It seems for most, the thought of a poultry brine only seems to come to mind during Thanksgiving. Sure a brine does wonders for a turkey, yet it has the same effect on chicken, cornish hens and all types of poultry. This citrus chicken brine is a great way to start. If you only use a poultry brine for your turkey, you’re missing out on many tasty chicken dinners.
Try this chicken brine once and you’ll be convinced.
Many store bought poultry products are treated at the processing plant with “flavor enhancers”, which is a brine. This recipe takes that into consideration by using less salt, known as a light brine. It uses 1/2 cup of salt to each gallon of water rather than a cup of salt, which is the normal salt used in traditional brines. If you are sure that your poultry has not been treated, double the salt and granulated sugar.
If you’re new to meat brines, read “How to Brine Chicken” to get started. Then come back and see what you think of this citrus chicken brine.
- 4 cups water
- 2 cup apple juice
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup lime juice
- 1 orange, cut into slices
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1 teaspoon Hungarian or smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- In a 3-quart pot, add the 4 cups of water, salt, sugar, brown sugar, garlic, sage, paprika and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the salt and sugars are completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Once the mixture has cooled, mix remaining water, juices in plastic or glass bowl.
- Completely submerge the poultry in the solution. A zip lock storage bag works well for smaller pieces like breasts. Cover and refrigerate for an hour per pound.
- Once finished, discard the brine and pat dry with paper towels. If using the stronger salt solution, rinse the meat with fresh water before drying. If you prefer crispy skin, allow the meat to dry overnight, uncovered in the refrigerator.
- Apply a meat rub and you’re ready to start cooking.