To Brine Or Not To Brine

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by africanmeat, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I found this artical on the net it looks  interesting ,a good look on the question yes or not  to brine ?

    This one small step greatly improves your smoked and grilled chicken. Knowing how to brine chicken when it's sectioned into pieces, halved, whole, bone-in or boneless, skin-on or skinless gives you a culinary edge  

    The salt and sugar in brine make changes to protein that improves its texture and enhances its ability to retain moisture. And that translates into better tasting chicken come dinnertime!

    How Brining Works

    When chicken or other meat is put into a brine solution, a two-way transfer begins. Juices from the protein are pulled out into the brine, while the brine (along with any added sugar and flavorings) is pulled in. The end goal is to equalize the level of salt between brine and flesh.

    As that's happening, other changes occur. The salt changes the character of the proteins in the meat, breaking them down and loosening their grip on each other. In a way, it causes them to somewhat gel, and makes it harder for moisture to escape when the chicken is cooked. Sugars that are absorbed into the flesh hold on to water, which helps keep the meat even more moist when cooked.

    How to Brine Chicken

    First, let's start with a basic poultry brine recipe:
    You can cut the recipe in half, or double it as needed, depending on how much chicken you'll be brining. Make enough so the chicken is completely covered in the brining container. If you brine in sealable plastic bag, you'll need less brine than if brining in a bowl.

    To keep the chicken submerged, place a heavy plate, or a flat-bottomed bowl filled with some water over the chicken in the brine container.

    Keep the brine and chicken COLD during brining, between 36-40 degrees Fahrenheit. If there's room, place the brining chicken in the fridge. If not, brine in an insulated cooler, and place a sealed bag of ice in the brine with the chicken. Don't put loose ice in the brine...when it melts, the brine will be diluted and it won't do its job.

    How Long to Brine Chicken

    Use the following brining time chart for chicken as a guide. Adjust within the brining times to achieve more or less salty flavor.
    Whole Chicken4 to 8 hours
    Half Chicken3 to 6 hours
    Bone-in Skin-on Breasts1 to 2 hours
    Boneless Skinless Breasts30 to 60 minutes
    Legs, Thighs, Skin-on45 to 90 minutes
    Legs, Thighs, Skinless30 to 45 minutes

    Always brine in a non-reactive container. Glass, porcelain, crockery, plastic and stainless steel are all OK. Aluminum, copper and wood are not.

    After brining, rinse the chicken well in cold, running water. Pat dry with a clean towel.

    Now that the chicken is brined, it's ready to be seasoned with your favorite dry rub and smoked or grilled. Brined chicken usually takes less time to cook, which is another benefit of brining.

    If you haven't brined chicken before, you'll definitely notice an improvement in both flavor and texture.

    Have a great day
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I always brine poultry!
  3. melleram

    melleram Smoke Blower

    I've been getitng into the cured brines for my poultry, and pork loin for canadian bacon.

    This is my go-to brine

    1 gallon water

    1 cup Mortons tender quick

    1 cup brown sugar

    minced garlic

    bay leaves


    Inject the bird or peices and then emerse in brine in the fridge. 

    For a whole turkey 48 hours, for whole chicken 36 hours, for pieces 24 hours.

    Remove from brine, rinse well, then soak in clean cold water for at least 30 minutes.

    Use rubs sparingly, as the meat is already absorbed alot of salt and flavor.  Smoke till 170+ in the thigh.

    This makes awesome smoked poultry, the dark meat takes on a pink-red color and ham like flavor. 

    Just like the turkey legs at the fair or racetrack.

    Makes great canadian bacon too, just inject a loin roast and emerse in brine in refrigerator for 48 hours and smoke to 160+
  4. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great post Ahron, 

     I've heard that if you brine with the skin on it makes it more rubbery, Are you familiar with this?
  5. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have posted on this subject before. 

    There is no answer.  Proponents on both sides will be fanatical in their position.

    I recommend that people try it both ways and make their own decision.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  6. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

      That's the answer I was looking for [​IMG]
  7. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I am NOT fanatical about brining poultry..

    I do brine all the poultry I smoke .

    I tend to keep the temp around 280-300.

    Then onto the grill to eliminate Mr Rubber Skin.


    J/K of course..


  8. I couldn't agree more Craig. This is my philosophy and as Johnny Cochran might put it, "If you got the time, you got to brine".

  9. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member


  10. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    If I have the time I brine, Now turkeys I always brine them. [​IMG]

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