Chicken is one of the most popular meats out there. There are so many cuts of chicken you can get, so if one does not appeal to you, there is always another you can try! When cooking chicken, you can go about it in many ways.
One of these ways to include smoking. However, before deciding to smoke your chicken, you may brine it first.
In this article, we are going to go into what exactly bringing is, if it is worth bringing chicken, and how you can do it. Read on so you can learn all that and more!
What Is Brining?
You need to learn what it is before you learn how to brine chicken. Hey, if you do not understand how to do something, then you can’t very well push forward and do it.
A brine is a saltwater solution. When you brine your meat (in this case, chicken), you are exposing it to this mixture. The brined chicken will end up making your chicken tender and moist because of brining process.
Not only that, but it will also help enhance the natural juices of the chicken. This process can take from 2 hours to twelve hours or more. What it depends on is the type of meat you are cooking.
What the salt does to the meat is that it gets rid of some of the muscle fibers left on the cut of meat. Less muscle on the meat means a lot more tenderness. For chicken, you need to brine depending on the cut of the chicken you have bought.
The bigger the chicken, the longer you are going to have to brine the meat. So, make sure to always consider these factors when you are trying to figure out how long to brine for.
Is It Worth Brining Chicken?
Adding salt to the meat eats away at the muscle fibers and makes the meat all the more tender.
If you want tough meat, then obviously, it is not worth it to brine your chicken. However, this begs the question, why are you even continuing to read?
On the flip side, you might not want to eat tough meat or might be unable to eat it due to teeth issues, dentures, swallowing issues, etc.
Should you want tender meat, then it is necessary to brine your meat.
How Can You Brine Chicken?
Not only do you know what the heck brining is, but we also let you know if it was even worth it to brine chicken.
Now we get to the part where we tell how to brine chicken and make that meat oh-so-tender. You can not only dry brine meat, but you can also wet dry it as well!
They both come with their benefits, which we will spell out in the section below.
How To Dry Brine Chicken
If you want to try a brine that is quick, easy, and does not require a lot of ingredients on hand, then dry brining is what you want to go with.
When you are dry brining, you are rubbing the meat with salt and then put it in the fridge. All you need is something to put the chicken in, along with some salt.
To brine, use the following steps:
- To dry brine, place the chicken in the tray or whatever else you are using to contain the meat.
- The next step is to rub a generous amount of salt all over the chicken.
- Put it in the fridge for a couple of hours, overnight if you want to, and then take it out. You can pat it with a paper towel to get any excess salt off, but this is optional.
Other ingredients can be used if you do not feel like using salt. This includes garlic powder, brown sugar, and many more.
The biggest point of dry brining is that you are not using any liquid except the natural juices that you will find on the chicken. It is a very natural and easy process.
How To Wet Brine Chicken
When you are wet brining a piece of meat, you are using a salt and liquid mixture to soak the meat in. To brine, you must use around half a cup to a cup of salt and a gallon of cold water.
However, you can add a half cup of sugar in there as well. It depends on the cut of chicken you are using and how big it is.
To wet bring, you just have to bring the water, salt, and sugar (if used) to boil. Once it is dissolved, keep it in the fridge so it can get cold.
This is when you add the chicken. Brining time depends, again, on the cut of meat.
One other popular method to enhance the flavors of the meat is called marinade.
When marinade meat, you are soaking the meat in a mixture, which helps enhance the natural flavors. It is like brining, but there is a big difference.
With marinades, you have an acidic ingredient to break down the proteins in the meat. Some examples of this are citrus juices and vinegar.
Also, the smaller the meat, the better it is to marinade it. The larger the meat is, the better it is to brine. Of course, if you would prefer one over the other, that is fine too!
And there you have it all, you barbeque lovers out there. We delved into what exactly the brining process is and why it may be worth it to brine your meat. If you like tender meat, then we encourage you to brine away!
Then we explained how exactly you could brine in the first place. You can dry brine, wet brine, or marinate the meat, which is a method similar to brining with a few differences.
If you are unsure of what brining option to go with, then consider trying them all if you have a chance. What have you got to lose?
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.