Tom About Food

Food for Thought

The Romans Called it Sultus

I believe when it comes to grilling chicken, if its not going to be BBQ, its gotta be pure. The taste of a moist piece of chicken breast when it hits your lips, the savory juiciness that makes you want to put aside all etiquette and tear into the chicken with bare hands, can only further prove there is a God.

Even atheist will agree with me after they try this simple preparation method that a naked chicken is the best.

The brine is the most basic and pure way to bring out the flavor of a meat while preparing it to go from in the fridge to on the grill/in the oven, to on the plate.

Brining, as wikipedia puts it, is: “Brining makes cooked meat moister by hydrating the cells of its muscle tissue before cooking, via the process of osmosis, and by allowing the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked, via the process of denaturation. The brine surrounding the cells has a higher concentration of salt than the fluid within the cells, but the cell fluid has a higher concentration of other solutes. This leads salt ions to enter the cell via diffusion. The increased salinity of the cell fluid causes the cell to absorb water from the brine via osmosis. The salt introduced into the cell also denatures its proteins. The proteins coagulate, forming a matrix which traps water molecules and holds them during cooking. This prevents the meat from drying out, or dehydrating.”

So what does that mean to us?

By simply soaking your food in salt water, you can keep it from drying out.

Do not be shy on the salt in the brine. Grab a bowl bigger then the meat you’re brining, put in luke warm water. Add a fair amount of salt, I prefer Kosher Salt. And add your meat. I find it works amazingly for chickens, cornish hens, pork and turkey.

Cover your brined meat, and throw back in the fridge a few hours. I prefer to leave it for a few days.

What other tips do I have for keeping meet moist?
When I cook a whole chicken or turkey, I first rub it down in kosher salt. Not too heavy, we don’t need to cause a coronary blockage, but covering the total fowl. I then put it on for about 15 minutes on a high heat, 475 degrees or more, to make the skin turn into a seal for the juices. Turn the heat down after the fifteen minutes and let the bird cook. I also put foil on the extremities to keep them from burning. And the added bonus, halfway through cooking whatever it is I am, I turn it over. Not always easy, especially with that turkey big enough to feed the whole fraternity house, but it gives a more even cook in my opinion.

To sum it all up, sometimes the best flavors for a meat is just the flavor the meat comes with. And one of the best ways to truly bring out those flavors is by soaking your meat in a simple salt solution called a brine.

Posted under: Education

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