Brining Guidelines

Brining meat is the way to ensure that it remains tender and moist after roasting, grilling or smoking. Soaking meat in a solution of salt and water or rubbing the meat with salt and then allowing it to sit for several hours is the key to moist and tender meat. Wine, vinegar, and other acidic marinades are poor choices, as they make the outside of the meat mushy. The following table provides general guidelines for brining. The addition of sugar enhances the browning reactions.

ChickenCold WaterTable SaltSugarTime
1 whole chicken (~4 pounds)2 quarts1/2 cup1/2 cup1/2 to 1 hour
2 whole chickens (~4 pounds each)2 quarts1 cup1 cup1/2 to 1 hour
4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces 2 quarts1/2 cup1/2 cup1/2 to 1 hour
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 lbs total)2 quarts1/4 cup1/4 cup1/2 to 1 hour
1 turkey (12 to 17 pounds)2 gallons1 cupomit6 to 12 hours
1 turkey (18 to 24 pounds)3 gallons1 1/2 cupsomit6 to 12 hours
1 bone-in turkey breast (6 to 8 pounds)1 gallon1/2 cupomit3 to 6 hours
4 bone-in rib pork chops, 1 inch thick1 1/2 quarts3 tablespoons3 tablespoons1 hour
1 pork roast (3 to 6 pounds)2 quarts1/4 cup1/4 cup1 1/2 to 2 hours