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

Shrimp and grits, rendered healthful and Italian? We’re in.

This recipe features a sauce made with olive oil, tomatoes and herbs instead of cheese and cream.

UFO at Paine Field playground was left by an artist — not aliens

The flying saucer at community park in Everett is a cosmic attraction.

Chef James Abbott makes Buck’s peanut butter pie at Buck’s American Cafe in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Fur & Feathers: 4 lovable dogs need homes

Meet Lola, Sadie, Scooter and Chance

Sweet baking tips: How to rescue brown sugar that’s turned hard

Soften the rock solid stuff, then try this recipe for chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt.

Valentina Bogdanova, 74, loves working in the gardens that nearly surround the Bakerview Apartments, where she has lived for 20 years. The units are among 16 affordable and subsidized properties leased to seniors by the Everett Housing Authority. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
As real estate booms, those with fixed-incomes need help

When senior citizens get housing, they are able to ‘age in place.’

Melania Trump to donate inaugural ball gown to Smithsonian

Melania Trump is donating her inaugural ball gown… Continue reading

Harry Potter exhibit marks 20th anniversary of first book

Many of the things Harry Potter fans thought were imaginary were actually based in fact — or folklore.

Visiting Germany’s Lutherland, birthplace of Reformation

The sights include the church where the first Protestant service took place in 1521.

Most Read