Brining waterfowl


Started Brining my fowl this year..kinda a combination of tips from the internet..curious how some of you do it am using mostly small batches in a quart and a half bowl,then freezing for later after rinsing.any tips and measurements of salt and spices you might add appreciated


Old and grumpy
Mike, this is an easy brine that I use on fish and fowl:

One part salt to 3 to 4 parts brown sugar (DO NOT use iodized salt).
1/4 - 1/3 cup black pepper
1/4 - 1/3 cup Cayenne pepper
Fresh minced Garlic
Large air-tight ziplock bag.
Alder wood chunks

Rinse the fillets in cold water and cut into desired size pieces.
Mix the sugar, pepper, salt and garlic in a bowl
In the large Ziplock bag, layer the meat and brine mix

Put the bag in the refrigerator for 8 - 12 hours
Take them out of the bag and rinse with cold water
Spread them out on a cooking rack to set up and develop a film. This takes about an hour or 2 and it helps the smoke sink into the meat.

Place them in a smoker - I like to keep the smoker around 175* and use apple juice in the water pan. Try to keep the smoke from bellowing. Nothing worse than over smoked meats!
I place a chunk of Alder on the side of the coals and monitor it constantly to make sure it doesn't over smoke. Just a nice little amount of consistent smoke for 2 or 3 hours is all you need.

I spray the fillets with apple juice about every 20 minutes to keep them moist and after a few hours I start poking the fillets to see if they're getting firm. The water pan steam and the apple juice spray will keep them from drying out.

After about 4 hours, it's done.


Well-Known Member
Mike, if I soak I usually just do so in milk for 2 days. Change the milk after day 1. This helps tenderize the meat some.

Generally though, I just age the birds for a few days in the fridge belly up.

This doesn't really answer the brining question though.

Ducky's Dad

Active Member
I usually brine in a simple water/salt/sugar mix, for up to four days in the fridge before rinsing and freezing in a vacuum bag. I have recently started playing with a redneck sous vide technique by boiling the bags for about 10-15 minutes after defrosting and before putting in the skillet or on the grill. Seems to work pretty well to cook the meat (breasts) rare while keeping them moist. Trick is a quick sear after the bag boil.

Another easy brine for tacos, burritos, and fajitas is to just dump the rinsed breasts into a bowl of jalapenos en escabeche and let that brine add flavor and tenderize them. Anywhere from two hours to overnight if you like them spicy. Discard the brine.


Ya thatsame what I was concerned with a bit is brining before then freezing and also what ratios people are using salt to water ..thanks for all replys...epically Potter cause he been lost for a while...miss ole Mr pitts


Well-Known Member
Brine ratio i use is 1/4 cup of kosher to 4 cups of water...on my pork and chicken.
Haven't brined duck yet, sounds interesting


New Member
If I am planning to eat the duck meat within a week or 2, I will freeze 4-6 breasts in a gallon Ziploc with 2 or 3 tbsp of salt mixed in the water. I have noticed that the freeze then thaw method does a great job breaking down the coagulated blood. When I thaw them it is in the fridge for 2 to 3 days and most if not all of the blood is gone from thw shot holes.


DOP was any reason givin for brining after...just curious how it will affect the meat boy thanks for the ratio


Well-Known Member
I actually ask hank Shaw, and it was something about the water freezing after the brine breaking apart the cells made sense. I'll look it up when I get a chance later on today m


I've been brining all my birds prior to freezing for years with no issue. I'll brine for up to 5 days, changing the water every day to every other day, depending on how much blood is in the water. Meat comes out a nice pink like chicken.

It depends on the size of the container I'm using and how many ducks I'm doing. I usually just eyeball it and put in kosher salt and brown sugar.

I also freeze my ducks in water to keep them from getting freezer burn. I put them in a metal jar ( fill with water then freeze. Once frozen solid I then run the jar under hot water to get the frozen block to come out and then put in a vacuum seal bag. I can usually get 3-4 teal or 2 big ducks per container. I do this with 2-3 containers and put a post it with the ducks in the container so I can mark the vacuum seal bags after.

Ducky's Dad

Active Member
I used to freeze in a block of ice, but that takes up a lot of freezer space. I have found that the commercial quality vacuum seal bags will prevent freezer burn for up to a couple of years. I order the bags from Amazon, and sometimes double-bag for prime stuff.


Well-Known Member
After soaking my breast fillets or chunks (Dove or duck) in salt water overnight, I put it in a freezer ziplock with some Mr. Yoshida's gourmet sauce, squeeze out any air and freeze it. Prevents freezer burn and marinates...