Brine for Chicken

Brine is a saltwater solution, sometimes with added sugar, spices or herbs.

A brined whole or cut up (bone-in) chicken is a better chicken. Whether you are going to make the plainest chicken breasts or something really involved, if you brine first, you’ll have a plumper, moister, tastier chicken.

If you want, you can add herbs and spices to this brine: If you are making curried chicken, add 1 tablespoon curry powder; if tarragon is in the recipe, add 1 tablespoon tarragon; and so on.

½ cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons white or light brown sugar
2 cups boiling water
4 to 7 pounds whole chicken or chicken parts

1. If you are using a whole chicken, remove and discard the giblets and neck.

2. Rinse the chicken in several changes of cold water.

3. Place the salt, sugar, and boiling water in a small bowl and mix until the salt and sugar are dissolved.

4. Place the chicken in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag or other large container. Cover it with cold water and when the chicken is fully immersed, slowly add the salt water stirring as you add it. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 8.

5. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse it well with cold water. Place the chicken uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 8 to air-dry (this will help the skin crisp).

6. Proceed with your recipe.

From Warehouse to Your House: More than 250 Simple, Spectacular Recipes to Cook, Store, and Share When You Buy in Quantity (Simon & Schuster, 2006)