I am a food lover. I don’t just like food, I love it. So, imagine my surprise when I heard about using a brine to enhance the flavor and moistness of chicken! There seems to be a lot of opinions on how to best create the brine and for how long to leave the chicken in. Here’s what I used:
10 lbs of chicken quarters
1 gallon cold of water
1 1/2 cups Kosher salt (don’t use iodized salt)
1 1.2 cups white sugar
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon allspice
3 large cloves garlic chopped finely
1 tablespoon red chili pepper flake
Heat 2 cups of water to near boiling. Remove from heat and add salt and sugar. Stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Add back to the rest of the water. Add the rest of the ingredients to the water and chill.
You can either completely submerge the chicken in a pot with a weight on top or use zip lock bags to brine them. I put three leg quarters in a 1-gallon zip lock bag and filled with 4 cups of the liquid solution. Make sure you get an even amount of ‘goodies’ with the water you pour in each bag if you go that route.
Put the chicken in the refrigerator and allow to sit for between 4 and 6 hours. When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove from the brine and completely rinse. The chicken will be a little salty if you don’t get a good rinse on them.
Barbecue or bake normally (to 180 degrees). I actually barbecued the chicken to get a good brown skin on it then put it in the oven to finish it off.
If you like a little spicier chicken, add a couple more tablespoons of red chili powder. Garlic lovers (like me) add a few more cloves. The chicken will take on the flavor of the spices in the brine so be careful not to overdo it.
I was completely stunned at how moist the meat was. Even the breast meat was juicy.