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Crisp, browned poultry skin after brining?


echarlto
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I've become a fan of brining my poultry before roasting. But, while the meat is excellent, the skin is often pale and wet. Should I rest the bird out of the brine in the fridge for a few hours to dry out the skin? How long? Should I crank up my oven temp above 425 to start? Roast it at 425 for more than 15-20 minutes? Tips for a newbie, anyone?

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I personally haven't tried this, but some people drying their poultry with a hair dryer to get rid of some surface moisture before popping it in the oven.

Chowhound Home Cooking Thread

(you'll probably find some of the other info in this thread useful, but the hair dryer suggestion is my favorite :biggrin: )

Usually, I just air-dry for a day or 2 in the fridge to get rid of surface moisture before roasting high temp to start, low-temp to finish for crispy skin....but haven't done so with a brined bird.

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Your question is a dilemna for many on the bbq competition circuit... getting that skin just right for a judge to bite through.

What we have done after brining is one of two things: apply an oil of some type to the skin (butter, olive oil, infused oil...) OR and in the category of believe-it-or-not, pour boiling water over the bird/chicken before cooking - the water helps "ready" for skin for cooking. Now for both of these ideas, there is the provision that the bird is not covered anyway... that would simply defeat the point of trying to crisp the outer layer.

Hope that helps,

Brian

www.houseofq.com

Brian Misko

House of Q - Competition BBQ

www.houseofq.com

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When I brine turkey and chicken, I always loosen the skin between the skin and the meat by sliding my fingers and hand around (before brining), then I rinse or soak the birds in fresh water, then ALWAYS dry uncovered in a fridge for 24 hours---srhcb's ditty is right on. If you have time, re-run your fingers under the skin once or twice during the drying period. The point is to reduce water in the skin (oil/fat is fine).

BBQ Bryan's trick about pouring boiling water (or dunking the birds in boiling water) also works (it's a step in making traditional Peking Duck), but I usually don't bother. Oiling the skin before roasting is also useful. I usually roast chickens in a rotisserie, which I find gets uniformly crispy skin. Ditto with small turkeys. Roasting in an oven, it's best to rotate the bird a few times: for example for a chicken, I roast (preheated 425 F) breast down 20 minutes, left side 15 minutes, right side 15 minutes, breast up 15-20 minutes.

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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apply an oil of some type to the skin (butter, olive oil, infused oil...)

I use rendered duck fat....

Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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ditto to most of the previous replies: air dry for 24 hours in the fridge after brining. I almost always coat with some olive oil before the bird hits the heat.

That said, I've just air dried my last thanksgiving turkey. We don't tend to eat the skin (probably because I smoke the meat and the skin is just too smokey), and I usually just dump it into the stock pot with the rest of the carcass to make stock.

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Basting with cooking juices helps.

As does salting the skin. Brining is one thing, but salting it lightly with fine salt helps.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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  • 11 months later...

I've been ecstatic about the flavor and texture of my roasted chickens lately. Been doing them at 500 degrees, with a little foil over the breasts for the first few minutes of cooking to get everything just so at the same time.

Lately I've been experimenting with brining, which has made a tasty, juicy bird even tastier and juicier. Only issue is that the brining seems to interfere with the even browing of the bird. What had previously been a dark, crisp, perfect brown is now more splotchy and freckled looking, and less crisp.

I've tried this:

-rinsing the bird after brining

-patting it dry with paper towel

-rubbing it with olive oil or butter, infused with garlic, and putting some of the infused oil or butter under the breast skin

my brine has about 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup salt, 5 crushed garlic cloves, and a bay leaf per quart. I brine for about 2 hours, the first hour in the fridge, the second on the counter to help the bird get to room termp. before going in the oven.

any thoughts?

Notes from the underbelly

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This year, I brined the turkey 2 days ahead of time, and pulled it the night before it was to be roasted.  Then, I let it air-dry on a rack in the refrigerator.  Beautiful result.

Thanks, that' interesting.

I generally do this for less ceremonial occasions than thanksgiving (like, say, dinner for me and my girlfriend) so I want to be able to do it all in an evening.

Does anyone have a scientific explanation for why brining effects browning? It might help with a solution.

Notes from the underbelly

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This year, I brined the turkey 2 days ahead of time, and pulled it the night before it was to be roasted.  Then, I let it air-dry on a rack in the refrigerator.  Beautiful result.

Thanks, that' interesting.

I generally do this for less ceremonial occasions than thanksgiving (like, say, dinner for me and my girlfriend) so I want to be able to do it all in an evening.

Does anyone have a scientific explanation for why brining effects browning? It might help with a solution.

McGee's got a pretty decent scientific explanation which may help.

"There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic." - Bourdain; interviewed on dcist.com
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i air-dry my birds after brining, too. it's the moisture absorbed by the skin that keeps it from browning uniformly. but now i've been dry-salting and getting much better results all around.

Interesting. I'd think dry salting would draw moisture out of the bird. what are you doing and what are the results?

And when you air dry after brining, how much time does it typically take?

Notes from the underbelly

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there was a thread on this recently. quickly, the salting draws the moisture from the bird, but then it is re-absorbed. it's a technique i learned from judy rodgers at zuni cafe.

air-drying a brined bird typically only takes a half-day or so. the refrigerator fan is very efficient that way.

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there was a thread on this recently. quickly, the salting draws the moisture from the bird, but then it is re-absorbed. it's a technique i learned from judy rodgers at zuni cafe.

air-drying a brined bird typically only takes a half-day or so. the refrigerator fan is very efficient that way.

I think this topic is the one that Russ was referring to.

I salt my birds, and have for years, since I read the Zuni Cafe cookbook. Marvelous results.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I've never had a problem getting a mahogany browned bird after brining. I do pat the whole thing dry before I rub it liberally with canola oil and then pop it in the oven. Regardless of the brining, the skin will dry quickly in the heat so it's not the brine that would be your problem.

Rockin the world since last week and partying like it's Tuesday night.

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I've never had a problem getting a mahogany browned bird after brining. I do pat the whole thing dry before I rub it liberally with canola oil and then pop it in the oven. Regardless of the brining, the skin will dry quickly in the heat so it's not the brine that would be your problem.

I'm not convinced of this; I have done several chickens where the only variable is brine.

There has been a significant difference in browning. The brined birds seem to cook slightly faster, but brown less and also brown unevenly.

It might be something specific to the way I'm doing it. The most time I've brined for is 2 hours. I'm considering dropping that to 1 and letting the bird sit out for the second hour.

Does anyone think there would be health risks associated with brining for an hour out of the fridge (with water the temp of cold tap water?) I realize one possible issue is the bird not being able to warm as close to room temperature when it's soaking in a half gallon of water.

Notes from the underbelly

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