Brining Poultry

Why brine poultry? Injecting your bird with a solution of salt and water will improve texture and cut down on dryness, a common problem when we’re cooking big birds. Brining meat is distinct from curing it—here, we’re adding just enough salt to cause the muscle fibers to swell and absorb the injected water and to weaken the muscle fibers.

Remember, though, some poultry you buy at the supermarket—such as the iconic Butterball Thanksgiving turkey—gets brined at the factory, meaning you can skip this step. If you’re not sure whether you’ve selected a pre-treated bird, ask your butcher or check the packaging.

Here, we show you how to brine poultry via the injection method. You can also opt to immerse your bird in a brine; a higher salt-to-water ratio is typically used in that case.

Prepare the brine by dissolving the salt into the water.

Reserve cold until needed.

An injection syringe allows you to brine the breasts without puncturing the skin.

To make the injections, fill syringe with brine. Pull the skin back from the breast and inject directly into the meat. You’ll make four injections total—one at the top of each breast, one at the bottom. You should inject about 25 g of brine with each injection.

Optional: If you wish to brine the thighs as well as breasts, inject from inside the bird’s cavity, giving each thigh a 75 g shot.

Allow the brined meat to rest so it can equilibrate overnight for best results.

Brining Poultry

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