  • Tender & Juicy! When the dry brine infused moisture is reabsorbed into the meat, it breaks down the protein, making it relax, leading to a more tender and juicy bird because it doesn’t constrict and squeeze all the juice out when cooking.
  • Crispy! Leaving the dry brined bird in the fridge uncovered overnight allows excess moisture to evaporate off the skin leaving the sugar in the skin to become super crispy.

How long does it take to dry brine turkey?

Here’s what we recommend:

  • Wings, legs, breast or thigh pieces = 24 hours
  • Whole chicken or duck = 24-36 hours
  • Turkey = 48 hours