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Brining boneless chicken: how much is too much?

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Help! I'm having a barbecue tomorrow and want to get my brining out of the way tonight, if possible. Will more than 12 hours affect the texture of the chicken? (Stupid me for wanting to have a healthy option without it tasting like cardboard.)

Any help would be MUCH appreciated. Happy Memorial Day!

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  1. Brining for that long is likely to make your chicken way too salty and probably too watery - long brines in more dilute solutions are fine for turkeys, though. This quick brine (probably from Cooks Illustrated, not sure) takes 30 minutes: 2.5 qts. cold water mixed with either 1.5 cups kosher OR .75 cups regular salt. Another CI brine, for a large chicken, calls for 2 hours in 1 gal. cold water, 1.5 c regular salt, 1.5 c sugar, cleaned and crushed cloves from 2 heads of garlic, and 6 crumbled bay leaves. Since the salt-to-water ratios are similar, I'm guessing you could go up to 2 hours on the first brine as well. I always find it takes forever for the sugar and either type of salt to dissolve in cold water, so I measure a cup or two and boil it, stirring in the salt and sugar until dissolved, and letting the smaller amount cool before mixing with the rest of the water. If I were you, I would prepare the salt water the night before and refrigerate it. If you are adding stuff like garlic to your brine, do that right before you add the meat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      That's perfect. I'll definitely do it all tomorrow ... and use some of your other suggestions when I won't have 50 people over. Thanks!!!