Most people over cook meat…chicken is no different. I’ll admit to cooking just a “few extra minutes” to make sure it’s cooked through. So how do you get juicy tender meat but still make sure it’s cooked? Brine. Now this is not marinade. This is a way to get the meat to hold the moisture as long as possible, so those few extra minutes don’t ruin your dinner. If you are interested in why and how it works, check out Cook’s Illustrated’ simple overview. http://www.cooksillustrated.com/howto/print/detail.asp?docid=1630
There are A LOT of brine recipes. This is the one we like. Adjust as your taste requires.
You can make a gallon of this, and use only what you need.
1/2 cup sugar (brown sugar if you like a more caramel taste)
1 cup salt
1 gallon water
whatever seasonings you like–garlic (5 crushed cloves or 1 tbsp powder), black pepper ( 1 tbsp ground or peppercorns), oregano, rosemary, basil, etc.
Warm water to just below a boil, add salt, sugar, and seasonings and stir until dissolved. Allow to cool. Place meat in a container you can cover. Either a lid, plastic wrap, or plate. Add enough brine to cover meat. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. When you are ready to cook, remove from container, pat dry and prepare as you like. If you don’t want it as salty, you can give it a quick rinse.