Make Chicken More Flavorful: Here's How You Can Brine It In 1 Hour
It doesn't have to take too long to get it extra tasty and more moist.
The trick to learning how to brine chicken is all about purpose. Are you brining the chicken to make it flavorful or are you brining the meat to ensure it stays moist and juicy as it cooks? Perhaps you want both?
If your purpose is to add bold and intense flavor to your meat, you should be marinating your meat.
If your purpose is to ensure it is moist and juicy during and after cooking, especially the chicken breast cuts, you should brine the chicken.
However, did you know that brining can also deliver flavor? It can, but it is done in a more subtle manner than marinating does. This is why brining meat commonly needs time to be truly effective. This is how large birds, such as a turkey, a goose, or even a large duck, stay moist even when it has been roasting in the oven for hours.
You don't need hours to do a quick brine. The good news is that there is a quick way to ensure that you have both qualities in your chicken in a short amount of time. A juicy and flavorful chicken that's prepared in a few minutes and ready to cook in an hour is doable.
There are two ways to go about this:
- 1 Dry brine
- 2 Wet brine
1 Dry brine or rub chicken with salt for 1 hour.
A dry brine is basically rubbing salt and pepper (if using) on the chicken until the salt crystals have somewhat melted. This is easy to do. You can leave the chicken, covered, to absorb the dry brine for 1 hour, and it will be ready to cook then. You can refrigerate this chicken for that same time, too. You don't even have to remove it from the refrigerator to help it thaw and warm up to room temperature before cooking. (Even if this isn't steak, the principle that The Food Lab on Serious Eats demonstrates is that meat straight from the refrigerator will heat up as fast from the inside out as meat left out to come to room temperature. In fact, food left out to thaw to room temperature needed more than 2 hours to do so, which can be more dangerous since bacteria multiply faster at room temperature.)
Once brined and left to season the chicken, the salt will ensure that the chicken becomes more flavorful, even if it's not as flavorful on the inside as you might achieve if you brined it a full 8-hours or overnight. However, this is still better tasting than chicken that wasn't brined at all or seasoned with salt just before cooking.
2 Make a wet brine and let it soak for 30 minutes.
A wet brine is the another solution for short time periods. A wet brine is basically a solution of water and salt. The salinity of the water should be at least as salty as pasta water, so it can flavor the chicken. You don't need a lot of water or salt to do this, especially if it's just a few pieces of chicken.
Normally, you would combine 1/4 cup salt per 1-liter water to make a brine solution. If you add more salt into the brine, you make it saltier, ensuring that the meat will absorb more of the salt in a shorter amount of time.
Here's what you do to make this saltier wet brine: Dissolve 1/2 cup salt for every 1-liter water. You can use less water and salt and adjust the amount of water to be able to cover chicken pieces. Feel free to make a smaller batch of brine solution if you are only brining a few chicken pieces instead of a whole chicken.
Then, set it aside, covered, at room temperature for as little time as 30 minutes. Rinse the chicken lightly to remove excess salt and then season lightly with salt and pepper to return some seasoning back to its skin. Prepare it like you normally would or as per the recipe instructions.
Aren't these faster methods easy?
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