Brine my chicken, of course! What else would I be doing at 3 am? Certainly not sleeping, you silly goose.
Now – what is brining, you ask? Well, it’s similar to marinating, where you basically soak something in a seasoning mix. It could be a liquid mixture or it could just be a mixture of herbs and spices. You let it sit on the meat for a few hours or even overnight. It makes things more flavorful.
Brining is basically salt and water that you sit your meat in to draw in the moisture. (There’s some big technical concept that happens called osmosis that occurs, but let’s not even get into that). It jusr makes whatever you’re cooking incredibly tender and moist, which is great since I have this horrible tendency to either ever so slightly undercook something, or grossly overcook it. As with a marinade you can also add in spices and herbs to season the brine.
I used to just marinate my chicken overnight or mix up some spices, rub them on, then shove it in the oven. Then I decided to explore brining. [Cue angelic epiphany music] I will never. Ever. EVER! not brine my chicken.
If you haven’t tried it – you should. Really. It’s so simple, even I can’t screw it up. I put my seasonings in the bowl, add some cold tap water, whisk it together to dissolve the salt, pour it over the chicken and let it sit in the fridge. When I’m ready to bake the chicken (I haven’t tried frying it or using a grill pan yet). I drain it, rinse off the brine (so it won’t be ridiculously salty) then I coat the chicken in some extra virgin olive oil, throw on a spice rub* (nothing specific – just whatever I have in the house at the time), lay it in the pan and into the oven it goes.
So, so good. Oh my gosh. Haven’t tried it on pork or on a steak, but I will eventually. And eventually – I may actually get some sleep too.
*As the chicken’s already been swimming in a saltwater brine, I use a minimum amount of salt on the rub. Had to learn this through trial and error.