• 8 cups of water split / half to boil and 4 cups of ice water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 head of garlic cut in half
  • 1 tbl peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 5-6 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice

you must think i am nuts, but trust me, this is the best way to prepare a chicken if you are going to roast or fry it. it adds flavor and softens up the bird. not only that, it will be the juiciest bird you have ever tasted.

i learned about brining years ago. one thanksgiving my uncle decided to brine the turkey. it sat outside over night soaking in a salty water solution. i had doubts. it was one of the best turkeys i have ever had. every year we brine our bird now. i never make my brine for thanksgiving however. once a year i order brine from FreshDirect. it is one of the best, i would post a link but they only offer it on and around thanksgiving. it is full of spice and dried fruit. it adds great flavor to any bird.

a while back a friend posted on fb that he was brining chickens. i automatically inquired into what he was doing (he’s a chef). 2 minutes later a message came through and it was a recipe from bouchon, another thomas keller cookbook. i already had french laundry so i got on amazon and ordered it. a couple days later i was brining chickens and so happy i asked.

brining is simple, it might sound complicated but it is not. you literally put all the ingredients in one pot and bring to a boil. let the solution cool down and add your bird. over the years i have changed it up a bit. first off i cut the recipe in half, i never cook more then 1 bird at a time. secondly, i boil the solution with half the water and then add cold ice water to speed up the cooling down process. i also leave out the honey, i forgot it once and i didn’t notice a difference.

how to brine a chicken     adapted from bouchon cookbook

what you need: a large heavy pot

  1. in a large heavy bottomed pot, add half the water and all of the following ingredients. bring to a boil. mix, turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. add the other 4 cups of water.
  2. when mixture is cooled down, you don’t want to pour hot brine on a raw chicken, add the chicken to the pot and make sure it is immersed in the water. as you can see above, i use a ziplock bag. i clean and rinse the chicken and then add it to the bag. when the brining mixture is cooled down, i add it to the bag and seal. always use a big bowl to hold the bag, i have learned through the years sometimes ziplock bags have holes :-)
  3. store in the fridge for 6 hours, clean and cook.

i still haven’t decided how to cook this bird. i am thinking fried chicken, it’s been way to long since i have had that. roasting it could be just as good :-)



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