Never eat dry flavorless chicken again. With my Wine Brined Grilled Chicken recipe boneless skinless chicken breasts magically become super flavorful and juicy! The trick is soaking them in a salt and wine brine before grilling. And they’re gluten free!
Have you ever brined chicken? If not, I’m just going to say it, you are missing out! Brining may sound intimidating, or messy, or best left to the professionals, but I want to assure you that it is really not hard at all. Plus it makes simple grilled chicken breast so incredibly juicy. So far from boring! You’ll wonder why you waited so long to try it. Forealz, there is nothing to be afraid of.
Brine Q and A
What is Brine? Simply put, brine is a salt water solution that chicken, other poultry or meat soak in before cooking. Often brine is made with sugar too. Brines are also commonly flavored with juices, herbs and spices for added flavor. Additionally brine is used to preserve jarred foods, like olives and is used in smoking and curing meats to prevent spoilage.
How is a brine different from a marinade? They are not as intensely strong as a marinade, and don’t usually have acidic elements added to them. Marinades usually only effect the outer most layers of protein while brine actually works deeper into the meat.
What does Brine do to chicken? Soaking chicken in brine before grilling it makes it juicy and flavorful. For a more technical description you can read this Fine Cooking article here. Basically, the salt solution soaks into the chicken, and binds to it, making it more juicy before it is cooked. The salt denatures the proteins and attaches water to the protein, which makes it juicier.
How long do I brine the chicken? The raw chicken sits in the brine for a relatively long time (24 hours in this recipe) and the salt and flavor is able to really permeate the chicken. For larger poultry or for bone-in meat you can leave it in for even longer. Just take note that this is a relatively weak brine in todays recipe, so the chicken breasts can be in the solution for longer. Stronger (quick) brines work in as little as two to four hours.
This brine today is a little different than a basic brine because I added a bottle of white wine to it. I made it for the Recipe Redux theme of cooking with alcohol. (Please, scroll below to see the other great recipes in this month’s Redux!) Here was my thinking, wine and other alcohols apparently makes food taste better. Or at least that’s what Sara Moulton said at IACP a few years ago. It like bonds to our taste receptors and makes it so that you can taste the other flavors in the food. Or at least that is what I remember her saying… something like that. So after experimenting with this wine brine, and loving the heck out of the results, it is my guess that the brine forced the alcohol into the chicken. I don’t know for sure, this is pure conjecture, but I do know that the resulting juicy as heck chicken is so incredibly good. I kept thinking that it was like the winey, briney cousin of marinade in a way.
The first night we had it with a sautéed mushrooms. Oh, my goodness! Love! Love! Love! I love the way the rosemary in the brine comes through with all of these savory flavors. And if you really want to hit a complete dinner home run serve it with The Best Homemade Potato Salad by Meaningful Eats. It’s gluten free too!
Now that I know wine is so magical in brine, I want to try it with other meats and wines. What do you think would be a good combination?
More Grilled Chicken
Feasting At Home | Grilled Chicken Shawarma
iFoodreal | Coconut Cilantro Grilled Chicken
Love and Zest | Grilled BBQ Chicken Breasts
All Day I Dream About Food | Not grilled but totally yummy and summery looking: Easy Low Carb Caprese Chicken
EatingWell | Cider Brined Bork Chops
Baked Bree | Sweet Tea Brined Chicken
Bon Appetit | Pan Roasted Brined Pork Chop
Food 52 | Late Night Coffee-Brined Chicken
Boneless Skinless Chicken breast stays moist, juicy and flavorful when it is grilled because it is brined in a simple rosemary and wine brine solution first.
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 cup boiling water
- 3 cups cold white wine, preferably fruity
- 1 cup ice
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 1 tablespoon pepper corns
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
- Combine salt and boiling water in a heat proof bowl or measuring cup, and stir until the salt is dissolved. Pour wine and ice into a large resealable bag or a deep bowl. Add hot salt mixture. Add rosemary and peppercorns. Agitate mixture until completely cool. Add chicken. Seal bag and set in a bowl, or cover bowl if using. Refriegrate chicken 18 to 24 hours.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Oil grill rack. Remove chicken from the brine. DIscard brine. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Grill chicken until no-longer pink in the center, and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Rest 5 minutes before slicing.