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Old 05-30-2007, 01:52 AM   #1
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Default brine for chicken breasts

Hey boys, I have been using the steve raichlien chicken breast brine from his book how to grill. Anyway I like it, but some feel it is a little to salty. I followed the directions for 6 breasts. I will be catering a party next week needing around 140 breasts, I would like them brined so they won't dry out. Does anyone know if I lower the salt in the brine will it affect the taste? or does anyone have a simpler brine that is not as salty, any info would be helpfull
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:56 AM   #2
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I find you guys use far too much salt for my taste so I lower (by up to 1/3) the salt in nearly all the recipe's I follow.

Never noticed any difference in the finished product except for it being less salty!!!!!
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:01 AM   #3
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Also be sure to give the birds a rinse after sitting in the brine.. It helps remove some of the excess salt.
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:20 AM   #4
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Just remember that for a brine to be a "brine" and not just another marinade--it must have a certain level of salt or the chemical reaction will not take place.

Instead of reducing the salt content, consider reducing the time your product is soaking in the brine.

I am not familier with Steve's brine's so I just stopped and looked up a couple of his recipes. I do not have the Grilling book, but found chicken brines in some of his other books. It does not look to me like he uses excessive salt. His formulas are about standard for salt and sugar content.

He reccomended 2-3 hours in the brine for boneless, skinless breast halfs. To me three hours is on the upper end for such small thin pieces.

I brine boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thin pork cuts, etc for around 2 hours max.

Just my thoughts for what its worth
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilitantSquatter View Post
Also be sure to give the birds a rinse after sitting in the brine.. It helps remove some of the excess salt.

Forgot, I wanted to second this. I always rinse after brining. It removes some of the surface salt.
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:40 AM   #6
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My standard brine is 1 cup (Diamond, a little less if Morton's) kosher salt and 1 cup brown sugar to each gallon of water. I had issues with chicken being too salty so I cut back on the salt. That didn't work out so well though and after receiving some friendly advice, I bumped it back up. My problem was that the brine wasn't cold enough to start out with. I just mixed it up with cold tap water, threw in the chicken and put the whole thing in the fridge. Make sure it's cold, cold, cold before you put the chicken in and be sure to rinse when you're done and you should be OK. How long does Raichlen recommend to brine them?
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirk View Post
My standard brine is 1 cup (Diamond, a little less if Morton's) kosher salt and 1 cup brown sugar to each gallon of water. I had issues with chicken being too salty so I cut back on the salt. That didn't work out so well though and after receiving some friendly advice, I bumped it back up. My problem was that the brine wasn't cold enough to start out with. I just mixed it up with cold tap water, threw in the chicken and put the whole thing in the fridge. Make sure it's cold, cold, cold before you put the chicken in and be sure to rinse when you're done and you should be OK. How long does Raichlen recommend to brine them?
Kirk, I do not know about the recipe grillfella is looking at, but the Raichlen recipes I looked up, he used the exact same ratio of salt and sugar as you said.

He called for 2-3 hours in COLD brine for boneless, skinless breasts

What time frame do you use?
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Old 05-30-2007, 09:22 AM   #8
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Hmm. I usually use 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup brown sugar in my brines. I was unaware of the admonition to use really cold water, though. I've also been using tap water and then refrigerating.

I did discover this weekend that 18 hours is too long for pork loin chops to brine. Pig of the sea mod.
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Old 05-30-2007, 09:33 AM   #9
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Reduce your time in the brine. 2 hours tops for chix breast, and rinse as recommended.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VitaminQ View Post
Hmm. I usually use 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup brown sugar in my brines. I was unaware of the admonition to use really cold water, though. I've also been using tap water and then refrigerating.

I did discover this weekend that 18 hours is too long for pork loin chops to brine. Pig of the sea mod.

1/4 cup in how much water?--this would be right for a quart, which is what I usually make for small cooks. 1 cup of each is for a gallon of liquid.

Pig of the sea mod. I like that
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:43 AM   #11
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I think the rule is 1/2 cup kosher salt to 1/2 cup sugar...or 3/4-3/4 added to 1 gallon of water. Almost all recipes will use those levels. Some folks will even use 1 cup but then you would have to watch your times. I can tell you that 1/4 cup of each isn't enough.

I will email you a bunch of brine recipes, just PM me your email address.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:46 AM   #12
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Remember table salt is twice as potent as kosher salt, keep that in mind when you prepare your brine.

Just so you know, I have made brine many times and found one that I prefer and it isn't my brine, it is DeeZ brine. I don't know why I like it better....but probably because he wins and I don't and I used it for the first time last week and got a 3rd place finish....enough said.
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Old 05-30-2007, 12:56 PM   #13
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I flavor brine all poultry white meat (even if I'm making fried chicken) and I won't cook a pork chop and hardly a loin without brining. I even do shrimp for 15 minutes or so. As simple as a flavor brine seems, there are a few guidelines....

1. Either stick with the same brand of kosher salt OR measure salt by weight. You want consistency. Like qman said, you can adjust amount of salt a little either way or you can play with your times. Just don't go too far off the mark or you are defeating the purpose.

2. Salt and water will work for adding moisture, but other adders are where all the flavor comes from, so don't be shy in experimenting. Pepper, thyme, rosemary, bay, onion, garlic, sugar, vanilla, cider vinegar, apple juice, beer are all good in brines.

3. Start off with HOT water. This is critical. Get most of the water called out in your recipe up to a simmer and add the ingredients. This will allow the salt and sugar to dissolve completely and it will release flavors in any of the spices/herbs you are using. Simmer for 5 or 10 minutes. Take the water you held back and add some ice to it and chill down the brine then refrigerate it until it is COLD. Then add your meat, and return to the fridge.

4. Write down your recipe and times for future duplication or adjustments.

Trust me, by doing these simple things you will be rewarded with excellent outcomes every time.
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Old 05-30-2007, 01:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qman View Post
He called for 2-3 hours in COLD brine for boneless, skinless breasts

What time frame do you use?
I do split breasts (w/bone & skin) for about 4 hrs so 2 to 3 for boneless skinless sounds about right. 6 hrs or more for split chickens.
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Old 05-30-2007, 01:15 PM   #15
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Agreed, You MUST brine in cold water. Also by flavoring the brine, the salt will carry those additional flavors into the meat.
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