Sunday, March 25, 2007

Citrus-Brined Boneless Chicken Breasts

Well, I decided to break away from Tarantino's cookbook a little on my next brining recipe. The results were mixed. Overall the chicken was good, but it was a little salty and not quite citrusy enough. I'll tell you what I did, then at the end I'll tell you what I plan to do to fix it.

The ingredients

  • Two quarts of water
  • 1/2 cup of kosher salt
  • The zest and juice of two oranges, two lemons, and two limes. These made about a cup and a half of juice
  • 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 3 spring onions (including greens)
  • handfull of cilantro
I forgot the salt until after I took the pic

This is a handy little zester that I stole from my wife. Only make one pass over the fruit. You want the oil out of the skin, not the white stuff underneath.

You can see that this made a lot of brine for the 6 big chicken breasts that I brined. You can cut the recipe or save some of it for later if you don't need it all. Bring the brine to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Cool to room temp, then move to the fridge and cool to 40 deg. I brined these breasts for about 5 and a half hours.

Set up your grill for direct cooking. For boneless breasts I usually put one thick layer of coals so I can cook em' hot and fast. After reading a post on The Smoke Ring I was worried about them being too salty, so I rinsed them, patted them dry, and added some fresh cracked pepper before putting them on the grill.

The finished product!! Like I said, they were good, but not great. They were a little two salty and the other ingredients didn't come thru as well as the other brines I have tried. They were extremely juicy. The texture was good, so I don't think I grossly over brined them.

The fix-- I'm going to try this again because I really like the flavors attached and I think they will work great for boneless chicken. Next time I'm going to add one each of the fruits and I'm going to double the onion, cilantro, and brown sugar. I'm also going to run all of the solid ingredients thru the food processor similar to the other chicken brine I used to release all those flavors better. Then I'm going to brine them a maximum of 3 hours to cut down on the saltiness. I'll let you know how it works.

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