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Do you heat your brine?


Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 6, 2009
I was watching a show on Food Network - Big Daddy was the guy - and he put some pork chops in a brine, but did not heat up the brine. He even made a point of discussing why he didn't bother heating it up. I've always heated up my brines to help dissolve the salt. But, this does add about an hour to the process because you obviously have to cool it down before you put the meat in. I was thinking about testing out a cold-only brine, as "Big Daddy" did on that show. (his pork chops looked outstanding by the way) 

What is your preferred method? 


Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jun 21, 2007
I have tried a cold brine and a heated one, to me there is a difference. The cold brine did not breakdown the spices as well. I now bring the brine to a boil, stir, and then take it off the burner. Yes, this does add time to the total process, but it works for me. It's all good my friend.


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 18, 2007
I have never heated any of my brines but as you can see and read there are lots of people who do. I suppose it depends how much stuff is in your brine as well. I should try boiling mine next time and see the difference.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Joined Jun 22, 2009
What Ross said. I guess I should give it a try too.


Master of the Pit
Joined Aug 17, 2010
I've done both and could not discern a major difference. Rich has a point though, if you are doing a complicated brine I would boil just so you KNOW those flavors and not just the water are going to penetrate. If I do say grilled chicken breasts for my wife and I during the week, I don't boil because its time consuming. If I'm going to smoke a whole chicken on the weekend and throw herbs and lemon slices etc in the brine I boil it.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Apr 2, 2009
The only time I ever boiled it was when I did some of Bear's salmon, he had it in his instructions so I did it. When I do chicken or turkey breasts, or even canadian bacon, I put the spices in my plastic tub, add lukewarm water and disolve the spices. Then I add cold water to cover the meat and on into the fridge. Never had any problems or complaints.


Smoking Guru
Staff member
OTBS Member
Joined Feb 3, 2009
I boil my brine just because it makes the salt and sugar dissolve easier.  Also when using fresh herbs the heat releases flavor . Just make sure to cool it b4 adding the meat / fowl to be brined.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Sep 28, 2007
I boil my brine just to get evething mixed and dissolved well and in the fridge it goes to cool off.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Joined Sep 12, 2009
The only time I ever boiled it was when I did some of Bear's salmon, he had it in his instructions so I did it. When I do chicken or turkey breasts, or even canadian bacon, I put the spices in my plastic tub, add lukewarm water and disolve the spices. Then I add cold water to cover the meat and on into the fridge. Never had any problems or complaints.
LOL---I had to look that up!---It's been awhile!

I boil a small amount of liquid with the other stuff. Then I add a lot of ice & ice water to bring the temp down fast.

Haven't done any Salmon for awhile!  That's why I make nice "step by steps"------I need them too!!!!!  



Master of the Pit
Joined Feb 10, 2009
I like to heat my brines up...not boil them but just enough heat to dissolve the sugar and salt.And i think it helps bring the seasonings to life!


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Feb 3, 2009
Like Les I like to warm mine up and not boil. I do it the night before so it's cool whenever I get around to using it


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Apr 29, 2008
I would say that like most things there is a time and a place for which one you use.  I agree with several of the posts about the more complicated brines to bring to a boil.  For a quick chicken breast brine I just use some warm water to get the salt and sugar to dissolve.  My 2 cents..


Meat Mopper
SMF Premier Member
Joined Apr 7, 2009
For just a salt + sugar brine and no flavoring I use just cold tap water.

For a  gallon of brine with 3/4 cup each of salt and sugar I do the following:
  1. Add measured salt and sugar to a pint pyrex pitcher
  2. Add  3/4 to 1.5 cups tap water and stir for about 10 sec or more, let it settle for about 5 sec or more
  3. Pour gently off the top of the pitcher into your initially empty brining bucket just the relatively clear but still milky liquid, leaving the obviously undissolved solids behind
  4. Repeat steps 2&3 untill no solids remain in the pitcher
  5. Add a tray of ice cubes to the brining bucket, maybe 2 trays if your tap water is warm
  6. Fill the brining bucket up to the 1 gallon mark with water and stir the cubes in a little
You’ve got a gallon of icy brine you can drop your meat into immediately and it is done in just a few minutes.  It does require a brining container with a 1 gallon mark on it.

jeff 1

Smoke Blower
Joined Feb 11, 2011
I try and make mine the day before.  I will usually heat it,  let it cool and then stick in fridge for overnight or I will make a double brine then add ice to cool and dilute


Smoking Fanatic
Joined May 12, 2011
I have boiled and done cold brine mix for fish. I have found the brine dissolves better in hot water. One does not have to boil say 2 gal just boil a sauce pan with the ingredients for 2 gal and then add to the cold water when done and ready to brine.

Don't waste the energy boiling up a large pot of water.
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Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Jul 26, 2009
I have done it both hot and cold. I use the boat motor on both to get the good distribution in the brine. Breaking down the pepercorns helps infuse the brine better for my taste


Fire Starter
Joined Oct 26, 2007
Well, I have done both and regret neither. There are a couple of good, theoretical reasons to heat the brine, but in the end all that salt sort of overrides any need.

First is that idea that heating the water can help dissolve the salt and nitrite. However, it is better not to heat the nitrite, so I add my salt and nitrite mix at the end when the water has cooled to just warm.

I boil my water with the spice in it for two reasons: to destroy any funky bacteria on the whole spices and to "wake-up" the spices. Whether or not any of this is absolutely needed is a question best answered by what happens if one does not go through the bother of it. Yet, I still do it. Years ago, meats were commonly cured by simply rubbing the salt on the surface, although a great excess was used and removed before cooking. That process would now be quite unsuitable to the type of food mostly done here.
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