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Basics of Brining

Cooking a whole BBQ chicken can be difficult to get right. If it’s undercooked, the pink flesh will not only scare away your guests, but it can make them sick. By the time the dark meat in the thighs and drumsticks are cooked through, the white meat in the breast can be overcooked and dry. There’s a small window of opportunity to pull your chicken off the grill at its most tender and succulent.

The best way to combat dryness is to brine your bird overnight.

In its simplest form, a brine is just a solution of water and salt, although cooks will usually add sugar and various aromatics to permeate extra flavor into the meat. The salt allows the protein to hold more of the liquid it absorbs, meaning that there’s more juice left in the meat by the time it’s cooked.

Once you start brining your chicken, you’ll never look back. It’s not just for whole birds either, you can brine your wings, drumsticks, turkey or pork chops too. Any meat you want to add more moisture to can be brined.

Here is my basic brine recipe:

-1 gallon water
-1½ Cups Kosher Salt
-1 Cup Molasses (Brown Sugar or Honey works too)
-3 Bay Leaves
-1 Tablespoon Black Whole Peppercorns

1. Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a large pot then simmer until you can no longer feel any sugar or salt granules at the bottom of the pot, around 8-10 minutes.
2. Allow brine to cool to room temperature. (NEVER add chicken to a warm brine!)
3. Place your meat into the cool pot of brine with a heavy plate on top to keep the meat submerged.
4. Put a lid or plastic wrap over the top of the pot and place in refrigerator for 12-48 hours.
5. Discard the brine solution, pat meat dry with a towel, and its ready to cook. (NEVER reuse your brine)


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