How to Brine a Chicken

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How to Brine a Chicken

Roast chicken is a popular feature in many households’ dinner tables. However, the problem of the chicken drying out and becoming less palatable has been solved by a simple process: Brining. Brining a chicken will help retain its succulent meat and improve its flavor. You can brine a chicken whole or chopped. You can also use this technique for turkey, duck and other fowl too. Here’s how to do it.

Tools

  • Container large enough to contain chicken and the water that will be used to immerse it. A large Ziploc bag can also suffice.
  • Microwave-friendly measuring cup
  • Microwave
  • Paper towels
  • Pan (optional)
  • Stove (optional)

Ingredients

  • Table salt
  • Sugar
  • Black peppercorns
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Coriander (optional)
  • Juniper berries (optional)
  • Allspice (optional)
  • Caraway (optional)
  • Dill seed (optional)
  • Thyme (optional)
  • Tarragon (optional
  • Rosemary (optional)

Procedure

  1. Measure out the water you’re going to use for the chicken brining. You should use a quart of water for every pound of the chicken, so measure out accordingly. Try out your container in advance by putting in the chicken and measuring how much water you would need to cover it completely.
  2. brine chicken

  3. Measure 1/2 cup of salt for every pound of chicken. So if you have three pounds of chicken, you’ll need 1 1/2 worth of salt.
  4. Measure 1/3 cup of sugar for every pound of chicken.
  5. Measure 1/3 teaspoon of black peppercorns for every pound of chicken. Use the same measurement for any of the optional spices.
  6. Quarter the lemon, and peel the garlic cloves.
  7. Take out two cups of water from the water you’re going to use on the chicken. Put the water in a microwave-friendly container. Put the water in the microwave and heat for two minutes. If you don’t have a microwave, pour the water in the pan and heat until simmering.
  8. Dissolve the salt and sugar into the heated water. Once dissolved, add in the spices and the black peppercorns. Mix together, and drop in the quartered lemon. Let the mixture cool for 10 to 15 minutes or until it’s cool to the touch.
  9. Put back the mixture with the rest of the water that will be used for brining.
  10. Make sure that the chicken’s giblets have been removed, as well as its neck.
  11. Rinse the chicken under cold running water. Pat dry.
  12. Slowly put the chicken into the brining water. The water should be enough to cover the whole chicken, but if not, make sure that you regularly turn the chicken every other hour.
  13. Put a cover over the container and put it in the refrigerator. As a rule of thumb, leave it in the refrigerator an hour for every pound. Don’t let the chicken sit for over 12 hours.
  14. When the time is up, remove the chicken from the water and rinse it again under cold running water.
  15. Pat the chicken thoroughly dry using paper towels. Drying the chicken thoroughly ensures crispier skin after roasting.
  16. You can already start putting stuffing or seasoning at this point. However, if you want to have really crispy skin, leave the chicken to air-dry in your refrigerator for up to eight hours before roasting.

 

Comments

  1. Doug Alder said,

    on October 5th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    It should be pointed out that if you plan to make gravy from a brined fowl the drippings in the bottom of your pan will be VERY salty so it’s best to use a freshly made chicken stock that has no salt in it at all – make the gravy first to the right thickness (and if making a butter roux use unsalted butter) then season it.