If you brine chicken in a high saline solution and and then cook it using a dry heat method it will come out salty. IF however you do the same thing and then cook it with a wet heat method e.g. soup it doesn't come out salty or seem affected by the brine. Why is this?



2 Answers 2


Salt dissolves in water. Brining is simply the process of soaking something in a saline solution so that either it absorbs saltwater, or the salinity of the pre-existing water approaches equilibrium with that of the brine. The end state is just a lot of water, some on/inside the meat and some outside, all with approximately the same salinity.

If you roast the result, you're evaporating most of the water but keeping the salt. If you boil it, then you're just reversing the brining process you followed in the first place, by diluting whatever salt (not to mention any other minerals/flavour) it has.

The salt in a brined chicken is not reacting with the meat, it's just dissolved in the water (which is in/on the meat). Give it a good enough "rinse" and the salt water will be gone.


In a Dry Heat method (such as smoking) the air around your meat is incredibly, well, dry. This dry air is therefore prone to absorb any moisture it comes in contact with, like the brine. The water is absorbed into the air and the salt remains. This results in a higher concentration of salt and is what is causing your bird to be 'salty'.

If, however, the air is moist already or there is a 'more available' source of moisture (wet method) then the humidity of the air surrounding your meat is already at (or near) it's capacity, that is the air is at it's maximum humidity or it's saturation point. The result is that the already moist air does not draw out the moisture leaving your dish moist and flavorful. In this case the broth will have a more balanced flavor.

Using a brine for a dry method is often a good thing, like a smoked turkey. But the remaining moisture and seasoning will be concentrated through the smoking process and so it requires the right balance of seasoning to get the desired result.

A good example you can look at to compare this is Pastrami vs. Corned Beef. They both start as a brined brisket, but pastrami is either dry roasted or smoked where corned beef is boiled.

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