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Old 04-07-2006, 10:17 AM   #1
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Brine / Brining for Chicken

I found out about brining last year. A memeber of this forum had discussed it with me and then our daughter was born and I had to get serious for a while. Anyway, I have seen a couple of brine recipes for pork chops. Does anybody use this technique on a regular basis with chicken? Also, I realize brining helps retain moisture, I assume because of the use of the salt, but are there brine recipes that are like a marinade that flavor chicken.

We are staring at tempuratures in the 70's in the next couple of days and I want to try brining chicken for grilling. If anybody has a tested recipe it would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 04-07-2006, 10:35 AM   #2
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I always brine my chicken now. I can't imagine not brining now that I have been doing it. A brine in it's most basic form is salt and water. One step up from that is salt, sugar, and water. You can add any flavorings that you like after that though. I like to use soy sauce (Jennyema's suggestion) as part of the salt in my brine. I also like to throw some fresh herbs in there as well. peppercorns are a good addition also. Use your imagination and get creative. Brining is a GREAT way to introduce flavor into chicken.

I don't ever use an actual recipe. I just look around to see what would complement the dish I am making and go from there.
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Old 04-07-2006, 10:55 AM   #3
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I am thinking to make a brine with hot peppers. Its been a while since we spiced up dinner.

Do you brine over night or just prior to cooking? Do you have a ratio for the brine?
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Old 04-07-2006, 10:59 AM   #4
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I actually don't ever measure when I make a brine so I don't have a ratio, but the way I describe it is that it should be pleasantly salty. What I mean by that is that if you taste some of the brine you should not want to spit it out right away because of the amount of salt. I would say it should be about as salty (maybe a little less salty) then the ocean (Atlantic that is).

As for how long, that would depend on the size of the meat. I usually just do boneless skinless breasts and for those I brine them for 2 hours. 3 would be my max, but I find 2 is perfect for me. If you go too long then the texture really suffers badly. For a whole chicken I would say 4 or 5 hours.
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Old 04-07-2006, 11:45 AM   #5
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Hey, great minds must think alike, I also am going to brine my chicken this weekend!

GB, do you heat up the water so the salt dissolves? I'm going to dump almost everything in the brine, salt, sugar, black pepper, ginger, garlic & onion. For the onion, garlic and ginger I plan on blending it so it becomes sort of purree'd. After the bring, I'll put it on a rack and cook in my Weber Q. Not sure how it'll turn out.
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Old 04-07-2006, 11:48 AM   #6
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Nope I keep it cold. I used table salt (one of the few times I don't use kosher salt). I don't find I have a problem with the salt disolving this way. If you do decide to heat it up make sure the water is very cold again befor you put the chicken in.

I have used ginger in my brine before. There was no need to puree it. I just crushed it a little and the flavor was very pronounced.
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Old 04-07-2006, 12:17 PM   #7
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GB:

I add the seasonings/flavorings to half the water I'm going to use and bring it to a boil to dissolve the salt and infuse the flavors from the seasonings/flavorings into the water. I then make up the other half of the water with ice cubes. By the time they dissolve, the water is cold and I have the right mix.
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Old 04-07-2006, 12:20 PM   #8
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Yep that is another gret way to do it. I have done that when I brine pork. I think it all depends on what you are putting in the brine. If you need to really extract flavors then heat helps. If the flavors are already prominent (powdered spices, garlic sloves, ginger, etc) then the heat is not needed. It won't hurt anything to heat it up, unless you forget to cool it down before putting the meat in.
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Old 04-07-2006, 12:24 PM   #9
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I am by far in the minority but I think brining poultry makes it mushy. I get a perfectly moist roast chicken or turkey without it. I do brine frozen raw shrimp for about a half hour. Vastly improves them.
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Old 04-07-2006, 12:28 PM   #10
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I think brining is a necessity for turkey, especially the large ones. BUT, Gretchen, I have to agree with you. I noticed very little difference in the chicken I brined this week.
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