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How much regular table salt should I use when brining chicken pieces?

I don't have kosher salt, just regular iodised table salt. Does this really make a difference? I thought salt was salt.

Additionally, I have never found non-iodised salt for sale in South Africa. There is, however, a big fad in "Himalayan Crystal Salt" at the moment in South Africa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himalayan_salt). Would this be better to use?

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4 Answers 4

If you can find canning or pickling salt, it's not iodized (and has no other additives, unlike some kosher salts), so won't contribute any off flavors that roux mentioned.

However, the different grain sizes will be a problem as they pack denser, so based on a chart from Marton's salt that ManiaxZX linked to in discussing differences in salts, they'd recommend cutting the salt by 20% when changing from kosher salt to table salt to canning/pickling salt.

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In the U. S. it is also possible to find non-iodized table salt. My favorite grocery store brand's table salt doesn't contain iodine. This may be possible elsewhere. –  justkt Oct 14 '10 at 12:49
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note that you will only need to reduce the amount of salt if your recipe is based on volume. if by weight, not reduction necessary. –  daniel Oct 14 '10 at 13:08
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Himalayan would be preferable, yes, as the iodine in table salt can produce a bitter taste. (Try taste-testing different salts next to each other). However, Himalayan tends to be expensive, at least compared to kosher.

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Table salt weighs about twice as much per unit volume as kosher salt. So if you only have access to table salt and a recipe calls for kosher use half as much (unless it is asking by weight) then it should be the same but make a much smaller pile.

Iodized salt does taste a tiny bit funny it's true, but many people can't taste the difference. For brining a chicken iodized table salt will work just fine. If you've never encountered un-iodized salt you are extremely unlikely to notice the "off flavors" others have mentioned.

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As roux suggests in his comment, all that really matters is the weight. You want about 30 grams of salt per liter (or quart) of brining liquid for a weak brine, which is what you should do if you're starting out with brining. For table salt, that's about two table spoons; for kosher salt, it's about four.

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