In recent months I've been experimenting with brining poultry, rabbit and pork before cooking.
The idea is to create a cold brine using sugar, salt and a liquor (it could be water or something a bit more flavoursome like cider) and then immerse your meat in it in the fridge for anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days. This moisturises and flavours the meat and helps to prevent it drying out during cooking.
The results have been very good. So far I have brined our Christmas turkey (2 days bobbing around in a brine containing herbs, spices and few onions and a couple of lemons), pork chops (a cider based brine worked very well), a number of chickens (garlic, orange and lemon juice were added to a water based brine) and rabbit (a water based brine with plenty of Herbes de Provence added to infuse the meat).
I'll add some recipes for meals using brined meat and also some details of brining techniques for those that are interested.
1 part salt (kosher / rock salt is better than table salt)
1 part sugar (I use muscovado sugar and sometimes add molasses or honey)
6 parts liquid
I use measuring cups to get the proportions correct. A 250ml (full cup) measure gives enough brine for a large chicken. I used a 125ml (half cup) measure when brining pork chops.
Pop the salt and sugar in a non reactive bowl.
Add a third of the liquor (preferably boilinghot to make it easier to dissolve the sugar and salt)
Stir until all of the salt and sugar have dissolved.
Add the remaining liquor (preferably chilled) to the bowl and put the whole lot in the fridge to chill.
Once chilled, either add your meat to the pan or put it in ziplock bags and add the brine. Then leave in the fridge to do its magic.
Chops, rabbit and chicken are good when brined for between 2 and 6 hours. Larger pork joints or turkey can be brined for a day or two.
Once removed from the brine, the meat should be rinsed in cold water and patted dry before cooking normally.