How to Brine Fish Before Cooking It

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For intensely flavorful and moist fish, soak it in a brine before cooking it. Brining can be used in conjunction with any cooking technique, but it is especially effective when the fish will be cooked over high heat, such as grilled or broiled, or when it will be exposed to heat for a long period of time, such as smoked.

Things You'll Need

  • 16 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt
  • Large pot with lid
  • Long-handled spoon
  • Paper towels

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Pour 8 cups of cold water and 1/2 cup of coarse salt into a large pot on your stove. Stir to evenly distribute the salt.

Set the stove burner to “high.” Stir the brine occasionally until the salt dissolves.

Turn off the heat. Let the brine sit undisturbed until it cools down to room temperature, then pour in 8 more cups of cold water.

Submerge your fish in the brine. Cover the pot and put it in your refrigerator.

Soak the fish in the brine for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the fish and quickly rinse it with cold water to get rid of any excess salt. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel, then prepare it using your desired cooking method.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add whole peppercorns, garlic cloves or fresh herbs to the brine to add even more flavor to the fish.
  • To cool the brine down faster, add a handful of ice cubes after the salt dissolves.
  • Don't reuse brine because it could be contaminated with bacteria from the raw fish.


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