Brining is the process of submerging food in salted water. Once the food hits the brine, the water within the cells is replaced by the saltwater solution, which the meat retains once cooked. Salt is necessary for this process, and sea salt is perfectly suitable. Sea salt, which is similar to coarse kosher salt, is less salty than regular table salt because it is less dense. You can brine a whole chicken with sea salt for roasting or quickly brine chicken pieces for a moist and flavourful weeknight dinner.
Fill a large pot or stockpot with half as much water as you need to cover the chicken. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat.
Remove the pot from heat. Add sea salt to the water and stir until well combined. Add 2 tbsp sea salt for every 1 cup of water you use.
Add any sugars, herbs or spices that you enjoy. They are not necessary for the brining process, but can add flavour to the chicken.
Allow the water to cool slightly. Add ice equal to the amount of water that you used, plus a little extra to account for the extra volume in the ice. The ratio doesn't have to be exact, so don't worry if you add a little too much ice.
Submerge the chicken in brine. If there isn't enough brine to cover the chicken, add a solution of 1 tbsp salt and 1 cup water until it is fully submerged.
Cover and refrigerate. Allow whole chickens to brine for 6 to 8 hours. Chicken pieces such as breasts, thighs and legs only require about 30 minutes to an hour to brine.
Things you need
- Large pot or stockpot
- Sea salt