Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host. Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!
A while back, one November, Food Network aired a special prior to Thanksgiving, a sort of Q&A on the how- to's of the big meal. Of course, turkey brought in major mention, and in tow came the discussion on the needs and basics of brining that turkey. After the viewing, which I later went on to bookmark twice, the calling to brine has always been first up in prepping good bird. So start Thanksgiving eve, my multi gallon bird bath begins. Which, by the way started out in a black double lined trash bag (since then I have graduated to a pot the size of a medium ground well, used only and solely for the purpose), replete with apple cider, salt handfuls, two sugars, a few cloves and bulbous heads of garlic. Almost everything but the kitchen sink( if need be, too), goes into saturating the day's star.
It was from there, my brine trials continued, extending into beloved fryer recipes, as well. The spicy fried chicken you most definitely should check out here is always moist because of it's overnight buttermilk soak.
Knowing the secret of brine made me feel that cut above, where this excellent way of preparing meats was my secret and not yours, ha, ha and ha. Well, the month's challenge on Daring Kitchen changed all that, eye opener it was, clearing my Pooterish mind of incorrect brining after effects, still yet, opening up an enlightening avenue, of the what, the where, the how much and how longs of a good soak. You see, people there is a whole science behind moist, roasted food, and it must be taken seriously.
Audax says, "Brining works in accordance with two principles, called diffusion and osmosis, these two principles like to keep things in equilibrium (or in stable balance). When brining a fowl for example, there is a greater concentration of salt and sugar outside of the fowl (in the brine) than inside the fowl (in the cells that make up its flesh). The law of diffusion states that the salt and sugar will naturally flow from the area of greater concentration (the brine) to lesser concentration (the cells). There is also a greater concentration of water, so to speak, outside of the fowl than inside. Here, too, the water will naturally flow from the area of greater concentration (the brine) to lesser concentration (the cells). When water moves in this fashion, the process is called osmosis. Once inside the cells, the salt and, to a lesser extent, the sugar causes the cell proteins to unravel, or denature."
Those proteins that unravel drastically change your roasting results, be it poultry, red meat, fish or other, all for the better.
In other words, this birdie's getting punch drunk. Where it loses it's natural qualities and it's whole structure gets a reboot.
So, the song that starts on the DC challenge page, I play over to you. Chirrup buddies, you are one step away from being the skilled roaster, having never to associate with unsucculent, dried up substance again.
Brining Times~Meats, seafood, vegetables, nuts or seeds can all be brined. The length of time meat soaks in a flavour brine depends on the type of meat and its size, as well as the amount of salt used in the brine—the saltier the brine mixture, the shorter the soaking time. Kosher salt and table salt are the most common salts used in brining. Generally brining takes from ½ hour to 2 days.
The secret of the air dry~Once brined and out, you must air dry, chicken( in this case). Since I was going in for my a spice rub, I dried the whole parts and inside the cavity off with paper towels, which I suggest you do before applying anything over it's skin for seasoning.
Roasting Tips~Roasting can take up to 2 hours for most pieces of meat, for large poultry 6-7 hours.When brined cuts of meat are roasted, the skin needs to browned at first at a hotter temperature. Then the oven gets lowered to reduce moisture loss in the roasted food. It is important to rest (loosely covered in foil) your roast so that the moisture can redistribute itself in the meat, it greatly adds to the final tenderness of the cooked product.
I nearly tripled my new found all purpose brine to dunk my whole chicken, tossed in smashed heads of garlic, an inch of ginger, peppercorns, of course, also the couple of bay leaves.
The idea to do this lovely style of chicken, bearing the stamp of my homestate Kerala's Northern regions, came in part from the one episode prior, in trying my hand at this self same recipe, eons ago. A desperate effort that came to epic fail results. Ever since, I wanted to revisit with a better game plan in hand. Here, I have finally arrived.
All Purpose Brine~
- 4 c of cold water
- ¼ c table salt or ½ cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
- optional 2 tbsp sugar
- optional 3-4 peppercorns, a few springs of herbs, a garlic clove or two, a knob of ginger etc.