Brining Meat

Brining adds moisture, making it the best choice for lean proteins.

Salt in the brine not only seasons the meat, but also promotes a change in its protein structure, reducing its overall toughness and creating gaps that fill up with water and keep the meat juicy and flavorful.

Preferred salt: Table salt

Benefits over salting: Works faster than salting; can make lean cuts such as chicken breast or pork tenderloin juicier than salting since it adds, versus merely retains, moisture.

Cons: Can inhibit browning on skin or meat exterior; requires fitting a brining container in fridge.

MEAT - TIME - COLD WATER - TABLE SALT

CHICKEN

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds) - 1/2 to 1 hour - 2 quarts cold water - 1/2 cup table salt

2 whole chickens (3 1/2 to 4 pounds each) - 1/2 to 1 hour - 3 quarts cold water - 3/4 cup table salt

4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (whole breasts, split breasts, whole legs, thighs, and/or drumsticks) - 1/2 to 1 hour - 2 quarts cold water - 1/2 cup table salt

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - 1/2 to 1 hour - 2 quarts cold water -1/4 cup table salt

TURKEY

1 turkey (12 to 17 pounds) - 6 to 12 hours - 2 gallons cold water - 1 cup table salt

1 turkey (18 to 24 pounds) - 6 to 12 hours - 3 gallons cold water -1 1/2 cups table salt

1 bone-in turkey breast (6 to 8 pounds) - 3 to 6 hours - 1 gallon cold water - 1/2 cup table salt

PORK

4 bone-in rib loin pork chops (12 ounces each), 1 1/2 inches thick - 1 hour - 1 1/2 quarts cold water - 3 tablespoons table salt

1 pork roast (3 to 6 pounds) - 1 1/2 to 2 hours - 2 quarts cold water - 1/4 cup table salt

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