How to Brine a Chicken (or okay, a turkey)

It’s super easy to brine a chicken or turkey—just mix up a brine, soak, pat dry, roast. Perfect for a free-range bird! Why did I wait so long!  It’s super easy to brine a chicken or turkey—just mix up a brine, soak, pat dry, roast. Perfect for a free-range bird! Why did I wait so long!  

Brining turkey is in!  How many of you are doing it this Thanksgiving?  But if a turkey is too much food, or if you just want to start small, did you know you can brine a chicken?  

Brining something has been on my list for ages.  You see we eat mostly local, natural food which of course includes our meats.  And while I absolutely love a nice roasted free-range hen, once in a while I long for the herbed-up flavor of a classic rotisserie chicken.  Could I have that with a basic farm bird? 

I got a little push on testing this when the folks from Fire & Flavor sent me some of their merchandise.  There make beautiful spice rubs, cedar wraps, tons of stuff for grilling and (drum roll here) a turkey brining kit!  

Out of the oven

I got a little push on answering this when the folks from Fire & Flavor sent me some of their merchandise.  There make beautiful spice rubs, cedar wraps, lots of stuff for grilling and (drum roll here)… a turkey brining kit! 

Check out their website if you want some motivation to Grill. All. Winter. (Yes, I do, even in Wisconsin 🙂 )

Fire & Flavor Merchandise

Great grilling and more from Fire & Flavor!

Happily, all of the ingredients in the Fire & Flavor brine are natural.  Things I can actually pronounce.  Like rosemary.  And pink peppercorns.  ‘Cause who would want to soak a beautiful natural bird in a chemical brine?  

ingredient list

All natural

I planned to look for a turkey to test this, but when I read that you could halve the kit for two smaller turkeys, the wheels started to turn!  Why couldn’t I brine a chicken?  I made sure I got a large bird (6 lb) that had nothing added to give the brine a fair trial. 

It’s super easy to brine a chicken or turkey—just mix up a brine, soak, pat dry, roast. Perfect for a free-range bird! Why did I wait so long!  

Good with wine 

The kit included a bag to hold the chicken and brine but it fit perfectly in my small stockpot so I decided to use that. I reduced the herb mixture, water and ice to 1/3 since they were for up to a 25 lb turkey and I had a 6 lb chicken. 

I started with 2/3 cup of the brining herbs, heated part of the water with the herbs until the salt dissolved, then added the remaining water and 2/3 quart of ice.  Then I soaked the bird, covered by the pan lid, in the refrigerator for 6 hours (1 hour x # of pounds).  

Drained brined bird

Drained brined bird

After soaking, I drained it, patted it dry, and quick roasted at 425 for a little over an hour until the breast reached 165F (you can slow roast at 325F as well, but I’m not that patient). 

veggies under chicken

Roasting vegetables under chicken = complete meal

To help make it a complete meal, I tossed some potatoes and vegetables under the bird to roast along with it. 

Happy cat

Delicious

The results were delicious with a beautiful herb flavor and super tender meat.  And the cat was seriously impressed with the scraps.

I was amazed at how easy it was to brine a chicken—especially with all the herbs pre-measured!  No additional work other than a few minutes to mix the brine. I can’t wait to do this again! 

I got a little push on testing this when the folks from Fire & Flavor sent me some of their merchandise.  There make beautiful spice rubs, cedar wraps, tons of stuff for grilling and (drum roll here) a turkey brining kit!  

Brined chicken served!

On an interesting side note, I always make stock after I roast a chicken.  I deglaze my roasting pan, then take the juices, bones and skin and boil.  In the end, the flavor of the brine infused the broth as well and turned it into one of the best “leftovers” stocks I’ve ever made! 

Soup for the weekend! Thanks Fire & Flavor!  

I got a little push on testing this when the folks from Fire & Flavor sent me some of their merchandise.  There make beautiful spice rubs, cedar wraps, tons of stuff for grilling and (drum roll here) a turkey brining kit!  

Mmm!

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3 thoughts on “How to Brine a Chicken (or okay, a turkey)

  1. David

    I have been a big fan of brining for several years now! Welcome to the club! I use brines most for pork chops, but sometimes for chicken. One thing I can’t abide – and I imagine you are like me – is buying a pre-brined bird. Too much salt, the wrong salt, etc…

    I am fascinated by the cedar wraps… might have to order some!

    1. Inger Post author

      Sounds delicious for the pork chops David–perhaps that will be my next experiment! And yes, I also don’t buy pre-brined birds; just feels risky to me (plus most of my meats are right off the farm).

  2. Thao @ In Good Flavor

    This chicken looks so good!! I can appreciate that you use all natural brine, because we certainly don’t need more chemicals in our bodies. I love how you make your stock. It sounds SO flavorful!

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