Alton Brown Is Begging You To Stop Saying 'Dry Brine'

There are countless ways to prepare meat. When it comes to turkey, you have likely heard of a process called brining. According to the Food Network, to brine a turkey means to essentially soak it in water that's loaded with salt and sugar (and sometimes other seasonings or flavors). The process allows the turkey to soak up the flavors of its brine, making for a much tastier bird.

When it comes to seasoning meat, different methods yield different results; most people brine turkeys because they want that salty flavor to carry through the thickness of the bird — something that, by soaking the bird in the solution for hours, is easier to accomplish.

It's possible you've also heard of the term "dry brine." This concept means the bird is not actually soaked in water but rather is generously seasoned and left alone to absorb the seasoning for hours before it is cooked. However, celebrity chef Alton Brown has some news for anyone who prefers to "dry brine" their turkey — there is actually no such thing.

The phrase dry brine doesn't make sense

By definition, brine is "water saturated or strongly impregnated with common salt," per Merriam-Webster. With that said, a dry brine would be an oxymoron — and Alton Brown has had enough. The chef recently tweeted his thoughts on the phrase: "There is no such thing as a 'dry brine.' If you rub your bird with salt/spices then it's either a 'rub' or a 'cure,'" part of Brown's tweet read.

He's not wrong. Dry rubs are common on meats such as ribs and brisket in order to build flavor before cooking, but you can certainly add a dry rub mixture to a turkey and let it sit to absorb the flavors. On the other hand, the National Center for Home Food Preservation defines a cure as "a combination of salt, sugar, nitrite and/or nitrate," and while it's mostly used as a preservation tactic (think cured meat such as salami or prosciutto), it also adds tremendous flavor.

Ultimately, how you choose to prepare your perfect turkey is up to you, but if you go the sans-water route, Alton Brown wants you to refer to your process as creating a rub or a cure.