Here’s a conversation I had many years ago with a blogger by the name of Chris Gregory. He sent me this email about how he prepared chicken, a meat I love.
“I meant brine it to make it kosher. To be kosher the meat can’t have any blood in it, so they put the butchered meat in a salt water solution to make sure.
Okay. Cell walls are permeable, so you put the meat in the salt water, the moisture in the cells is wicked out. But because the meat is immersed in water, the solution maintains equilibrium, and moisture flows back into the cells, until everything is as moist and saturated as it can possibly be. Then, when you take it out of the brine, the moisture is locked in there, making the flesh as moist as it can be.
The other advantage of this is that you can infuse the meat with flavors by just putting stuff in the brine, like pepper, pineapple juice, ginger, whatever. It helps preserve the meat as well, and it means it’s already seasoned. And very, very succulent. It only really makes sense to do this to poultry and pork (fish are better dry cured, usually). But it really improves poultry and pork, which is bred to be way too lean these days and dries out easily.
I’d cut a chicken in half then put each half in a separate ziplock bag with a third of a cup of salt (kosher salt if you can get it, but preferably something with no caking agent) and a quarter of a cup of brown sugar. Fill with water, then put the bags in the fridge overnight. You could also use orange juice or pineapple juice instead of water, but reduce the sugar. Whole peppercorns are good too.
Next day wash them off then let them air dry on a rack. Brush with oil and season just before cooking. I’d smoke them, but a charcoal BBQ like a Weber will also do a good job. Or cook them in an oven the usual way.”
First published: http://hungsworld.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/chris-gregorys-chicken/