Brining Question (Chicken)

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John Daly's Liver
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Brining Question (Chicken)

Postby John Daly's Liver » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:09 am

Hi Folks, What an awesome site here!

Have a big party coming up this week (Grillin' chicken legs and thighs). Read up on brining and got some good ideas so I wanted to practice up a batch last weekend first but didn't notice much difference between that and my usual grilled chicken and from what I've been reading, I should have noticed a BIG difference in moistness, flavor and fallin' off the bone.

Found what seemed to be a pretty standard brine and brining time to use. 1 gallon cold water, 1 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar. (I only made 5 drums and 5 thighs so I knocked the brine down in half to 2 quarts water, 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar). Brine for 1 hour and a half. Grill (I use gas) 30-40 minutes indirect at about 400, last 10 mins or so direct, same temp with sauce.

Like I said it was SLIGHTLY different, slightly more moist maybe, but nothing close to dramatic difference, and I was really expecting more. Can any of you experts tell me if I should have done something differently please? Like brine for longer? (I did read some sites that said 3-4 hours or maybe even overnight but most seemed to say chicken parts about 1.5 hours). Or should I use a stronger brine? And if so, what measurements?

I have 20 middle aged-older aged people coming over this weekend and I plan on making a mess of chicken parts and was hoping to wow them with the new way of making it, but I'm slightly concerned about too much salt flavor for the older folks, but most of all I'd like to get that fallin' off the bone, moist, awesome chicken I was reading about when I started reading about brining. I'd really love to keep brining but if it isn't going to be that different than my usual chicken, I won't go through the hassle so I figured if I couldn't get help here, I won't get it anywhere. This seems to be THE place.

Thanks again for the great site and sorry for the ramble.
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Re: Brining Question (Chicken)

Postby egghead » Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:00 am

John Daly's Liver wrote:1 gallon cold water, 1 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar. (I only made 5 drums and 5 thighs so I knocked the brine down in half to 2 quarts water, 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar). Brine for 1 hour and a half. Grill (I use gas) 30-40 minutes indirect at about 400, last 10 mins or so direct, same temp with sauce.

I have 20 middle aged-older aged people coming over this weekend.


From one older aged person not coming over this weekend - lost my invite 8) :roll:

Did you do some without brining to make a side by side comparison?

Should I brine? Yes
Is my brine recipe okay? Yes
Did I brine long enough? No. Brine for 12-24 hours
Cooking temps and time? Looks just right - do mine at 400 for about an hour - till the thighs read 185.

Pick up a small pack of thighs, brine half overnight tonight and do a side by side comparison on Friday - bet you will be able to tell the difference.

Good luck with it.

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Re: Brining Question (Chicken)

Postby Pony Express » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:11 am

hour and a half is not nearly long enough. Thats why you only noticed a slight difference
Try at least 8 hours, 12 even better.
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Re: Brining Question (Chicken)

Postby cowboydon » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:00 am

also be sure to rinse off the chicken when you remove it from the brine and let it air dry, that will allow you to get a crispy skin.
You can throw an equal part of your chicken rub into the brine and it will add some additional flavor.
If you brine as long as the guys have suggested you will see a very noticeable difference and your chicken will
be very moist and tasty.
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Re: Brining Question (Chicken)

Postby Papa Tom » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:19 am

Here is the Alton Brown brine brine that folks like. I have not used this one but I have brined for years and agree it is the way to go.

1 qt. vegetable stock (low sodium)
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. to 1 tbl. black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 qt. orange juice
2 qts. ice water

Bring two cups of the stock, the salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, and bay leaves to a boil.? Dissolve the salt and sugar, then turn fire off.? Add the remaining stock, orange juice, and ice water.? Once the brine has cooled to 40*F or cooler, add meat and keep in a cold place.?

