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Feb 16, 2010 05:54 AM

Defrost and Brine Chicken at Same Time?

I brine my chicken whenever I have enough forethought. That means that I need to pull a piece from the freezer, defrost for at least 24 hours, and brine for somewhere around 2-5. I occasionally defrost in cold running water, but always do so with the food well sealed in plastic. Could I cut out the middle man here and just toss the frozen chicken right in the brine? I can't really figure out what the problems would be here and don't want to do anything too unsanitary. It seems I would have the added advantage of a quicker defrost with the brining occurring at the same time.

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  1. If you weren't going to brine and just wanted to add a whole lot of flavor--I found (to my complete surprise) that an absolutely frozen chicken breast dropped into simmering water with carrot, cel, onion, bay leaf, a little olive oil, fresh thyme and parsley came out incredibly tender and flavorful (I added salt at the end) and of course had loads of stock for chicken soup, chicken pot pie, and risotto. (add extra bones if you have them in the freezer for richer stock.)

    1. Yes, you can brine and defrost at the same time. I usually let the meat spend at least half of the time in the fridge, usually toward the end when it's softening up. I'm pretty sure the salt helps to keep bacteria at bay, but it doesn't hurt to be careful.

      1. Yes, you can, but give the chicken some time in the brine once it thaws so that it absorbs all the flavor. I usually brine chicken for 12 hours so if you're thawing too, add a little extra time. My favorite brine is homemade and super easy with lots of bay leaves, garlic, lemon and of course salt. It's from Thomas Keller's ad Hoc at home. Find the recipe here: Give it a try!

        1. I do this all the time with great results!