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?
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:
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!
In a medium pot, over high heat, add the water, salt, sugar, onion, lemon, garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors together, dissolving the salt and sugar. Turn off the heat and let the brine cool for 20 minutes, then add in the ice and beer of choice. Mix the ingredients together and take the temperature of the finished brine. A thermometer should read 40°F | 4°C or lower in order to be safe to use. If it is warmer, place the pot into a refrigerator/kegerator until 40°F | 4°C is reached.
Beer Brining the Chicken Directions:
Take the fresh chicken and remove it from its package in a large sink. Remove the neck, gizzards and liver, setting aside (for stock or gravy). Rinse the bird under cold water, turning the bird over a few times, washing any blood from the cavity and under the neck flap. Remove any remaining quills from the skin, if visible. Remove any excess fat from around the inside cavity. Turn off the water and lightly dry the chicken off with paper towels.
Use either a large 2 gallon container or 2 gallon Ziplock bag and add the chicken, then top off with the cooled beer brine. Place in the refrigerator or in an iced cooler for 12 - 24 hours.
Oven Roasted Beer Brined Chicken Directions:
Remove the chicken from the brine, pat dry with paper towels, then place onto a large plate. Discard the beer brine as it has done its job and shouldn’t be re-used. While the chicken rests and warms to room temperature, Preheat the oven to 475°F | 246°C, using a convection roast setting if your oven has this setting. As the oven is warming, place a large sauté pan (with oven proof handle), cast iron skillet or roasting pan fitted with a rack into the oven. Once the oven set to the roasting temperature, truss the chicken with kitchen twine (the technique on how to truss a chicken is below). Pat the chicken dry on last time with paper towels and lightly season the bird with salt and freshly cracked black peppercorns.
Remove the pan from the oven. Add the fat of choice (I love the flavor of goose/duck fat, but any fat or oil can be used) into the hot pan. Once it has melted add the trussed chicken back side down. Tilt the pan, so the fat pools to one side and using the spoon, ladle the hot fat over the breasts/leg/thighs, coating in the chicken in the fat. Then place the chicken into the center of the oven.
Roast the chicken until the internal temperature is 160°F | 71°C, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let the chicken rest for 15 minutes. This will allow for any carry over temperature (the chicken will continue to cook even outside the oven, bringing the chicken to a safe 165°F | 74°C, due to the high heat cooking) and let the juices re-distribute through the muscles. Now the chicken can be carved, or used as needed.
More Beer Brine Recipes:
Allagash Tripel and Tangerine Beer Brined Turkey
Beer Brined Turkey
Dawn of the Red Polynesian Inspired Beer Brined Turkey
Dogfish Head - Indian Brown Ale Beer Brine Turkey
Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale (DBA) Beer Brined Turkey
Hawaiian Pineapple Mana Wheat Beer Brined Turkey
Moroccan Style Beer Brined Turkey
Oaxacan-Style Beer Brine Turkey
Rogue Ales John John Juniper Pale Ale Beer Brine for Turkey
Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Beer Brine Turkey