I suggest chicken parts 4-8 hr whole chicken 12 hr or more. Like Don said be sure to rinse off.
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Re: Brining Question (Chicken)

Postby BluDawg » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:16 am

I usually brine 1 hr a pound followed by a good rinse in cold water, patting dry and allowing to air dry in the fridge for at least 2 hrs.
This is the brine I use most of the time It brings the flavor to the party.
1 gal water
1 cup pickle salt or 1 1/2 cups Kosher salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 tbl brown sugar
1 tbl pickle spice
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp tarragon

Dissolve the salt & brown sugar remove 2 cups of the brine to a sauce pan add the spices and bring to a boil. Return the sauce pan contents to the rest of the brine. Add the vinegar and the chicken brine 1 hr a lb.
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Re: Brining Question (Chicken)

Postby FR8 Train » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:29 am

Brined chicken is awesome! We drop our birds in the brine the night before and let them soak overnight. If your brine still doesn't take after an overnight soak try adding a little more salt, osmosis is the key :D
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Re: Brining Question (Chicken)

Postby RWBTEX » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:54 pm

Everybody nailed it, all good advice and I will add a little too. I add some canola oil and or some liquid butter or butter flavor powder. The oils make the chicken plump up during cooking, cant explain how or why I'm not food scientist like Alton but it just does. Also will say that those cheapy thighs and drumsticks but especially the thighs are very hard to flavor infuse into without the brining. Also I add some knorr chicken flavor, the green cap white powdered one into my brine, really adds good flavor too.
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Re: Brining Question (Chicken)

Postby backyard » Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:18 am

All great advice. I'm going to add to a little. My basic brine starts with:

1 Gallon of Liquid
1 1/2 Cups plus 3 Tablespoons of Morton Kosher Salt
2 Cups of Domino Light Brown Sugar

Brine time 12 - 13 hours (overnight)

When looking at the whole chicken label it will tell you what % of solution has been added. The higher the percentage the less effective your brine will be. The chickens I buy are from HEB and have 3% solution added. I've been told that a bird can only hold so much, about 10%. I don't know if this is true or not. For me the 3% chicken has a better flavor vs. the 7% chicken(on the bland side) after brining.

I guess you could purchase whole chickens, split 'em in half, brine them, then cut how you want.
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Re: Brining Question (Chicken)

Postby RWBTEX » Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:51 am

Yes true they will only soak in so much. I buy fresh unfrozen chickens from my local market so they only have what I brine with in them. For butter I buy the liquid "Butter it" from Sysco, comes in 3 one gallon jugs, good stuff.
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Re: Brining Question (Chicken)

Postby John Daly's Liver » Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:04 am

Wow! You guys are SUPER with all the great input! I'll print this and put it away for safe keeping. Didn't have time to do a practice run but I'm reasonably sure with all the awesome suggestions I can do this. I've got 40 pieces of chicken in a 5 gallon bucket, (2 gallons of brine), in the fridge with an 10 lb ice bag half full and a small plastic grocery bag (no holes) full of ice on top of it all, sitting in there overnight for tomorrow early afternoon. Can't wait to try this the right way instead of the way I did it last time. Ran out of time with all the sides and appetizers I had to make to try any of the great brine recipes suggested here, but will be trying them starting next time for sure. I did use alot of your tips though.

Thanks again for all the great tips and recipes. I was right. This is THE PLACE to come for BBQ and grillin' questions.

Oh and Egghead, if it makes you feel better about the "older folks" comment, I'm 45 myself, so the older folks coming are late 70's and 80's. After reading your profile, you don't qualify as old one bit. These ain't no spring chickens coming (no pun intended). :laughing7: I'm sure your invite got lost in the mail, what with all the postal jobs going under these days. Next time I'll send yours Fed Ex overnight to make sure you get it. We'll take in a Packer game and I'll show you folks down there close to the Equator how to tailgate the right way. Shoot, half the time we don't even make it in for the game. :mrgreen:

Happy Eatin'!
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