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I want to remove salt from marinated chicken thighs. What would be the most effective way to do this "reverse brining", if flavour does not matter?

I have seen these two questions: How deeply will the flavors in a brine penetrate chicken? and How does rub or marinade actually seep into meat?

It seems like small molecules like salt penetrate throughout the meat, whereas larger molecules like food colouring stay on the surface. Since my main goal is to remove salt, would soaking or boiling the meat be most effective? I assume cutting the meat up smaller or even grinding it up will speed up the process, but with small quantities I would prefer not to have to break out the meat grinder. Also, the meat is fully cooked. Do changes in the protein affect how (much) salt can be drawn out of the meat?

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  • I would suggest to put the food in the freezer and it at a later point. Get the doggie some doggie food. All you can do to remove salt now will end up in something the dog won't like. – Johannes_B Sep 8 '20 at 3:37
  • The meat is just a supplement to the dog food. I will remove the dog-related section of the question, and just ask about ways to remove salt from cooked meat (if taste/palatability is no object). – mbjb Sep 8 '20 at 5:30
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Boiling in a large amount of water is probably the most efficient method. The water should be boiling to avoid spoilage and to promote fast diffusion, and there should be a lot of it to maximize the rate of diffusion. (Alternatively, you could replace the water one or more times during the process) Cutting up the pieces will speed up the process, but if time/texture/tastiness are not important then you can boil the stuff as long as you like.

As for the cooking process having affected how much salt can be drawn out: Possibly a bit. Chloride ions are known to bind to certain muscle proteins during the brining and cooking process. I would expect this to be a very minor effect, though. If you've ever tasted the meat left over from a long-cooking stock, you'll note how bland it can get.

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