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