Brining is a popular method for improving the flavor and moisture content of lean meats like chicken, turkey, pork and seafood. Brined meat tends to cook faster than unbrined meat. Basic brine recipes contain salt, sugar, and flavorings. And good brine recipes strike a balance between these three components, so that no single taste or flavor is overpowering in the smoked meat. I use kosher salt most of the time because it dissolves quickly but Kosher salt and table salt are the most common salts used in flavor brining.
|Chicken Brine Recipe:|
|Use a pot that when filled with brine, the chicken is completely submerged so that brine solution can freely cover each chicken or chicken pieces. The amount of brine solution is determined by how much chicken you’re using – rule of thumb is ¾ to one gallon per bird. A large pan or casserole dish food grade plastic bucket works great for this.|
|Mixing Brine Solution:|
|1||. To each gallon add three-quarters cup of salt|
|2||. Optional – ¼ cup of sugar (white or brown...your choice)|
|3||. Optional - ¼ cup of vinegar or beer|
|4||. Optional - Two tablespoons of paprika, and one tablespoon of ground black pepper. Be sure that the salt and sugar is dissolved completely before mixing in the paprika and pepper.|
|5||. Soak whole chicken in the brine overnight OR brine chicken halves or pieces 3-4 hours.|
|Keep the brining chicken in the refrigerator to prevent spoilage. After brining, pat the chicken dry to make ready for oiling or dry rub.|
Here's an all-purpose recipe from Cook's Illustrated magazine that works well with chicken and pork. All-Purpose Brine _______________________________________ 1 quart cool water 1/2 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt 1/2 cup sugar Mix in a non-reactive container until dissolved. Substitute 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Morton Kosher Salt or 1/4 cup table salt for Diamond Crystal. Make 1 quart of brine for each pound of meat, not to exceed 8 quarts (2 gallons). Soak meat for 1 hour per pound, but not less than 30 minutes or longer than 8 hours. If brining multiple pieces, base the brining time on the weight of an individual piece. Here's another recipe from Cook's Illustrated for high-temperature roasting, broiling or grilling. The lower sugar content results in less burning during cooking. The salt content has also been reduced. High-Temp Brine ________________________________________ 1 quart cool water 1/4 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt 2 Tablespoons sugar Mix in a non-reactive container until dissolved. Substitute 3 Tablespoons Morton Kosher Salt or 2 Tablespoons table salt for Diamond Crystal. Make 1 quart of brine for each pound of meat, not to exceed 8 quarts (2 gallons). Soak meat for 1 hour per pound, but not less than 30 minutes or longer than 8 hours. If brining multiple pieces, base the brining time on the weight of an individual piece. Here's a basic brine that will work well for a turkey in the Weber Bullet or in the oven. Due to its bland flavor, turkey really benefits from flavor brining. Basic Turkey Brine (12-14 Hour Brining Time) ________________________________________ 2 gallons cool water 2 cups Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt Mix in a non-reactive container until dissolved. Substitute 1-1/2 cups Morton Kosher Salt or 1 cup table salt for Diamond Crystal. Optional: 1/2 cup sugar (white or brown) can be added for each gallon of water. Brine for 12-14 hours. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels before cooking. Here's a high-strength brine recipe from Cook's Illustrated that cuts brining time to just 4-6 hours. High-Strength Turkey Brine (4-6 Hour Brining Time) ________________________________________ 2 gallon cool water 4 cups Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt Mix in a non-reactive container until dissolved. Substitute 3 cups Morton Kosher Salt or 2 cups table salt for Diamond Crystal. Brine for 4-6 hours. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels before cooking. And, here's a brine recipe from Alton Brown of Good Eats on Food Network. Good Eats Turkey Brine ________________________________________ 1 gallon vegetable broth 1 gallon heavily iced water 1 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed 1 Tablespoon peppercorns 1/2 Tablespoon allspice berries 1/2 Tablespoon candied ginger Use regular vegetable broth, not low- or no-sodium varieties. Substitute 3/4 cup Morton Kosher Salt or 1/2 cup table salt for Diamond Crystal. Combine all ingredients except ice water in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve. Remove from heat, let mixture come to room temperature, then refrigerate to 40°F. In a large non-reactive container, combine the mixture with 1 gallon heavily iced water and stir. Place rinsed, drained whole turkey into the brine. Use a heavy weight to keep the bird submerged, if necessary. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours. Turn the bird over once during brining. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Apply a thin coat of canola oil before cooking.
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