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Jan 8, 2014 08:40 AM

Help with modifying a brine recipe by removing sugar?

Good morning I would greatly appreciate help with this brine recipe for pheasant, seen here,

4 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon crushed juniper berries
bay leaves (only listed in directions


I simply want to remove the sugar and just have a salt brine with herbs.

Do I need to remove any of the salt to compensate for no sugar?
I'm also curious if I can double the amount of brine if the pheasant (i'm only using 1) is not covered all the way with one batch?
As long as the ratio of salt to water is the same, will adding more brine add more saltiness?

I am only using 1 2lb. pheasant if that is important.

Thank you greatly for your time!

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  1. I do not have experience brining pheasant, but I suggest that you use Google with keywords "brine without sugar for poultry." There are a lot of hits that may be of help to you.

    1. Just omit the sugar.

      The sugar is added because it gives the brine a much more savory flavor than it would have with salt alone.

      1. You don't need to change the other ingredients in the brine. You don't need to double the volume - just put the brine and bird into a zipper bag Put the brine bag into a snug-fitting container/pot and squeeze out most of the air before completing the seal. The bird will be surrounded by the brine.

        1. Why would you want to omit the sugar? Health reasons or fear of sweetness? The small amount of sugar won't add sweetness. Use honey if you don't like sugar.

          It's long been my understanding that sugar in brine provides the carbohydrate needed to give your tastebuds the the umami sense. As Hamster stated... makes the meat more savory than salty.

          1. Just leave out the sugar - shouldn't hurt a bit - and this ratio of salt to water looks just right to me.