Mention chicken and any non-vegetarian would wax eloquent on the subject. Soft and tender, chicken is the easiest meat to cook and the wide variety in which it can be cooked makes chicken the most favored meat among all. Chicken cooked in any method tastes great. The main criterion for a delectable chicken dish is that the meat should retain its flavor and texture from the pan to the table. Otherwise, you will end up chewing on a dry and a slightly rubbery piece of meat, as it happens in most cases. To keep the chicken juicy and moist, the simplest technique is to brine it. Brining increases the moisture holding capacity of the meat, and this makes the chicken taste juicy and tender. The salt water makes the muscle tissue swell. Thus, the meat can absorb water and flavorings, and so enhance the taste. That is why brined chicken taste much more flavorful as it can absorb the spices better than non-brined chicken. Once you taste the difference between a brined and non-brined chicken you will know why chicken cooked by chefs’ taste so succulent. Perhaps brining can be the only difference between a regular chicken dish and a wonderful experience. Read below to know more on how to brine chicken.
Tips On Brining Chicken
- A stockpot or a plastic container large enough to hold the chicken.
- 1-2 liters of water.
- A microwave-safe 2-cup measuring cup
- ½ cup Kosher Salt
- ½ cup Sugar
- ½ tsp Black Peppercorns
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Lemon
- 1 pound whole Chicken with skin (giblets and neck removed)
- Whole Spices (Coriander, Dill Seed, Juniper Berries or Caraway)
- A small bunch of Fresh Herbs (Thyme, Tarragon, Rosemary or peeled cloves of Garlic)
- First, you should determine the amount of brine that you need. So, accordingly you should determine the amount of water that you should use. For every pound of chicken, use one liter of water.
- Use a container that is large enough to hold the whole chicken and the water.
- Into the container, pour the water. Take two cups of water from it and bring it to a simmer in the microwave or stove. Do not bring it to a boil. If you are using a microwave then set the timer for 2 minutes.
- Add the salt and sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the peppercorns and any of the whole spice and stir. Now transfer the spiced water into the large vessel and stir thoroughly.
- Now, add the lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs. Allow the liquid to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Clean the chicken and rinse it under cold water. Use paper towels to pat dry.
- Put the whole chicken into the container. Make sure that the chicken is completely covered in the water. If you cannot cover the whole chicken, then turn it frequently during the brining process.
- Place a lid on the vessel and put it in a refrigerator. Leave it to refrigerate for eight to twelve hours.
- Remove the chicken after the refrigeration. Rinse it with cold water and then pat dry with paper towels.
- Don’t leave the chicken too long in the brine or else it will become soft and mushy. You can also keep the chicken in the refrigerator for a crispier texture.
- Instead of the sugar, you can also use brown sugar, honey, or molasses.
- For added flavor, you can replace the entire or a part of the water with beer, apple cider, wine, vinegar, or fruit juice.
- Don’t keep the chicken in the brine for more than twelve hours.