Our go-to brine consists of a favorite Southern beverage. Can you guess it?

By Rachel Mulcahy
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Chicken and pork meals are often in heavy weeknight rotation. From Old-Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie to Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches, we can’t get enough of these protein-rich meats. However, when we cook chicken and pork, we forget an important part of the preparation process—the brine. Preparation is key when it comes to cooking and once you start brining your meats, you’ll never go back. This small and easy step in the preparation process makes such a huge difference for the final dish.

The secret to making juicy chicken and pork all starts with a flavorful brine. Brining is just as important as other cooking tasks such as seasoning your cast iron skillet and lining your cake pan with parchment paper before baking.

What is a Brine?

A brine is essential in the meat cooking process—it guarantees tender meat, every time. Brining is the process of soaking uncooked meat in a salted liquid mixture. Kosher salt is a vital ingredient in a brine, but the liquid of choice can vary based on your taste preferences. Aside from water, sweet tea, lemonade, or apple juice work great as a liquid base.

Brine Ingredients 

It’s not a true Southern brine without a sweet tea liquid base. Our go-to brine for chicken, pork, and other meat consists of sweet tea, garlics cloves, peppercorns, and thyme sprigs. Feel free to add more seasoning and spices or swap out the liquid mixture for your preferred beverage.

How to Brine Chicken, Pork, and Other Meat

Once your ingredients are mixed, place your chicken or pork in the brine, and let it soak in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. It’s important not to over brine your chicken or pork, this can result in extremely salty food. Once your meat has soaked for the allotted time, they are ready to be cooked. A simple brine can transform any protein into an extra tender and tasty meal.