A Simple Preparation That Will Change Your Life

Well, Sunday night’s meal wasn’t anything spectacular but today I wanted to stress the importance of a simple technique called brining. This is the easiest prep step you can take in cooking with the greatest payoff. A basic brine solution is 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of sugar for every gallon (16 cups) of cold water. Many suggest that you must bring this to a boil to dissolve properly. I’ve had great results without boiling and rarely take that leap. Just make sure to stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved completely and you’ll be just fine.

When you’re ready to brine, simply take your chicken/turkey (it can be bone in or boneless) and estimate how much water you would need to cover it in a bowl/pot. If the meal is only 1lb of chicken (like the other night) you should be fine with 4 cups of water (1/4 gallon) a quarter cup of salt and quarter cup of sugar. I like using gallon sized zip locked plastic bags. They provide good coverage of the meat and easy disposal, afterwards.

One the meat is submerged whether it be a small amount in a zip locked bag, or a whole chicken in a pot, make sure it is covered and throw it in the fridge. If you go the plastic bag route make sure it goes inside a bowl as well just in case it leaks. Nothing worse than raw meat juice oozing all over the place!

Let the meat brine for at least 4 hours and as many as 24 hours. Once you’re ready to cook it, rinse it thoroughly with clean water. Pat dry with a paper towel then season and cook as you normally would. When eating, you will notice that the brine didn’t add flavor but definitely added juiciness. Brining basically hydrates your chicken/turkey. When cooking poultry it loses a lot of water weight and this helps compensate for that loss. If you take this step moving forward, even if you overcook (exceed 165 degrees internal temperature) the chicken, it will still be the best chicken you’ve ever tasted. Okay, it won’t be better than fried chicken but it will still be damn tasty!

You’ll see this meal was grilled (fired up my old trusty Weber charcoal grill) red onions, bell peppers, chicken and corn (highly recommend you obtain your produce from your local farmer’s market) with a lime/butter sauce.

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I absolutely love corn on the cob. When it is in season (like right now!), you can get it in the husk. Pre-soak the ears of corn in water for 30 minutes before you throw it on the grill. That way it won’t burn (and will steam) as it cooks. For a one pot dish like this I used a serrated edged knife and cut the corn from the cob.

Now go grab a beer cause it’s time to eat!

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