Another new for me in this next blog post, brining! I’ve never really brined before but seemed like a good time as any to try out brining. Brining is similar to marinating. You place your meat in a liquid for a certain amount of time. Except when a marinade tends to be more of like a sauce, a brine is only water and salt (although the brine recipe I used contained sugar as well). The point of the brine is to hold the moisture of the meat in when cooking so the result is a juicy well hydrated meat.
The recipe the brine recipe from was:
But I also referenced How to Cook Everything to figure out what I was going to do with my brined meat:
I decided to brine a Cornish hen! I made the brine by mixing salt, sugar and boiling water.
I let it cool and then covered and refrigerated overnight.
The next morning before work I placed my Cornish hen in the brine. Then I placed a plate on top of the bird, so that it didn’t float. I covered and refrigerated.
After work I removed the hen from the brine. I dried it with paper towels and placed it on a baking sheet in the refrigerator uncovered to dry out a bit for an hour or so.
I heated some chicken stock over medium high heat until it was reduced by half. I then removed from heat and mixed in balsamic vinegar. I seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.
I removed the backbone of the hen so it could cook lying flat. I placed the hen on a preheated grill. I seasoned with salt and pepper and let it cook for 5-6 minutes, then I flipped, seasoned and cooked another 5-6 minutes.
I kept repeating the flipping/seasoning for a total cook time of 30 minutes. For the second half of the cooking (and I don’t have photos because at this point it was dark) I started brushing the hen with the stock/vinegar sauce.
When the hen was finished cooking I removed it from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting it in half lengthwise and serving.
So how did it taste: VERY good! The bird was super moist (sorry I know people despise that word but it’s an accurate way to describe)! It took a bit of planning ahead but it really was a pretty simple dinner to put together. I will be making this one again for sure!
- 3.5 oz fine sea salt
- 1.75 oz sugar
- 2 quarts of water
- 1 1-11/2 lb Cornish hen
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 TB balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Make the brine by mixing salt and sugar with the boiling water until salt and sugar are dissolved. Let cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Place Cornish hen in the brine. Place a plate over the hen to weigh it down and cover and refrigerate for 6-12 hours.
- Remove hen from brine. Pat with paper towels and place on a baking sheet in the refrigerator uncovered to dry out for an hour or two.
- Place chicken stock in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Boil until the stock has reduced by half. Remove the pan from heat and stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Remove back bone from the hen so it can lay flat while cooking. Place the hen on a preheated grill over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 or 6 minutes and then flip. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 or 6 minutes before flipping again. Repeat this for a total cooking time of half an hour. During the second half of the cook time start brushing the hen with the stock/vinegar sauce as well.
- Remove the hen from the grill and let it rest for ten minutes before cutting in half lengthwise and serving.
- serves 2