Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lou's Most Excellent Chicken Brine

Use this brine for your chicken prior to cooking, unless the chicken is to be used in a sauced based dish. The meat stays tender and moist while the addition of the veggies and herbs enhances the flavor of chicken so it’s not “just chicken.” This recipe makes enough brine for a whole roasting chicken. If just doing a few parts you can easily halve it.

Chicken brined like this tastes great coming off the grill, especially if you’ve thrown some hickory into the fire.

Many brines call for the addition of sugar, the theory being the sugar helps crisp the skin. I say that’s bullshit and hence no sugar.

½ cup kosher salt
1 TBS coarse ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, crushed (skins on are OK too)
½ medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf, crushed
5 whole parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped
1 TSP dried oregano
1 TSP dried or fresh chives
1 TSP dried thyme
1 TSP dried rosemary

In a 4 quart bowl or pot fill with 2 quarts of cold water. Add the pepper and salt and stir until dissolved (this will take a bit of time)., then the onion and garlic. Take all the herbs - fresh and dried - and coarsely chop together. Add chicken and place in fridge according to times below. Try not to exceed these times as the chicken may become too salty.

Boneless chicken breasts: 30 minutes
Bone in chicken parts: 40 minutes
Whole chicken: 60 minutes

Rinse chicken under cold water prior to doing anything.


  1. Wow, this brine is fantastic. Thanks for the sugar free alternative

  2. Really great brine!! Used this on my very first whole chicken. I always find that unless the chicken is's always dry! Oh man! Totally not the case! Won't ever bake a chicken again without first doing this brine!

  3. Does the whole chicken need to be covered with the water, or just partially submerged?