When it comes to brining meats, most of us first think of brining whole turkeys for Thanksgiving. But Kimberly Smith, a Certified Whole30 Coach, shared with us her method for brining other cuts of meat. Just like with Thanksgiving turkey, it is a great way to get juicy and delicious pork and chicken. Kimberly keeps it really simple by just using salt and water to make her brine, and then brines for a minimum of 6 hours and as long as 3 days.
Incorporating brining into your regular meal prep is a good way to make dinners during the week fast and easy. For example, on Sunday defrost the cuts you want to cook later in the week--like boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless pork chops--then add them to a Ziplock bag with the brine and put them in the fridge until you are ready to cook. When it's time to start dinner, pull out what you want, transfer the meat to a plate, pat each piece dry (this step is especially important), add a light drizzle of oil, and any seasoning; though you will not need to add salt since it's already in the brine.
Then, just use your usual cooking method of choice. You can grill, pan sear, air fry, or oven roast. Cooking times vary so always use a meat thermometer to ensure the meat is done to you liking.
For pork, use 1 tablespoon salt and 3 cups warm water. Once the salt is dissolved and your meat is defrosted, add the meat to the brining liquid.
For chicken, use 1 tablespoon salt and 4 cups warm water. Once the salt is dissolved and your meat is defrosted, add the meat to the brining liquid.
- Create brine (1T salt with 3C water for pork, 1T salt, 4C water for chicken) Make sure salt is dissolved in water
- Place your meat in brine, refrigerate for 6 hours up to 3 days
- Remove meat from brine, pat dry
- Season meat, you don’t need to add more salt (optional)
- Drizzle meat with a little oil (Kimberly uses light olive oil or avocado oil)
Cook meat with the method of your choosing but to make sure everything is cooked perfectly, always cook to internal temperature. For chicken we recommend an internal temperature of 165°F and for pork 145°F.