Ever wondered how your takeaway charcoal chicken always stays tender and juicy? Well, it’s highly likely that the bird has been brined before roasting.
Brining is the process of submerging and resting the meat in a saltwater solution. The brine causes the muscle fibres in the meat to draw in water and retain moisture after being cooked. I’m no food scientist so here is a link to a more detailed explanation. The short story is, it results in a tender, juicy cut that’s seasoned all the way through and is hard to overcook.
You can brine any cut of meat or seafood, but it works particularly well with lean cuts that are cooked hot and fast like chicken breast or a pork loin. A large cut is ideally brined overnight like a whole chicken but if you only have an hour or two, definitely get that chicken breast under some salty water and you won’t be sorry.
You can add aromatics to your brining solution like lemon peel, bay leaves and peppercorns, but to demonstrate the basics I kept it really simple.
Cook the meat however you like, I chose to spatchcock and barbecue the bird nice and hot to really test the theory.
How to brine a chicken
Take your chicken and place it into a large container. Mix a brine solution of 1 ½ cups water to 1 tbsp salt. Submerge the chicken in the solution, adding more at the same ratio as needed.
Place in the fridge overnight, up to 24 hours. Don’t leave it too long or it may become too salty.
When you’re ready to cook, remove the chicken from its brine, pat dry and prepare as you please (here’s a demonstration on spatchcocking/butterflying a chook).
You can roast, grill, fry, boil or bake it.
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