Ask a Cook: What are the basics of brining chicken?

  • Thursday, April 3, 2014 1:50pm
  • Life

Chicken-brining basics

Question: What’s a good mix of salt and water for brining chicken? Is there a time difference for whole chicken vs. parts?

Answer: Brining, or soaking food in a mix of salt and water, adds moisture and flavor. A good formula is 1 ounce of salt to 20 ounces of water, or 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt to 2 1/2 cups of water.

You can add other flavorings, but you need to heat the brine long enough to dissolve the salt and bring out the flavors of other ingredients. Make sure the brine is cool before adding meat. One quick trick is to reduce the amount of water and add ice before adding meat; when the ice melts, the brine should be cool.

Vary the time based on the mass of the item being brined. Go 15 to 30 minutes for seafood or fish, 30 minutes to 1 hour for skinless, boneless chicken breasts, 1 to 3 hours for bone-in chicken parts and pork chops, 4 to 6 hours for a whole chicken and 24 to 48 for a turkey. Refrigerate brine and food if it sits longer than an hour, and rinse thoroughly before cooking.

Kathleen Purvis, The Charlotte Observer

More in Life

Heavy Hollywood headlines: Robert Horton’s movies preview

In the midst of all the sexual-misconduct allegations, the holiday film season offers some relief.

‘Love, Chaos and Dinner’ an Teatro ZinZanni’s original show

The “Parsian cabaret” is a superb circus dinner theater operation in Marymoor Park through April 29.

Denzel Washington’s remarkable performance isn’t helped by plot

The actor is convincing as an awkward, eccentric lawyer, but unconvincing contrivances pile up.

‘The Breadwinner’ animation is strong, but its story is stilted

The Cartoon Saloon film never lets you forget that you’re here to learn an important lesson.

Pianist Kaitlyn Gia Lee, 10, of Mill Creek, will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major on Nov. 26 with the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra.
Young pianist to perform Mozart with Everett Philharmonic

Kaitlyn Gia Lee, 10, of Mill Creek, will play the piano at the Music for the Imagination concert.

Liz Oyama as Belle, Jimmi Cook as Gaston and John Han as Lefou star in the Edmonds Driftwood Players production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” opening Nov. 24. Magic Photo
In Driftwood’s ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ Belle has girl-power bend

Edmonds Driftwood Players presents Disney’s adaptation of the fair tale Nov. 24 through Dec. 17.

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with reads, listens

Pay tribute to the contributions of indigenous people to national history and culture.

Franken’s rising political star obscured by accusations

He faces an ethics investigation after allegations he had unwanted physical contact with four women.

Johnny Cash boyhood home considered for historic nomination

The house was provided as part of an economic recovery program during the Great Depression.

Most Read