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Jun 11, 2009 12:33 PM

How long can I brine a roaster?

I have a chicken brining away right now in the fridge. It's about a 4lb bird fully submerged in a brine solution of about 3.5 quarts filtered water, 6T salt, 3T sugar, and 4T apple cider vinegar.

I put it in on Tuesday. Will it be okay to brine it until Sunday, or is that too long? Turns out every night this week is getting taken away.


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  1. It's probably a bit long for quality .... but if it has been kept below 38F the entire time.... probably OK... I would have liked to see a bit more salt and acid in the brine though. Make certain you get it up to 165F when cooking it... and check well in several spots, with an instant read thermo.

    1. That is way too long. Just take the chicken out of the brine, rinse the bird off dry it and wrap it up in plastic and put it in the coldest part of your refrigerator until Sunday.

      1 Reply
      1. re: KTinNYC

        I agree it is way too long - the salt will have completely permeated the meat. The meat now being salted is partially preserved and will not go off in the remaining time. If you can spare a small piece, cut it off and cook it - say an oyster. You may need to soak the bird in fresh water to remove some salt. My guess is that it will need at least 12 hours.

        I agree with KT to dry it, but I would not wrap the bird, but leave it 'naked'. IfThe pellicle that forms helps protect it. Putting it in a plastic bag would be the worst.

        The recommended brining time for a 3 to 4lb bird is 8 to 12 hours according to my brining bible ... Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.

      2. conceivably the bird is water logged--if such a term makes sense applied to fowl. i'd be inclined to cook it right away since it might not make a reliably good sunday dinner. if it turns out to be tastey and to have a nice texture great--maybe chicken salad.

        (i've never brined a bird two days--maybe you're on to something. it is a great deal of time, though--even to soak in cold water. it'll be interesting to know the results--if you don't mind.)

        1. You may have invented the corned beef cooked chicken. Soak in cold water for an hour to draw off some of the salt. Rub with some pickling spice and braise in some beer!

          1. That is too long, but I wouldn't worry about it being too salty. Just put it on a rack over a sheet pan in the coldest part of your fridge and let the cold air circulate around it to dry it a little bit. I use this method to dry brine, instead of wet brining my poultry all the time and it makes a real juicy roaster. I usually leave it 24 - 36 hours.