Brining is a culinary term that can seem daunting. Never fear though! Our chef instructors here at Dorsey Culinary Academy in Michigan can help you demystify the brining process. We recently sat down with Chef Ryan Parker from Dorsey Culinary Academy in Roseville, MI and he gave us some tips on brining chicken. Check it out!
Brine your way to perfect Chicken
By Chef Ryan Parker, Dorsey Culinary Academy, Roseville, MI
Every time you roast a chicken you may be worried about whether or not it is going to be juicy, tender, and flavorful. Well, today we are going to share with you exactly how to achieve beautiful chicken every time.
It is all going to start with the most basic seasoning in a cook’s repertoire, salt.
See, salt is a magical mineral that can transform your odds of cooking a nice chicken in your favor.
What is a brine?
According to the dictionary, a brine is a solution of water that is strongly saturated with salt.
In the culinary world a brine is used to bring flavor into the meat, and hold in moisture. We use a brine to season the inside of large pieces of meat and poultry. In some very specific circumstances we use a weak brine to pickle vegetables, but that is for another time.
When we create a brine for meats, we are shooting for somewhere between 5-8% salt solution by weight.
Typically in a good brine, we want to have the correct amount of salt, some flavoring agents like spices, and herbs, and sometimes a little sweetness and acidity.
How does brining work?
Think of a brine like a subway trying to evenly distribute a population of people throughout a city. The water is the subway, the salt (and flavorings) are the people. The chicken is the city. “City Chicken.”
Okay, now on to the science of things.
The water now has a high concentration of salt in it. The bird, or other meat product, has a lower salt concentration. In the natural order of the world, when these two properties are introduced to one another, the liquids want to become balanced with each other. The natural liquid in the chicken starts to flow into the water, and the brine begins to flow into the chicken. The brine takes with it the salt and the flavorings you have added.
When this happens the overall salt solution, in the brine and the bird, becomes normalized or balanced. There will be a similar concentration of salt in the poultry and the remaining brine liquid.
The good news? Well, the good news is the salt and flavorings stay parked in the chicken even after it is removed from the brine and cooked.
What is our favorite brine?
Our favorite brine is all based on 1 gallon of water. I sometimes use a flavorful liquid, but nothing too acidic like cider.
So, for the brine:
- 1-quart water
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 or 6 bay leaves
- 1 head of garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce, even Tobasco will do.
- 1 lemon, squeezed
- 3 quarts of ice
In an appropriately sized pan add water, salt, sugar, bay leaves, and garlic. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large plastic container. Add the lemon, and lemon juice, hot sauce and three quarts of ice.
The ice will melt chilling the brine for immediate use. Place your chicken into your brine and chill overnight in the cooler.
When you are ready to cook your bird, remove it from the brine and pat it dry with a single-use paper towel. Let your chicken air-dry in the cooler uncovered for 1 to 2 hours. This allows the skin to dry and become crispy when cooking it.
Cook your chicken in the manner you choose until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
What is your favorite way to cook your chicken? Let us know!
Do you want to attend Culinary Art School in Michigan? If so, you should consider Dorsey Culinary Academy for your culinary arts training in Michigan! Dorsey Culinary Academy has the ingredients that can help you succeed in launching your new cooking career. The culinary arts training program at Dorsey Culinary Academy provides perfectly blended career training that is designed to help students launch their new cooking career in the culinary field. Students can “learn by doing” in regards to the practical side of professional food preparation. Instruction takes place in both kitchen and classroom settings. The program also includes an externship component. The externship allows students to assimilate the knowledge they have learned in their culinary training and put it into practical application.
The Culinary Arts Training program at Dorsey Schools is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation and is offered at the Roseville, MI and Waterford-Pontiac, MI campuses.
Students enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at Dorsey Culinary Academy can learn a variety of skills. Some of these skills include:
- Mise en place
- Knife Skills
- Various Cooking Techniques
- Cake decorating
- Flavor development
- Healthy cooking techniques
- Menu planning
- Menu costing
- Inventory control
- …and more!
Ready to learn more? Contact us online or give us a call at 888-422-1188 to learn more!
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