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Brining Chicken


LizH
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I am having friends over for a belated Rosh Hashanah dinner this weekend. I am thinking of brining my chicken (a first for me). Does anyone have any tips? Can I do the whole brining thing in a big sauce pot, or do I need to line the pot with a plastic bag?

Thanks!

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I am having friends over for a belated Rosh Hashanah dinner this weekend. I am thinking of brining my chicken (a first for me).  Does anyone have any tips?  Can I do the whole brining thing in a big sauce pot, or do I need to line the pot with a plastic bag?

Thanks!

I don't have any specifics on brining recipes on hand, but you can probably look in Joy of Cooking or on-line, but brining in a plastic roasting bag is a good idea to keep potential spills from occurring.

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A stock pot should be fine for chicken.

Tip 1 - remember displacement. make sure to give yourself enough room. (For thanksgiving turkey, I use a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket)

Tip 2 - make sure that the brine is cold before inserting bird. Nothing worse than meaning to brine and ending up poaching.

Tip 3 - after removing bird from brine let sit in fridge for a bit to dry skin

Tip 4 - Use a thermometer not timer. Different water content means different cooking time

The basis for my brining liquid is alton brown's recipe.

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A gallon-sized zip-lock bag is big enough to brine a small-to-medium sized chicken. Two gallon sized is what you need for a larger bird. I like to use zip-locks because you don't need quite as much brining liquid, and it doesn't take up as much room in the fridge as a stockpot. I always put the bag into a bowl in case of leaks-- I learned that one the hard way. To get the process going quicker, I heat a bit less water to dissolve the sugar and salt and then add ice cubes to cool it off. Also, I don't know about Alton Brown's recipe, but I add onion, celery, parsley, thyme or tarragon, sometimes lavender, and bay leaf to the brine pot which gives the chicken a fabulous flavor.

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I second the recommendation for a Ziploc bag - it's a mess-free way to brine. Usually I do a plain kosher salt brine, but sometimes I'll toss in various herbs (rosemary is a favorite). Once I experimented by tossing in some lemons. The result was chicken ceviche. Oops.

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