Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 3, 2011 11:16 PM

Do you need to brine kosher chicken/turkey before cooking?

I'm told that the process is similar to brining.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's been dry-salted, so you definitely do not want to brine it.

    1 Reply
    1. The koshering process consists of soaking the poultry in unsalted water for half an hour and then "packing" it in salt for about an hour, so it has been at least partially brined.

      I never bother to brine Kosher turkey, but I do often dry brine Kosher chicken overnight, not only to add flavor but to help crisp up the skin. I use less salt than is usually called for, but the full amount of whatever other herbs and spices I might be using.

      1. You must distinguish between kosher slaughtering and teh "kashering" process, which is the dry salting. What has happened to your poor precious pullet previous to purchase?

        1. So if you shouldn't brine the meat how should you prepare it, since brining is the traditional method of preparing fowl so it doesn't get tough and dry during cooking?

          8 Replies
          1. re: aynrandgirl

            What exactly are you making? I've gotten kosher chicken breasts before (w/out knowing about the brining) and made schnitzel Vienna style as well as chicken piccata with it. They came out fantastic: juicy, well-seasoned, neither tough nor dry. They are so good, in fact, that I don't buy any other chicken breasts anymore.

            I guess you should prepare however you were planning, since it's ALREADY BRINED. I don't know if I understand your question.

            1. re: linguafood

              The comments above make it seem like koshering is really dry salting, not brining.

              The long-term goal is a Thanksgiving turkey, but it's a lot cheaper to experiment with cooking techniques on chicken. I'm also a fan of fried chicken.

              1. re: aynrandgirl

                All I can tell you is the kosher chicken breasts I bought were brined. And they are awesome.

                1. re: aynrandgirl

                  Technically, you are correct. What is often called a "dry brine" is actually a rub or a cure. I have read that the term "dry brine" came into common use after the publication of Judy Rodgers book and the huge popularity of her Zuni chicken recipe. People began to experiment with her technique and the term "dry brine" became, and remains, in common use.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    I don't see how a dry rub can have the same osmotic effects as a brine, since a rub only affects the surface of the meat and a brine can effect meat under the surface.

                    1. re: aynrandgirl

                      Look up the Zuni chicken recipe, try it, and find out. It's all over the place. Just Google Zuni Roast Chicken with Bread Salad. There's a reason it's one of the most famous recipes of the past couple of decades. What have you got to lose?

                      1. re: aynrandgirl

                        Cook's Illustrated has explained the process thoroughly. It works.

                    2. re: aynrandgirl

                      Brining is really just a way to get salt into the meat as a way to retain the water that's already there. It doesn't add too much additional water to the original weight. During the wet-brine process, first the brine draws out the water from the meat, and then the salty water is drawn back in, where it theoretically remains during cooking. In dry-brining or slating, the moisture from within the meat comes to the surface, makes a very concentrated brine, and then is drawn back into the meat. The net result is the same over time, with the advantage that the skin ends up being dryer and therefore crispier in the end.

                      For Thanksgiving Turkey, season the Bird the night before with everything except the salt. Rub it well all over with your choice of seasonings and let it sit overnight in the fridge. I use onion and garlic powders (or granulated -- not onion or garlic salt), paprika, black and white pepper, poultry seasoning or a mix of sage and whatever other herbs and spices you like. You can do this as a dry rub or mix it with oil or butter* to make a paste and rub it on, inside and out. Don't forget the neck cavity as well as the main. I've done it both ways and both work fine.

                      You can actually do this several days ahead of time (within reason). The longer it sits in the fridge and the drier the skin gets, the crispier it will cook up.

                      *Yes, obviously butter with Turkey is not Kosher, but I am assuming that the purpose of buying a Kosher bird is because it tastes better, not because you are keeping Kosher.

                2. Last year, I asked my daughter (who works in a supermarket) to get me a fresh turkey. She bought a kosher one, then helpfully brined it. When I took it out of the brine and looked at it, I knew what had happened. I rinsed and rinsed the bird before cooking. It was inedible. I pitched it.