Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Simple brine for chicken and pork

A few weeks ago I went to a friend's house for dinner and she served grilled pork chops, something I would usually expect to be dry and bleh, but they were delicious. She said she had quick-brined them. So recently I've been experimenting with brining. And by "experimenting," I mean doing the most basic possible version of brining. Here's the basic recipe I concocted out of my brain:


1/4 cup brown sugar (ish)
1/4 cup kosher salt (ish)
4-6 cups of water (ish)

Mix all ingredients in a big bowl or Pyrex until dissolved (I just eyeballed them), then pour over meat of choice in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate for 4-8 hours. You could probably add herbs and stuff of your choice, if you had them; I added two bay leaves once but can't discern if it made any difference.

I did this once with a pork tenderloin which was on the "natural" side (i.e. not already injected with all kinds of saline solution) and once with two bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. In both cases, after removing from the brine, I patted the surface dry, then sprinkled with fresh-ground pepper and an herb mix I happened to have on hand (this stuff, if you're curious), then roasted in the oven until done. (For the chicken, I also topped the skin with a little butter.) In both cases, the meat was extremely juicy and very yummy.

My mind is sort of blown. I've brined turkeys on Thanksgiving before, but that's so involved (mostly due to the size of the bird) it never occurred to me to try brining just any old night. But it's kind of a "game changer." Must be the cheapest, easiest way to get good results from white meat.



  1. Thanks for the recommendation - I'll pass this on to the husband as he is the cook in the family and doesn't like white meat usually.

    1. I'm usually not a big fan of white meat either -- but my husband doesn't care much for dark meat, so this is kind of a compromise. Good luck!

  2. This makes me want to brine something, but I'm a vegetarian. What can I brine?

    1. I wonder what would happen if you brined tofu???

  3. Reading a blog entry on brining makes me smile. My friend did a beer one for his turkey.