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I am following the Ninja Foodi recipe for cooking a whole chicken:

Whole Chicken Recipe

Part of the instructions is to mix 2 tablespoons of kosher salt into the water base of the pressure cooker. I am wondering what the effects of this salt in the base provides. Specifically:

  • Does this salt make its way to the chicken, raising the sodium?
  • I thought salt (especially coarser kosher salt) doesn't evaporate with water, so from a chemistry standpoint, I don't really understand what the salt is doing.
    • In other words, if the salt isn't evaporating, how do the salt molecules end up in the chicken itself?
  • What are the alternatives to kosher salt in the base of a pressure cooker for a recipe like this? Could I use salt substitutes, such as potassium chloride.
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    I think it might be worth pointing out that kosher salt isn't necessary unless you're eating kosher. It's just bigger granules of ordinary table salt, and you're just measuring an amount of it out with a spoon and dissolving it in the water anyway so the advantages of the larger granules are nullified. You might need a slightly different volume of it, though, because different salt granule sizes can have a different overall density due to the differences in packing efficiency.
    – nick012000
    Oct 13 at 1:25
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    @nick012000 Kosher salt is kosher (compliant with Jewish religious dietary rules) but so is any other salt. It's so named because it's koshering salt, used in the process of draining the blood from meat so that the meat is kosher.
    – dbmag9
    Oct 13 at 11:17
  • @dbmag "It's so named because it's koshering salt" Yeah, I know. It's not being used that way here, though.
    – nick012000
    Oct 13 at 20:31
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    @nick012000 My point was that your phrase "kosher salt isn't necessary unless you're eating kosher" could lead someone to believe that kosher food needs to use kosher salt, which isn't the case. Hopefully the extra information will enlighten people reading these comments who might not otherwise have looked it up.
    – dbmag9
    Oct 14 at 6:16
  • @dbmag9 It's also certified as being approved by the Kashrut Authority, which verifies that the production process is also performed in accordance with kosher standards, which ordinary table salt might not be.
    – nick012000
    Oct 14 at 6:25
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Yes, the salt in the liquid will flavor the chicken (and raise the sodium). Your second bullet point is correct, salt does not evaporate. I'm not sure why you've asked that question though. The salt is not necessary from a cooking standpoint. If you are concerned about sodium, you can reduce, eliminate, or season with anything you like.

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  • Could there be an osmosis effect that improves how the chicken comes out, separately to flavouring it? That would be something the salt is doing which I guess is the intention of the second bullet point.
    – dbmag9
    Oct 12 at 20:27
  • @dbmag9 I assume salt will enter the chicken, as salt molecules in solution are small enough. The pressure will certainly help. I would guess the concentration of salt is not great enough, or the time long enough, to result in a state of equilibrium. That said, it certainly will not impact the cooking (40 min in a pressure cooker) to any great degree.
    – moscafj
    Oct 12 at 20:38
  • To expand on my second bullet point, if salt doesn't evaporate, then how does the salt molecule enter the chicken in the first place?
    – E.S.
    Oct 12 at 22:43
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    It sounds like there’s no more than about a cup of liquid in the entire pot; I think the OP was asking because that doesn’t seem like enough to cover the chicken and allow the liquid with the salt to permeate the chicken (other than below). And that would track with their other part of the question about salt sticking with water or not when it evaporates; would you end up with a seasoned lower part and unseasoned top of the chicken? I doubt that the salt can make its way from one side of a chicken to the other, so the salt will need to contact the rest of the chicken somehow, at least. Oct 13 at 11:24
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    @fyrepenguin - the recipe has you sprinkling the remaining salt on top, after cooking. As I state in my answer, it is entirely optional for the cooking process. This is simply about seasoning.
    – moscafj
    Oct 13 at 11:28

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