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Can You Brine Just a Turkey Breast?

Ask the Chef

Question:

Can you brine just a breast?
—Karen

Answer:
Absolutely. In fact, white meats, such as chicken breast, turkey breast and pork tenderloin, benefit more from brining than do their dark meat counterparts and fattier cuts of meat.

The affect of brining is two-fold. First, the salty brine is absorbed by the meat, seasoning the meat all the way through instead of just on the surface. Second, the salt helps the meat retain moisture. This isn’t as important for dark meat, which has a higher fat content and therefore ‘built-in’ moisturizers. However, for leaner white meat, a brine can mean the difference between meat that is juicy and perfectly cooked or disappointingly dry.

Of course, if you want to brine only the breast, you’ve got a couple choices. You can cut up the raw bird and brine and cook the breast meat separately from the dark meat. We have a video that demonstrates how to do that currently running on our home page.

Or you can simply purchase one or more turkey breasts for the meal, if that’s what everybody likes at your table anyway, and forego the whole bird experience altogether.

Try these great turkey recipes from The Food Channel and its recipe partners:

Brined Turkey with Vegetables

Buttermilk Brined Turkey

Lemon Herb Salted Turkey

For more resources, check out:

BBQ About.com

Foster Farms