A quick chicken brine technique that will always guarantee a moist and succulent chicken or turkey at all times. One of the best things you can give your roasted chicken, fried chicken or even Christmas turkey is to soak or steep it in brine for some few hours before cooking it. I have used salt, sugar and herbs to enhance the flavour of this chicken brine recipe.
Hands up if you have ever been a victim of dry chicken or turkey? I know we’ve all had such moment, right? You were worried about getting it right, but you ended up with dry poultry. Well, don’t worry, Calvary is here with a little cooking technique that has been on for ages which you and I both haven’t paid much attention to but all is about to change now.
If you’re already planning your next Sunday roast, Christmas or thanksgiving turkey, then you should give this quick chicken brine recipe a go. Trust me it would all be worth it in the end.
Brining works for any part of poultry or unprocessed pork meat.
When you brine chicken, the salt would break down the cellular structure of the bird and that would allow the flavour in the brine to infuse well into the chicken. In lay-mans term, the brine goes into every part of the poultry making it juicy and moist when you roast, grill or fry it.
What Is Brining
Brining which is also similar to marinating is an act of soaking poultry or meat generally in saltwater for some few hours to enhance its flavour, juiciness and tenderness before cooking it. You can brine chicken for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours depending on the size.
Methods Of Brining Chicken
There are two methods of brining chicken, turkey or pork.
Wet brining: this is where you soak the bird in salt, water, sugar and herbs mixture
Dry brining: you only need to cover the bird with salt and other herbs of choice to make this.
Without going into too much science behind brining chicken or poultry generally, let me remind of what brining does again.
Imagine how difficult it is trying to get a whole chicken or turkey flavoured all the way through? Oftentimes, you are left with flavoured outer part of a chicken and the rest is bland or dry. What brining does to the chicken is that it absorbs the flavour from the brine and stops the chicken from drying out and keeps it moist when cooked.
What Part of A Chicken Can I Brine?
You can brine any part of a chicken (poultry) but you should always remember the size of the chicken would determine how long you would be brining for.
Chicken wings or chicken thighs: Anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. You don’t want it to be sitting in the brine for longer than the recommended time to avoid salty chicken.
Chicken breasts: 1 hour to 4 hours
Whole chicken: 4 hours to 24 hours
Whole turkey: anywhere from 12 hours to 48 hours
Quick Brine is salt and water mixture, what else can I add to flavour my chicken
You may add any dry or fresh herbs of choice to the brine. In my case, I use whatever herbs I had left in my fridge.
I used fresh rosemary, thyme, dried sage, brown sugar, ground black pepper (substitute with whole peppercorns), garlic and bay leaves. You are not limited to these alone you can use parsley, chopped onions, shallots, lemon slices, orange slices etc.
How to make quick chicken brine recipe
First, you would need a pot large enough to fit the chicken and the brine.
Add salt, sugar, and herbs into a pan, add water and mix to combine. Place it over medium heat and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely in the water.
Leave the brine to cool down completely. (I used a smaller saucepan for this step) Once the brine is completely cooled and at room temperature, top it up with cold water (I used 6 cups of water in total)
Place the chicken in a large pot and pour the brine over it. Cover it with a lid and place in the bottom of the fridge for up to 4 hours or 24 hours preferably.
How to cook brined chicken
If you used wet brine, bring out the chicken some few hours before cooking it, pat it dry with a chicken towel and roast as desired.
Things to note when making quick chicken brine recipe:
- Things to remember, keep it short and sweet. Do not let your bird (poultry) or pork meat sits too long than the recommended time in the brine as that might make it salty in fact too salty and you don’t want that. Also, the chicken will become mushy or falling apart and that would defeat the purpose of spending those hours brining in the first place.
- Bring the chicken out from the brine some few hours before roasting. It is important the chicken dries completely before roasting or baking
- The size of your chicken would determine how long you can brine for. Overnight is best for a whole chicken but a minimum of 3 to 4 hours should be fine too. If you are brining chicken thighs, wings or pork chops, do it for the minimum recommended time specified.
- If you would be using a dry brine, rinse it off the bird before cooking otherwise it would be salty and inedible.
- Most brine recipes call for kosher salt, but I have used sea salt. Table salt is saltier and more concentrated than these other salts so use less of it if making the brine. You can taste the brine before adding the bird to it.
- Always keep the bird in the fridge at the right temperature to avoid any food hygiene issue.
Quick Chicken Brine Recipe (How to Brine Chicken)
- large pot
- ½ cup sea salt
- 1/3 cup brown sugar or caster sugar
- 1.5 litre cold water about 6 cups or more
- 4 large garlic cloves crushed
- 3 bay leaves
- Few springs of rosemary
- Few springs of thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage or some fresh ones
- First, you would need a pot large enough to fit the chicken and the brine.
- Add salt, sugar, and herbs into a pan, add 2 cups of water and mix to combine. Place it over medium heat and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely in the water.
- Leave the brine to cool down completely. (I used a smaller saucepan for this step) Once the brine is completely cooled, top it up with another 4 cups of cold water (I used 6 cups of water in total)
- Place the chicken in a large pot and pour the brine over it. Cover it with a lid and place in the bottom of the fridge for up to 4 hours or 24 hours preferably.
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