The Ultimate Guide to Dry Brining Steaks

raw meat on brown wooden table
raw meat on brown wooden table


Dry brining has become a go-to technique for steak enthusiasts and professional chefs alike. But what exactly is dry brining, and why is it so effective for cooking steaks? In this article, we'll explore the science behind dry brining, its benefits, and how you can master this technique at home.

What is Dry Brining?

Dry brining is the process of applying salt to the surface of the meat and allowing it to rest for an extended period before cooking. Unlike wet brining, which involves submerging the meat in a saltwater solution, dry brining requires no additional liquid.

The Science Behind Dry Brining

When salt is applied to the meat, it draws out the moisture through osmosis. The salt then dissolves in this moisture, creating a concentrated brine that is reabsorbed into the meat. This process helps break down muscle fibers, resulting in a tender, juicy steak.

Why Dry Brine Steaks?

  • Enhanced Flavor: The salt penetrates deep into the meat, seasoning it throughout.

  • Improved Texture: The brining process tenderizes the meat, making it more succulent.

  • Better Browning: The dry surface of the meat promotes better Maillard reactions, leading to a flavorful crust.

Different Ways to Dry Brine

  1. Basic Dry Brine: Apply a generous amount of kosher salt to the steak and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours.

  2. Extended Dry Brine: For thicker cuts, you can extend the brining time to up to 48 hours.

  3. Seasoning-Infused Dry Brine: Incorporate herbs and spices with the salt for added flavor complexity.

Seasoning Options

  • Classic: Kosher salt and black pepper.

  • Herbaceous: Add rosemary, thyme, or oregano to the salt.

  • Spicy: Incorporate a touch of cayenne or chili flakes.

  • Garlic Lovers: Add garlic powder or minced garlic for an extra flavor kick.

Tips for Success

  • Salt Choice: My preference here is pink sea salt. You can get it in a coarse version too for better adherence to the meat.

  • Timing: The general rule is to brine for at least 1 hour per inch of steak thickness.

  • Rinsing: There's no need to rinse the steak after brining, as the salt will have been absorbed.


Dry brining is a simple yet effective technique to elevate your steak game. Whether you're a seasoned grill master or a cooking novice, mastering the art of dry brining can take your steaks to the next level of flavor and tenderness.

If you're looking to get started dry brining, check out this article on pink sea salt and consider trying the steak seasonings in the links below!