Monday, January 9, 2012

During the peculiar winter "heat wave" we've had here in the U.S. midwest, the Lonesome Road grill was lit, on New Year's Eve in fact. Not that the air temperature was still warm by the time the coals were ready, and so we froze in the early dusk and evening anyway. Still, it was a nice change of pace to have a smoky meal grilled outdoors in the dead of winter. Grilling seemed so "everyday" in the summer, even almost a little repetitive. But as the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this brined barbecued chicken was most welcome on our plates that night!

In the past, I've always been somewhat dissatisfied with the results of brining meats. Every recipe seemed much too salty. Even though the meat was always nice and juicy, it did not compensate for the overbearing saltiness. With this recipe, I adjusted both the amount of salt used in the brine and the amount of time that the chicken spent in the brine. For the first time, I was happy with the results! Juicy and not too salty, flavorful but not overpowering. Perfect! As the final touch, I added an interesting barbecue sauce at the end of grilling; both recipes are below:

The Brining Solution

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup hot water

1-1/2 cups cold water

1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

1/2 small onion, sliced

1 clove garlic, sliced

Directions: Dissolve the salt and sugar in the hot water and allow to cool slightly. Add the cold water and remaining ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag. Place chicken breasts in the bag of brine and reseal. Place the bag in a large casserole dish for good measure against leakage. Brine in the refrigerator for no more than 2 or 3 hours, then prepare for grilling or baking. Discard brine. This recipe makes enough brine for four large bone-in split chicken breasts.

For The Sauce, combine:

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons dry sherry

2 tablespoons tomato ketchup

2 tablespoons soy or tamari sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (like Colman's)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)

Salt to taste

Use to baste on grilled meats during the final 15 to 20 minutes of cooking. Recipe makes about one cup of sauce.


Pamela Bates of Mercantile Muse said...

looks delicious! haven't tried brining. not sure why. may have to put it on the to do list.

found you via etsy blog were ahead of me :)

happy to meet you!~

Lonesome Road Studio said...

Thanks Pamela! This was the first really good experience I've had with brining, I'm glad I tweaked it a bit and gave it another try. Nice to meet you too!


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