How to Beer Brined Free Range Chicken:
The beer brining technique is different than simply marinating or salt curing a meat | poultry product. By submerging a protein (turkey | chicken | Cornish game hens) into this liquid medium, it allows the properties of osmosis do its work, resulting in flavoring the protein from the inside out. Crafting a liquid with the right balance of sodium, sugar and flavors (in this case Craft Beer with some herbs and vegetables) becomes a beer brine. The natural moisture in the protein is replaced with flavors of the beer brine that also hydrate the meat, increases the tenderness by denaturing the proteins, helps preserve the ingredient and provides a temperature cushion, preventing the main course from drying out. This beer brine also creates a juicy, tender and seasoned all the way through the protein. After you make this Beer Brined Free Range Chicken recipe, you’ll be making it all the time.
Cooking with Beer Suggestions: Beer Brine
This recipe for a beer brined chicken can be radically modified. Whether you are cooking with ale or cooking with lager, the flavor of the beer brine can be altered to highlight the flavor of the beer being used in this recipe | technique. A few things to think about when designing this recipe:
- Season and time of year
- What beer style you have to cook with: Ale or Lager
- How are you cooking this Beer Brined Chicken?
- Oven Roasting
- What you are serving to go with this beer brined chicken recipe
- What cuisine style you are incorporating into the meal | menu
Here are some suggestions add the essence of the different styles of beer into the food, echoing the flavors in the cuisine, along with the season:
Beer Brine – Spring:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Kellerweis Hefeweizen: Using this beer style, along with the lemon, thyme and bay leaves makes a wonderful Bavarian style Chicken.
Beer Brine – Summer:
Pale Ale: Use the hops to your advantage in this version of a beer brined chicken. With the herbal flavors coming from the hops (depending on the hops used in the brew), adding complimentary herbs will enhance this brine. Use the roasted beer brine chicken, chopped into a herbal salad, over a risotto (using pearled barley instead of rice) and add a herb pesto, or have at a Summer picnic.
Beer Brine – Fall:
Oktoberfest/Marzën lager: Substitute the lemon for an orange, the thyme for marjoram. Serve this with spatzel and use the pan drippings (combining with flour to make a roux) along with the last bottle of the six pack to make to make a gravy, garnishing with fresh herbs.
Bock Style Lager: With the wonderful rich melanoidin malt flavor found in this style of larger, it will mimic some of the roasting flavors that the oven will overlay on the chicken as it cooks. This flavor along with the beer brine will enhance the chicken with a wonderful complexity. Substitute the lemon for a tangerine (or orange), replace the thyme with sage, and caramelize the onion before adding all the other beer brine ingredients.
Brown Ale: Much like the Bock Style Lager, this beer choice for the brine will enhance the natural roasted chicken essence and create a perfect roasted bird!
Beer Brine – Winter:
Yields: This recipe makes enough Beer Brine for a 4 – 6 pound chicken.
Check out my Beer Brined Turkey recipe, for a larger crowd.