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How To Brine Chicken

Let’s talk about something real quick before we get into how to brine a chicken…

You all know me, I’m not ever going to be dogmatic about food and nutrition.  I will always make recommendations and encourage you to test things out on your own body and see how it feels.  The one thing I believe in over all else when it comes to this stuff is BIO-INDIVIDUALITY.

That being said, lots of people argue about how much protein we actually need and whether or not we should consume as much animal protein as many of us do (1.8x your bodyweight in g if you workout a lot? 1.2 if you don’t? who knows…).  I’ll never give you a direct answer on that either, that’s for you to decide by trial and error…and the answer may change for you as your body changes.

What I WILL give you a direct answer about is this: do your best within your budget to get the HIGHEST QUALITY when it comes to any animal product.  Organic, local, no hormones, antiobotics, nitrates, or other shitty ingredients, preservatives or additives, OK?

All that stuff is highly disruptive to your endocrine system which is very bad news and definitely responsible for WAY more issues than we realize.

For more on that check out my girl Alisa’s book WomanCode.

Now onto How To Brine Chicken…

I can’t take credit for this recipe, by the way.  I adapted it from Melissa Joulwan’s cookbook Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat. In the book, she uses it to brine chicken breasts.  I used it to brine a whole chicken to roast.  You’ve got some options!!

INGREDIENTS:

2 garlic cloves, whole

8 cups water

1/2 tbsp coconut aminos (liquid aminos also work here, or soy sauce if it’s all you’ve got)

3 tbsp salt

1 bay leaf

1 tsp whole coriander seeds (I had the ground version so that’s what I used)

1 tsp whole cumin seeds (same deal, I used ground cumin)

1 tsp whole black peppercorns (you guessed it, I used crushed black pepper)

2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts OR a whole chicken

1 gallon-sized ziploc bag

*Note: In Well Fed she provides a spice blend and a dipping sauce for the chicken.  Since I was roasting a whole chicken here and I always discard the skin, I skipped those things.  If you’re interested, get the cookbook, it’s well worth it!

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Peel garlic cloves

2. Place the ziploc bag inside a large bowl (tip: one size larger than you think you need is a good idea). Pour the water into the bag, then add everything but the chicken.

3. Stir it up to dissolve the salt, then add the chicken to the bag.  It’s going to look gross, remember it’s going to taste delicious.  You’ll get over it 🙂

4. Seal the bag and place the bowl in the fridge for 2 hours.

5. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  The rule of thumb for roasting a whole chicken is 20 minutes per pound.  Breasts are a different story if that’s what you brine, you can bake, cook on the stovetop, or grill them.  Cooking times vary. While the oven is pre-heating, rinse your chicken, and let it dry until you’re ready to put it in the oven.

6. An extra little step I added was to put the garlic cloves inside the chicken while it roasted.

I know what you might be thinking, this seems like A LOT OF WORK…if you’re a single person a whole chicken can last you a few days, if you’re in a couple or have a family it may last for 1-2 meals.  Either way-brining a chicken takes the flavor to a whole new level so my advice is don’t knock it til you try it—>Click To Tweet.

How To Brine Chicken
  • Rikki

    Sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing! You say stir to dissolve salt – did I miss the salt in the recipe?
    Thanks!

    • Liz DiAlto

      oops! You didn’t miss it, Rikki-I did!

      Just added it, it’s 3 tbsp 🙂

  • David

    Brine! Where’s the salt?
    once you add it give it more than two hours for a whole bird

    • Liz DiAlto

      THANK YOU, David…duh! I left out one of the most important ingredients…it’s in now 🙂

      I agree, I left it in for like 1/ 2 a day actually-not on purpose, but because I was busy. Workout out well.

  • http://foodmemoir.blogspot.com dweiums

    Brining is always outstanding. My husband has a super, secret (well, at least he thinks so) family recipe for grilled chicken that is based on it. Add some red wine vinegar and crushed red pepper for a little zing!