December 15, 2012


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. carries a wide assortment of brining needles and marinade injectors.

Modernist Cuisine Injection Brine

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  1. Jdblank December 26, 2012 Reply

    How do I sign up for Chow?

  2. Mark January 5, 2013 Reply

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

    • Sam Fahey-Burke January 15, 2013 Reply

      No. Unfortunately, calcium chloride doesn’t work as a substitution.

  3. Ken January 16, 2013 Reply

    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 January 16, 2013 Reply

      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.

  4. Davinder pal singh October 20, 2014 Reply

    Beside tastes your recipes enganse one’sknowledge is great

  5. Chris Greentree December 23, 2015 Reply

    I was shown this process at Bumbu Bali cooking School. I can say it was the best chicken I have ever cooked.

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