Make Your Meats Tender & Juicy

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Having trouble making your chicken tender and juicy?  I am going to let you in on my secret – try a brine.  Whenever I use a lean protein, I like to give my meat a bath in brine before grilling, roasting or searing. 

Brining is nothing new.  In fact, chefs have been brining lean meats for years with very juicy results.  Brining normally is something only chefs or serious foodies were likely to do, because the home cook didn’t know a whole lot about it, not to mention that most cookbooks didn’t include brining recipes.  I never understood this because brining is such an easy way to ensure your meat is tender – the secret is out! 

BrineHow long to brine your meat depends on the size of your protein.  Larger proteins, like a whole turkey, require much more time for the brine to do its thing – normally overnight gives you the best results.  Small piece should brine for a a couple of hours. 

Below is my recipe for a basic brine.  I make a large batch at a time and keep it an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When you’re ready to use the brine, you can also add dried herbs to the mixture for additional flavor. 


  • 5 cups light brown sugar
  • 5 cups kosher salt 


In a large bowl add ingredients and mix together.  Transfer to airtight container and store. 

When you’re ready to use your brine, follow the guidelines below to determine water to brine ratio: 

  • Chicken Breast = 1 cup of brine to 1 quart of water.  Brine for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  • Fish Fillets = 1 cup of brine to 1 pint of water.  Brine no more than 10 minutes.
  • Shrimp = 1 cup of brine to 1 pint of water.  Brine for at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
  • Pork Chops = 1 cup of brine to 1 quart of water.  Brine for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

Remember to keep all meat and fish refrigerated during brining.  Rinse them well afterwards to remove the excess salt and pat dry before cooking.



  1. Patrick Callahan says:

    good tip… thanks for posting!

  2. Terri Axtell says:

    I like to brine chicken wings. It plumps them up and makes them juicy. Good tip for sure.

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