dimanche, mai 08, 2011

brined chicken

We brined some leg quarters before grilling them last weekend using this recipe and technique and loved the result.
1 gallon cold water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
optional added spices, herbs, chopped onion, garlic, celery, etc.

  1. Bring 1/2 gallon of the water, the salt and sugar to boil, stirring until both are completely dissolved. Remove from heat, add flavorings, cover and allow to cool completely. Add the remaining 1/2 gallon of water. Refrigerate to below 40F before adding chicken.
  2. You can cut the recipe in half, or double it as needed, depending on how much chicken you'll be brining. Make enough so the chicken is completely covered in the brining container. If you brine in sealable plastic bag, you'll need less brine than if brining in a bowl.
  3. To keep the chicken submerged, place a heavy plate, or a flat-bottomed bowl filled with some water over the chicken in the brine container.
Keep the brine and chicken COLD during brining, between 36-40F. If there's room, place the brining chicken in the fridge. If not, brine in an insulated cooler, and place a sealed bag of ice in the brine with the chicken. Don't put loose ice in the brine...when it melts, the brine will be diluted and it won't do its job.

How Long to Brine Chicken
Use the following brining time chart for chicken as a guide. Adjust within the brining times to achieve more or less salty flavor.

Whole Chicken --4 to 8 hours
Half Chicken --3 to 6 hours
Bone-in Skin-on Breasts --1 to 2 hours
Boneless Skinless Breasts --30 to 60 minutes
Legs, Thighs, Skin-on --45 to 90 minutes
Legs, Thighs, Skinless --30 to 45 minutes

Always brine in a non-reactive container. Glass, porcelain, crockery, plastic and stainless steel are all OK. Aluminum, copper and wood are not.

After brining, rinse the chicken well in cold, running water. Pat dry with a clean towel.

Now that the chicken is brined, it's ready to be seasoned with your favorite dry rub and smoked or grilled. Brined chicken usually takes less time to cook.

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