I can not stress enough how great brining is with adding flavor and moisture to meats. It’s also a great way to add the flavor without adding any fat. Soaking the meats in a brining solution helps ensure moist, juicy cooked meat. Make sure you are using all natural meat. Not Purdue, Tyson, etc., that have already been injected with a water/salt concoction. The salt-water brine solution increases the juiciness of the meat by loosening the protein structure. This in turn allows extra water and flavors to be trapped by the protein during the brining process…and the moisture and flavor are retained during the cooking process, making the meat delightfully juicy and tender.
Extra Tip: One thing I like to do for amazingly flavorful meats is to brine them, rinse and then let sit in a marinade for a few extra hours.
Related Article: Let the Meat Rest
Here are some guidelines for brining times: whole turkey, up to 24 hours; large whole chicken, 3-4 hours; pork chops, 4 hours; shrimp, 30 minutes; and thin fish, 10 minutes.
Basic Poultry Brine
This one works well with chicken, turkey and other white meat’s like pork.
- 1/2c kosher salt
- 1/2c white sugar
- 1 lemon – sliced or quartered
- 1 large spring rosemary, thyme, bay leaves
- Couple cloves of garlic, smashed
- 2 quarts warm water
- Measure sugar and salt into gallon sized container.
- Squeeze the lemon juice from over the sugar and salt, then drop slices into container.
- On a cutting board, briefly crush herbs and garlic with the back of the knife and add to container.
- Pour warm water into container, stirring to distribute flavors and dissolve sugar and salt.