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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Brining Chicken or Turkey Before Roasting for more flavorful, juicier meat

Brining will provide juicier and more flavorful meat. Chickens or turkeys you buy in the store don't have the flavor those old barnyard chickens used to have, so brining is a perfect way to add in the flavor.

The brining process forces water into the muscle tissues of the meat by a process known as diffusion and osmosis. The additional moisture causes the muscle tissues to swell and hold more water, and will make the meat more moist and tender. Any spices, herbs, or other flavorings you add to the brine solution will get taken deep into the meat along with the water.

The brining mixture and the chicken are placed in a large pot and stored in the refrigerator during the brining process, or alternatively, you can put it in a cooler and close the lid. Leave the chicken or turkey to soak for approximately one hour per pound. If your chicken or turkey is large and needs to soak a while and you're using the cooler, you can add ice periodically or use those blue ice thingies in the water. But I recommend using the pan in the refrigerator. Keep the fowl down in the water by weighting it with a brick or a plate or anything heavy in a freezer bag (or just turn it over once in a while).

Be sure to rinse well before cooking.

Perfect Brining Recipe

1 gallon water

3/4 cup kosher salt

2/3 cup sugar (only if grilling, frying, or broiling the chicken or turkey, not if you're roasting. See note below.)

3/4 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon each of dried tarragon, thyme, black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

Start by boiling the water and then adding the salt and sugar, so that it will dissolve easier. Then add the spices to the hot liquid so that the flavors are extracted. Cool the brine solution.

**If you're going to broil, grill, or fry the turkey or chicken, you can add sugar in amounts equal to the salt. Sugar, in the brining solution, will add flavor to the chicken and will improve the natural caramelized flavor that occurs when the meat is grilled or fried. Don't use it if you're roasting, if the pan drippings are going to be used for making gravy, or if you're cooking any vegetables in with the fowl, adding sugar to the brining solution may result in gravy and vegetables that are too sweet.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

Thanks! I have been reading about brining, but it didn't say anywhere else not to add sugar if you're roasting it. I will try it that way.