I am trying to brine a chicken and then cook it in a soup. I just can't seem to do it properly and have noticed varying results for reasons I cannot figure out. My basic method is: add 1.5l spring water to pot, add 30 grams of sea salt and mix until dissolved, add 1kg whole chicken (whole or small pieces), refrigerate for 6-12 hours (usually 12), then cook. I have noticed the following things, please kindly explain why I may be getting varying results and what I may be doing wrong.
I notice that if I cut the chicken into eight small pieces these do not brine well at all compared to a 4 piece cut or a whole chicken. This is even after using high salt and plenty of time. When using high salt parts of the chicken come out extremely salty however other parts do not and these parts look raw/red/pink which I think suggests the brine didn't go far enough. I am guessing this is because brining works on chicken surfaces (perhaps this is where the pores are) and with small pieces the inner chicken is exposed. Having said that, most recipes say you can brine small pieces in 1-2 hours. Why doesn't it work for me?
Even when I do a whole chicken or 4 pieces, despite giving it 8-12 hours, sometimes there are raw looking parts in the leg pieces, any idea why? Also although the rest of the chicken seems to have been reached i.e. is white although it is not juicy and tender. Any idea why?
On one day I brined a chicken with 17 grams salt and only 5 hours, a leg piece came out perfectly, another leg piece OK and the breast didn't. Why on this day did one piece come out great whereas other pieces didn't? Even on other days I double or triple the salt and time yet I haven't been able to get the same result.
In thinking about the cause for the above I wondered:
does the container need to be air tight to brining to be effective?
does water temperature(room/refrigerator/0c) make a difference to actual brining itself?
does there have to be plenty of space between chicken parts in the brine or if they overlap a bit?
If I use higher salt and what more salt absorption, should I simply leave it to brine longer i.e. longer then 12 hours?
Suppose I do a high brine chicken, I then throw away the water and make a new pot with water and say 4 grams of salt, I then add the chicken and cook the soup. Will salt come out of the chicken and go into the water or will it stay in there?
Apologise for so many questions, I'm just trying to give as much info as possible. Hope somebody will kindly answer. I brine everyday and can hardly seem to get a good brined leg on any day.
In response to peoples comments*
Thank you for your responses. To clarify a few things, firstly I am brining and then cooking as a soup(boiling then simmering). I have to do this because I have a stomach ailment and I am intolerant to greasy foods(grill/oven) and stews(due to onion and vegetable intolerance). Strange as it sounds, my stomach is so weak that I am also intolerant to proteins that haven't absorbed a lot of salt e.g. chicken in chicken soup. The only food I can tolerate is protein that is salted quite well e.g. salted, plump, tender and juicy as with brined chicken. This is why I am doing brined chicken soup only!
There are no red spots rather after cooking the soup I notice areas/flesh where discoloration(brown, purple,red) is present throughout parts of the flesh. I am sure the chicken is being cooked well(have cooked a lot of soups) however the colours seem more like flesh which the brine hasn't penetrated otherwise it would become white like the rest of the chicken. I have noticed this to be more present when in pieces e.g. small cut chicken or leg pieces rather then breasts.
On the next try I will boil my salt first, however I had been stirring with a spoon until all salt visibly dissolved so don't know if this is the cause.
I have increased salt for testing purposes, on such days the brining does improve however I still notice the raw looking flesh in certain parts of the chicken. When doing a whole chicken, the problem is present usually in the leg rather then the breasts which come out good.
The chicken I use are actually quite small 1kg or slightly above and these are covered by 1.5l of water.