Brining chicken adds moisture to the chicken. The brine helps prevent it from drying out when you cook it. The result is a delicious, moist and juicy chicken.
Water, salt, and sugar are the three main ingredients of most chicken brines. The amount of salt and sugar in relation to the amount of water is where most recipes differ. Beyond salt and sugar, you can add an infinite combination of ingredients that will enhance the flavor of your chicken. Herbs and spices, citrus fruit and juice, garlic and onion, the list goes on and on.
Below is one combination of ingredients I employ when brining chicken. The brine does its work to add a little moisture to the chicken. The salt and sugar mixed with lemon and honey give the chicken a nice bright flavor.
Once brined, I grill, bake or fry the chicken as desired.
The chicken can be marinated beyond brining, if desired. For example, a half an hour marinating in a Greek inspired olive oil, lemon, and oregano based marinade will coat the surface with a rich flavor and make the chicken perfect for creating delicious moist and tender chicken souvlaki.
Enough to cover a whole chicken or a chicken broken down into pieces, the brine should be brought to room temperature or chilled in the refrigerator before adding chicken. A stockpot works well to hold brining chicken, sealable plastic bags also work very well.
Chicken brine prepared from water, sea salt, sugar, honey, bay leaves, fresh ground black pepper, lemon, and garlic.
- 6 cups water
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 fresh lemon</li>
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Add water, sea salt, sugar, honey, bay leaves, and fresh ground black pepper to stock pot.
- Slice lemon in half. Squeeze juice into brine mixture. Toss in the squeezed lemon halves.
- Crush and finely chop the garlic clove. Add the garlic to the brine.
- Bring the brine to a boil over medium high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and gently simmer until the salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Remove the brine from the stovetop and cool to room temperature, approximately an hour or two. Brine can be placed in the refrigerator to cool even further.
- Add chicken to cold brine and place in refrigerator up to 24 hours.
- Remove chicken pieces from brine, rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Discard brine.
This is a basic beer batter recipe. It works well with chicken and fish. It is my go to recipe for preparing chicken strip appetizers, fish or chicken tacos, and even for deep-frying chunks of chicken or fish and using in stir fries.
My original recipe called for Michelob beer, which works very well. Today I mainly use porter. The dark beer has less carbonation than ales, and the porter imparts a little extra flavor. You can use any beer you have on hand.
Beer Battered Chicken
Chicken dipped in beer batter prepared from beer, all-purpose flour, and egg whites. Prepared chicken is deep-fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside. Served with dipping sauce.
- 12 ounces beer
- 2 egg whites, beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (brining optional)
- Pour the beer into a large bowl. Stir in the egg whites, salt, sugar, baking powder, and all-purpose flour. Let batter rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.
- Slice each boneless skinless chicken breast lengthwise into 4 even strips, about 1/2-inch in width.
- Heat deep-fryer to 375 degrees F.
- Using tongs, dip chicken breast strips in beer batter. Let excess drip off. Place battered chicken strips in deep-fryer. Do not over crowd deep-fryer.
- Fry chicken breasts until golden brown and cooked through, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
- Drain on paper towels. Place chicken on rack placed over baking sheet until all chicken is finished deep-frying.
- Keep chicken warm in 200 degree F oven if necessary or desired.
This beer batter is ideally suited for deep-frying salmon, halibut, grouper, cod or other hearty fish that will hold up when deep-fried.
Beer battered chicken or fish is perfect for serving in tacos; or beside hot fries and the dipping sauce of your choice.