Chez Panisse Brine for Pork, Chicken and Turkey

Total Time
Prep 5 mins
Cook 0 mins

This is a recipe I got from my brother. I haven't tried it yet, but he absolutely raved about it. Preparation time does not include brining time. Author's notes: Leave it to Alice Waters and her crew at Chez Panisse to come up with a recipe that's so simple and so brilliant it brings out the best in chicken, pork, or turkey. They've created a brine with sugar, salt, and just a few seasonings that infuse loads of flavor into the meats. To test how well the brine worked, I cooked two chickens side by side. One had been soaked in the brine for 24 hours, the other was simply roasted. Both cavities were filled with Italian parsley, preserved lemons, and onions, and cooked in a 400-degree oven. The difference was remarkable. While the regular roasted chicken had a deeper, richer skin color, the brined chicken was plump and juicy, albeit a little anemic in color. But the flavor was amazing and it was the moistest chicken I can ever remember eating. The next day I warmed the leftovers and the regular chicken was even drier and had that typical day-old taste, but the brined chicken still tasted moist and fresh. To achieve the browned skin you'll have to leave the chicken in the oven a little longer, but the meat will still be moist. We also tried a pork roast, brined for three days, and it came out fabulous, too. The leftovers were particularly good for sandwiches the next day. The recipe makes enough brine for a large turkey. If brining only one chicken or a pork roast, cut the recipe in half. Source: The Secrets of Success Cookbook by Michael Bauer


  1. Place the water in a large pot that can easily hold the liquid and the meat you intend to brine. Add all the ingredients and stir for a minute or so until the sugar and salt dissolve. Refrigerate poultry in the brine for 24 hours; pork for 3 days. If the meat floats to the top, use a plate or other weight to keep it completely submerged in the brine.
  2. To cook chicken: Stuff the cavity with onions, lemon wedges, and herbs such as thyme, parsley, and rosemary. Rub the skin with oil to help browning. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. (Salt isn't needed because of the brine.) Cook uncovered in a 400-degree oven until done, about 1 hour and 15 minutes for a 3 1/2- to 4 pound chicken.
  3. To cook turkey: Stuff the cavity with lemons, herbs, and onions, if desired. Rub the skin with oil and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Cook uncovered in a 400-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes per pound until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the thigh registers at least 165 degrees.
  4. To cook a boneless pork roast: Sprinkle the roast with pepper and herbs such as sage, thyme, or tarragon, if desired. Roast uncovered in a 400-degree oven for about 12 to 15 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature reaches 150 to 160 degrees.
Most Helpful

Yum - used this on a large chicken from the farmers market. Worked really good. Can't wait to try with a turkey on thanksgiving. I used the bay leaves, minced garlic, dried chili peppers, and peppercorns.

bud's mom September 21, 2008

I made the full recipe to brine a 20 pound turkey. I cut the salt to one and a half cups, and the sugar to three quarters of a cup. I did that because I've only brined once before (chicken) and it was too salty. The turkey soaked overnight. The meat came out succulent and delicious. It is definitely worth it to use the suggested herbs and spices. Thank you.

tessday January 09, 2006

Used a 1/2gal proportionate recipe of this for a 4.5lb turkey breast. The result was quite moist and fork-tender but a little salty for my tastes although Dh wasn't bothered by it. I made quite a point of thoroughly rinsing/washing the breast several times as I've had this problem with brine before.

sugarpea December 07, 2005