By James Shi, Foodie
When I first started cooking, I tried to stay away from chicken and turkey as much as possible. Nobody likes the cardboard texture of a dry chicken breast.
Thankfully, I’ve learned to prepare my meats so that they’ll always be juicy off the grill or out of the oven.
The secret is brining.
Brining is simply preparing your meat by soaking it in salty water. When you brine, the salt acts as a catalyst agent that breaks down proteins. This yields a meat with a more tender mouthfeel and reduced chewiness. By breaking down the protein, you also help the meat itself to absorb and retain more moisture, which ends up being juicier meat.
While brining can work with any cuts of meat, some certainly benefit from it more than others. White meat on poultry, or other drier, leaner meats all could use some serious brining. I personally love to brine poultry and pork. Meat like steak, poultry legs or thighs, or fish generally don’t require brining.
How to brine?
Fill a large bowl or soup pot with one gallon of water to one cup of kosher salt. Then soak your meat in it.
How long should I brine for?
The rule of thumb is to brine one hour per pound. So for a 14 pound turkey, an overnight brine will do the trick. However, you may brine to your taste, as some of us prefer saltier meat.
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