Monday, July 31, 2006

Brining

I grilled up some chicken last night, and of course I had to brine it. The recipe for the brine was as follows:

1 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon chipotle Tabasco

Now, tamari is kind of like soy sauce, but a lot more. It's thicker, richer, has a deeper flavor, and way more salt. And believe me, soy sauce is salty enough as it is. If you weren't planning on using such a salty ingredient, you would dissolve a little salt in here instead. A couple of tablespoons of Kosher salt would be fine, but you would have to heat up the liquid in order to get the salt to dissolve. As it was, I probably should have added a little more salt to this. Problem is, then I would have to cool the brine again before using it.

Since my salt content was so low (for a brine), I figured a good amount of time would be about an hour to an hour and a half. I put two chicken breats in it and put it in the bottom of the fridge.
When it was time to grill, I pulled the meat out and tossed it in just enough oil to cover, along with a generous sprinkle of chile powder and smoked paprika. Why use liquid smoke and smoked parika if I'm going to be grilling it? Because I was using my indoor grill. I got some good looking grill marks going on the meat, and then finished it in the toaster oven. I cooked it to an internal temp of 162F, and then let it rest, which carried the heat up to 165F.

I also grilled up some pineapple chunks, just enough to get grill marks, and then sliced up the chicken. It was juicy and flavorful, just as expected. See what brining does? Since the spices I added will only affect the flavor on the outside, I used the brine to infuse flavors on the inside. I added the chicken and pineapple to some whole grain tortillas with some cheddar, and then closed it up like a quesadilla and grilled just long enough to melt the cheese. I served with some kind of Hawaiian-like BBQ sauce I had in the fridge, and a sprinkling of a little more cheese and smoked paprika.

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