There are several options for enhancing the flavors of your barbecue meats. You can use a dry rub marinade, a wet marinade, a brine, or a plain old injection.
In this article I am going to focus on brining. Morton Salt's web site offers products and tips for correct brining techniques for curing all type of food including meat, beef, poultry, fish, and game. However, in this article we're not talking about curing ham, sausage, or bacon. This article is all about using brines to make better bbq. I usually use plain old table salt.
Chicken lends itself nicely to salt water brining.
Some of my favorite brining recipes are for chicken from BBQ Porch).
Here's another chicken brine recipe courtesy of 3Men.com
And still another as published in Fine Cooking magazine.
I like to bbq dark meat like drumsticks and thighs; a brine adds a "deeper" flavor to the meat. Anyone can cook chicken and slap a bunch of sauce on it and call it bbq, but a brine adds an element of flavor that is hard to explain until you experience it.
I've found the less is more with brines. There is a tendancy for brines to become too salty if the meat is left in the solution too long.
Brines are simple to make and simple to use. They are one of the most powerful techniques you can use to add full-flavor to your bbq. Don't over do it. Begin by following the recipe exactly several times before attempting to develop your own signature brining ratios.
Some of the biggest names on the bbq contest circuit have switched from simple marinades for chicken; such as generic homemade Italian dressing, Newman's Own salad dressing, among other brands, to brining for their prize winning entries.
Read the previous article in the series