Brining Method from Louisiana Chef Extraordinaire, John Folse

Brining is a pretreatment in which the chicken is placed in a salt water solution known as brine. This produces a moist and well-seasoned bird. Normally, meat loses about 30 percent of its weight during cooking, but if you brine it first, you can reduce the moisture loss by as little as 15 percent. Additionally, brining enhances juiciness. The muscle fibers absorb the flavored liquid during the brining period. Some of this liquid will get lost during cooking, but since the meat is in a sense more juicy at the start of cooking, it ends up much juicier and flavorful. I recommend brining in two plastic trash bags, one inside the other, to hold the chicken and brine. I then place the bags in a large metal or ceramic bowl. Once the brine is added, I seal the bag with a wire tie and place in the bottom of a refrigerator, shaking the bag every couple hours. You may also place the bird in a small ice chest, breast down, covering with the brine. If using the ice chest method, chill the brine to approximately 40°F, and then add 5–6 ice packs to maintain temperature overnight. A smaller bird works best when brining.
Ingredients for Brine:
1 chicken fryer
1 gallon cold water
½ cup kosher salt
OR 1 cup table salt
¼ cup brown sugar
2 bay leaves, crushed
½ tbsp dried thyme
½ tbsp dried basil
½ tbsp dried sage
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp black pepper
Begin brining 1 day prior to cooking. Use a fresh chicken or other bird, completely thawed. NOTE: Check label to ensure that bird has not been pre-injected with salt or other flavorings, otherwise it will be overseasoned. Wash bird completely. In a large stockpot, dissolve salt in 1 gallon cold water. Add brown sugar, and stir until completely dissolved. Add bay leaves, thyme, basil, sage, granulated garlic and pepper. Place 2 trash bags inside of a large metal bowl, and place chicken breast down in bags. Add brine mixture, tie bags with wire ties, and place in bottom of refrigerator. Chill 12–14 hours. NOTE: If desired, cut chill time in half by doubling all ingredients except water. Remove chicken from brine, rinse well inside and out under cold running water. Completely dry using paper towels.
Ingredients for Chicken:
vegetable oil for frying
salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup flour
Cut chicken into 8 serving pieces. Heat vegetable oil in a homestyle deep fryer such as a FryDaddy®. Season chicken and flour separately with salt and pepper. In a gallon-size plastic zipper bag, place seasoned flour and 2 pieces of chicken. Seal bag and shake to coat each piece of chicken completely. Remove chicken, and repeat process with remaining pieces. Fry chicken, a few pieces at a time, until golden brown. Drain chicken on a paper towel-lined plate over a large bowl of hot water.

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