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|
|1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds)||1/2 to 1 hour||2 quarts||1/2 cup|
|2 whole chickens (3 1/2 to 4 pounds each)||1/2 to 1 hour||3 quarts||3/4 cup|
|4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (whole breasts, split breasts, whole legs, thighs, and/or drumsticks)||1/2 to 1 hour||2 quarts||1/2 cup|
|4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts||1/2 to 1 hour||2 quarts||1/4 cup|
|1 turkey (12 to 17 pounds)||6 to 12 hours||2 gallons||1 cup|
|1 turkey (18 to 24 pounds)||6 to 12 hours||3 gallons||1 1/2 cups|
|1 bone-in turkey breast (6 to 8 pounds)||3 to 6 hours||1 gallon||1/2 cup|
|4 bone-in rib loin pork chops (12 ounces each), 1 1/2 inches thick||1 hour||1 1/2 quarts||3 tablespoons|
|1 pork roast (3 to 6 pounds)||1 1/2 to 2 hours||2 quarts||1/4 cup|