Learn how to make the meat much more juicy and tender with brining, how to brine the chicken for frying, and what is the best way to brine a whole chicken for baking and roasting. Brine is just a mixture of salt and water. So, to brine chicken means soaking the meat in salt water. However, there is always a way to add a subtle flavor to the chicken with different ingredients, herbs, and spices, which gives a lot of room for creativity in any kitchen.
Brine curing is one of the easiest ways to prepare chicken whole or cut for roasting, grilling, and frying. You will need a minimum of simple products for the process: salt and water. The meat becomes so juicy and tender that it melts in your mouth. It becomes not only a delicious but also an eye-catching dish. Great to serve for holiday festivities!
How to make simple brine for chicken
The simplest brine is made from water and salt (kosher or table salt), although sugar and spices can be added to them if necessary. However, the effect of their use will not be as noticeable as in the case of classic marinating. Salt is added to cold water and stirred until dissolved. The next step would be to immerse the chicken into the brine and put it in the fridge. See how much salt to use to brine chicken below.
What is the salt-to-water ratio for brine?
1 liter of water + ¼ cup of kosher salt
You can also add sugar to the brine: for every liter of water add around two tablespoons of sugar.
How long to brine chicken?
Soak chicken by immersing it in brine for 1 hour for every pound of the product weight, but not less than 30 minutes and not more than 8 hours.
When brining small pieces of meat, the first thing to consider is the weight of each piece. For example, if you have six chicken drumsticks 250 g each, you need to get them out of the brine in half an hour.
Now let`s see which types of meat you should brine before cooking:
- White meat – poultry (chicken, turkey), lean cuts of pork, aka everything that needs to be cooked for a long time and quickly dries out.
- Fish – absolutely any, especially the one you are cooking at a high temperature (for example, on the grill) or smoke.
- Seafood – especially shrimp. As a rule of thumb, if you grill something, then brine it.
- On the other hand, products such as beef, lamb, duck, fowl meat, and so on, do not benefit from brining them whatsoever. These types of meat are on the fattier side and juicy in a completely natural way.
Otherwise, cooking meat or fish cured in brine is no different from the usual one. Except for the first few times, be careful with the amount of salt and try not to oversalt the brine.
Always wash off the salt that has settled on the surface of the meat. You will get juicy meat but in no case over-salted.
If you are using table salt instead of kosher salt, then you should reduce the amount of salt approximately in half due to the difference in grain size.
Why brine chicken before grilling, frying, etc.?
There are several main reasons why it is worth spending extra time brining chicken:
- Juiciness. Since chicken is a type of lean meat, it is more prone to drying out while grilling, roasting, baking, or frying. Soaking chicken in brine adds a lot of moisture, so even if you overcook it, you’ll still end up with succulent and juicy meat.
- Taste. With herbs and seasoning, you can add flavor to the inside of the flesh, not just the outside.
- Texture. The chicken brine ingredients help break down the meat, making it more tender. Salt and sugar also change the state of the chicken skin and help it get a crispy golden brown color.
Do not soak chicken in hot or even just warm brine! It can lead to the contamination of raw chicken with harmful microorganisms.
Under no circumstances should the marinade be reused! It can also lead to the infection of meat with pathogenic bacteria.
How to brine the whole chicken for roasting
Chicken brine is the key to juicy, tender, and flavorful roasted chicken! Brining chicken before cooking makes the difference between dry, tasteless fried chicken and succulent, tender, deliciously satisfying chicken. There are many recipes to cook a whole chicken in the oven. The recipe I want to share with you is pretty simple, but the chicken meat turns out incredibly tender and juicy. Before roasting, I keep it in brine for 8 hours without adding any spices.
Because of the brine, the cells are saturated with moisture, and the meat, when roasted, is moderately salty, very juicy, and soft. The skin remains intact; the chicken looks yummy and festive. To achieve this, I have a trick up my sleeve. I smear compound butter with herbs and spices over the chicken.
Here is a list of My Favorite Types of Compound Butter that you can easily make at home.
Overnight Chicken Brine Recipe for Roasting
- 1 whole chicken raw (around 1.5 kg)
- 6 cups water
- 6 tbsp kosher salt (or 3-4 tbsp. table salt)
- Freshly ground black pepper (to your taste)
- 4-6 tbsp compound butter of your choice (around 50-80 g)
- You should brine only thawed chicken. Do not brine frozen chicken. Dissolve salt in water for the brine. Add chicken to the brine. Make sure to have enough liquid to cover all the chicken. It has to be fully submerged. If necessary take a plate and some weight and put it over the chicken. Refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
- In 8 hours, take the chicken out of the brine. Rinse it under cold running water and pat it dry with paper towels.
- If you want, you can stuff the chicken cavity with fresh rosemary, thyme, and lemon slices and tie the chicken thighs together. Beforehand, you can also sprinkle some freshly ground mixed pepper and rub it into the meat. You can roast it without all of this.
- Preheat oven at 400°F/200°C.
- Take the roasting pan and smear its surface with vegetable oil.
- Now is the time to take compound butter. My top advice would be to choose compound butter which contains paprika. It adds such a perfect color to the roasted chicken skin. Rub in the butter all over the chicken and place the poultry onto the pan.
- Calculate the roasting time based on the weight of the chicken. 0.5 kg takes 30 minutes to cook. I have 1.5 kilos, so I should cook it for an hour and a half in the oven.
- Check the color of the chicken skin every 20 minutes. If it gets dark too quickly, cover the chicken with foil and keep cooking the rest of the time with foil.
- Take the chicken out of the oven and let it cool down a bit. Serve with fresh vegetables, salad leaves, or other side dishes.
Due to the brine, the fibers are infused with moisture, and when roasted/baked, the meat becomes very tender, soft, and incredibly juicy. The level of saltiness is just quite right. I hope that these instructions on how to make brine solution for chicken were helpful.
If you liked my Simple Chicken Brine Recipe, I would appreciate it so much if you would share it on Pinterest or you could give the recipe a star review!