Injection-Brining

At its best, roast chicken can be one of the world’s greatest culinary achievements. Brown, crispy skin covers tender, juicy meat: the combination of flavors and textures is simply amazing. Yet the perfect roast chicken is nearly impossible to achieve in practice. The temperature required to brown and crisp the skin is so high that it leaves the meat underneath scorched and dry. The dark thigh and leg meat similarly need higher heat than is ideal for the white breast meat. Brining the chicken in salt water can help the delicate breast meat retain more juice at higher temperatures, but the brine has the same effect on the skin, which then ends up unpleasantly chewy.

But we have a solution. In Modernist Cuisine at Home, we show you how you can inject brine into your poultry to speed up the process, ensure even brining, and keep the skin dry so that it roasts to a crispy, golden brown.

For the complete Roast Chicken recipe and other brining variations, see page 238 of Modernist Cuisine at Home.
Amazon.com carries a wide assortment of brining needles and marinade injectors.

6 Responses to “Injection-Brining”

  1. Jdblank says:

    How do I sign up for Chow?

  2. Mark says:

    Since it seems like the Chloride ions are where the magic happens, would Calcium Chloride work, instead of Salt, while not adding any Sodium?

  3. Ken says:

    In traditional brining, the brine is rinsed away, and only the absorbed salt is left in the meat. With injected brining, wouldn’t *all* the salt be retained meaning that sodium consumption is going to be much higher, as compared to a bird that is brined, and then rinsed? Thanks.

    • Judy says:

      Hi Ken,

      Injection-brining doesn’t make the food much saltier. We go into this a little more in MC in our section on brines and cures, but basically, either way, meat should absorb about 0.5%-1% of its weight in salt. In our recipe, that is the same amount that the meat gets, it’s just injected into the meat rather than being immersed into a large vat of brine.

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