Chicken is relatively easy to cook; however, it is tricky to get right. This statement becomes more true when grilling or smoking the meat. It is very easy to undercook or overcook chicken, and that is why many people like to brine their chicken first, but what happens when you brine chicken in pickle juice?
Firstly, brining chicken adds a lot of flavor to the meat. It also keeps the chicken moist and even adds moisture, making the meat juicy. Because of the acidic properties of brine, it also slowly tenderizes the chicken. So, you end up with a flavorful, juicy, and soft grilled chicken.
The first thing I want to do is expand on my answer. After that, we will talk a little bit about what happens when you dry brine chicken just before answering a few more questions that I believe will help you have the best experience when brining chicken for the first time. So let’s get into it.
Brining Chicken In Pickle Juice: What Does It Do?
So many people throw old pickle juice away once they have finished the jar of Pickles. But, in reality, that pickle juice can be used to take an otherwise regular chicken and transform it into a meal that any cook would be proud of.
How exactly does it do this? Let’s take a look:
- Adds flavor: Remember, you can add spices to the pickle juice, keep reading for tips below, or try experimenting.
- Keeps and adds moisture: Be sure to create small slits with the knife in the chicken. Doing this will make sure that the brine reaches the core of the whole chicken or the individual pieces.
- Tenderizes the chicken: Pickle juice has acidic properties. This acidity slowly breaks down some of the tissue and makes the chicken softer. However, please do not leave it in there for too long because it can become mushy.
- Pickle juice is a healthy marinade: Instead of using off-the-shelf marinades filled with sugars and preservatives, why not use pickle juice? It has trace amounts of probiotics, contains very few sugars, and is overall healthy in moderation.
What Flavors Does Pickle Juice Add To The Chicken?
It is important to remember that brining raw chicken is an easy way to add flavor, but it is not the only way to do so. See, most of the flavors you get from pickle juice can be achieved by rubbing a few ingredients on the chicken and letting it sit for a while. Doing that is known as a dry brine.
However, the primary purpose of brining your chicken in pickle juice is to add those flavors while also adding moisture to the chicken.
A lot goes into making pickle juice, and all those flavors will transfer to the chicken while the chicken is submerged. These flavors include:
- Slight sweetness
- Pickled onion (Sometimes)
- Peppercorn (Sometimes)
Most pickle juice has onions and peppercorns that add to the flavor of the juice. However, if you buy Pickles from a farmers market or a small business, they might have their own secret recipe.
What Happens If You Brine Chicken In Pickle Juice For Too Long?
The acidic levels in pickle juice are higher than in most other marinades.
This is not a bad thing; it just means you should try not to keep your chicken in the brine for too long. It is recommended that you do not keep the chicken in pickle juice for longer than 24 hours.
That said, here’s what happens if you leave the chicken in for too long:
- The texture of the chicken will change: Pickle juice is great for tenderizing the chicken, almost too good. If you leave it in for longer than 24 hours, the pickle juice will break down the fibers of the chicken to a point where it becomes somewhat mushy.
- Your meat might go bad: Pickle juice has excellent preservative qualities, but that doesn’t translate too well two chicken. You should never leave your chicken in the fridge for longer than 48 hours as it might go off. The same rules apply if the chick is marinating and pickle juice.
- The pickle juice will overpower the chicken: Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing typically; the same can be said when leaving your chicken in pickle juice for too long. The flavors of the pickle juice will start to overpower the taste of the chicken. Remember, you are trying to add to and bring out the flavors of chicken rather than alter them completely.
What Happens To Your Body When You Brine Chicken In Pickle Juice?
Although pickle juice contains a high amount of vinegar, brining your meat in it is 100% safe. Although a few bodybuilders drink pickle juice, I do not recommend it as it has a robust flavor. Also, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
Pickle juice can act as an antioxidant that helps with cramps and muscle stiffness. So, when you brine your chicken, not only do you have the health benefits of chicken, which contains protein you also have all the health benefits of pickle juice.
The Best Way To Brine Chicken In Pickle Juice? 10 Easy Steps
If you plan on brining a whole chicken, you might need a large amount of pickle juice. So, most of the time, I recommend brining individual pieces, even if it means you have to cut the chicken while it is still raw. That out of the way here is a step by step guide highlighting my favorite way to brine chicken:
- Add half a fresh garlic clove.
- Add salt
- Sprinkle some black peppercorns in the pickle juice.
- Add some herbs.
- Cut the chicken into individual pieces (Unless you have enough pickle juice to cover a whole chicken)
- Place the chicken in the pickle juice using a pyrex dish.
- Leave everything in the fridge for 7 hours.
- Remove it from the fridge.
- Let everything sit on the counter for 1 or 2 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the juice and cook it, preferably on your backyard grill.
What Happens If You Brine Cooked Chicken In Pickle Juice?
There is almost no point in brining cooked chicken. All you will be doing is ruining the texture of the chicken as it will become flaky. Also, the brine will not soak into the chicken. Instead, it will change the flavor of the surface of the chicken.
You might also have the problem of the chicken tasting purely like pickle juice rather than having hints of it.
Some people put meat in brine once it has been cooked to preserve it; think of it as pickled chicken or picking meat.
Hopefully, that covers everything you need to know about what happens when you brine chicken in pickle juice. There are so many methods that you can use to prepare your chicken for the grill, and pickle juice is one of the most uncomplicated and cost-effective ways of doing so.
Next time before throwing some chicken on the grill or smoker, brine it some pickle juice. It’s is the only way you’ll know if you enjoy the flavor or not.
- Can You Brine Frozen Chicken?
- What’s The Difference Between A Brine And A Marinade?
- What Meats Should You Not Brine?