View Full Version : Brining a whole chicken

Dave L.
02-18-2008, 11:51 AM
I want to brine a whole chicken for tomorrow nights dinner. Can it be brined overnight or is it better to brine it today for a few hours and let it sit overnight in the frig?

K Kruger
02-18-2008, 12:24 PM
Straight brine or flavor brine? Low heat cook or high?

Doug D
02-18-2008, 12:49 PM
The first thing you need to do is make sure the bird is not already technically brined. Labeling stating "enhanced with a solution of up to..." vs. wording like "all natural" will let you know what you have. If you got it from Sam's, where those tasty rotisseried ones came from, it likely came from the same stock as those in the case out front for sale. At my Sam's at least, all those birds are "pumped", confirmed by the label and the fact that they all weigh exactly the same.

Dave L.
02-18-2008, 01:11 PM
Kevin, Straight brine with a little garlic.

Doug, The package says all natural. Then in little letters "with 5% water retained from chilling process."

K Kruger
02-18-2008, 01:35 PM
It can be brined overnight then removed in the morning, rinsed and patted dry, then placed on a rack over a pan, uncovered in the fridge for the day.

If doing a high heat cook and skin texture is a concern, you could brine for a shorter period, removing the chicken tonight and air drying all night tonight and during the day tomorrow.

A longer brine is often better if the effort is also to get flavor into the flesh. Garlic alone can transfer a bit better during shorter time than, say, flavors from herbs or juice(s). Your call there.

Dave L.
02-18-2008, 01:59 PM
Kevin, the recipe I have is to cook it at 500 degrees for extra crispy skin.

K Kruger
02-18-2008, 02:23 PM
That's where I tend to cook them.

I'd likely air dry longer.

I also am a be believer in separating the skin from the flesh. I usually mix some unsalted butter with a little mix of whatever (an herb or two, a spice or two) and work that under the skin and over the flesh.

Phil Hartcher
02-18-2008, 03:53 PM
I nearly always brine Chickens before roasting. I add 2 teaspoons of garlic flakes and 1 teaspoon of mustard powder to the brine solution, sometimes if I want an Asian theme I add 1 teaspoon of Chinese 5 spicer. I found that the best timing was 5 hours in the brine followed by patting dry, bringing up to room temp and brushing with EVOO and a light seasoning of S&P. I cook at about 375 - 425 for 1.25 hrs or so until the internal temp gets to between 170 & 180. I use just a hint of smoke - a small piece of Ti Tree (similar to hickory but not as stong or heavy).

Prep/brine at 11 am, remove and pat dry and leave out to come to room temp at 4 pm, fire up the kettle at 4.30 pm, Kettle ready to cook on at 5 pm cook chicken, rremove at 6.15 rest, serve at 6.30 - easy day.


Dave L.
02-19-2008, 07:22 AM
Here's what I did. It is a small chicken so last night I put it in a gallon size food bag with 1 quart if water mixed with 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1/4 cup brown sugar. This morning I took it out, rinsed it, patted it dry and now it is sitting in the refrigerator uncovered air drying. Tonight I will butterfly it and probably put butter under the skin. The recipe calls for 500 degrees in the oven for twenty minutes, rotate it and cook for another twenty minutes or until cooked to 160 degrees breast temp.