How to Brine Chicken for a Barbecue

Brine chicken before grilling it for added flavor and moisture.
Brine chicken before grilling it for added flavor and moisture. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Brining chicken soaks it in a salty liquid before cooking. This adds flavor and moisture to the chicken, preventing it from becoming dry and tough on a barbecue grill. Brining is an especially useful preparation method for very lean boneless, skinless, chicken breasts. Do not confuse brines with marinades. Cookbook writer and chef, Alton Brown, notes that a marinade contains acid and does not add moisture to the meat, but a salty brine helps the meat to soak up moisture from the water in the brine.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 qts. water
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (optional)
  • 2 gallon resealable freezer bag
  • 10 oz. whole chicken or pieces
  • Baking pan

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Add the water, salt, and (optional) brown sugar in a freezer bag. Seal the bag and shake to combine the ingredients.

Open the bag and place the chicken or chicken pieces in the brine to completely submerge them.

Reseal the bag and place the bag in a baking pan. Transfer the baking pan to the refrigerator to keep the chicken safe while it brines.

Brine a whole chicken for four hours, but only leave chicken pieces in brine for 90 minutes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remove the chicken from the brine and barbecue as desired. Use this same technique for turkey before baking, roasting or barbecuing it. Add two whole, crushed cloves of garlic to the brine for more flavor. Substitute apple juice for the water in the brine if desired.

References

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