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I've used a standard 5% salt and water solution to brine a chicken, after having brined it is it advisable for me to season the chicken with salt before cooking it? I'm worried that if I do so that the chicken may become too salty; am I wrong in thinking this?

If it is the case that the chicken CAN be salted after brining; what concentrate of brine would be needed so that salting is not necessary after brining? 7%, 10%?

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Myth busters beware, are you ready? Go!

No brining nor seasoning will make your chicken too salty. 5%, 7%, 10%, The only sodium saturating process known to men is the injection, the needle injection, the so called "added solution".

If you're only brining, you're miles away from needle injection consequences, yet another misunderstood process. Brining is not to be feared, injections is.

Edit (after all these comments/questions showed up):

Brining is a complex subject which I cannot address here, and a lot of myths are floating around, mostly related to nuances, while people do not understand the enormous impact of:

  • osmosis vs. diffusion,
  • which ingredient are real actors in brining and which are not, among salt sugar fat acids alcohol herbs/flavors spices/Pungency/[scoville scale]
  • what happens during passive brining vs. active cooking, including the effects of slow cooking vs. high heat
  • the type of meat, the thickness of the meat, the duration of the brine/marination.

You can debate this thing for days and years, but what matters here is the question. The assumption is "I marinated (5%) a chicken and now that my marination is over, I'm thinking of seasoning (salt) before cooking. Am I running a risk to saturate the end product with sodium?"

The clear answer is NO, as long as your brine didn't last weeks, or your meat was not previously injected with a sodium solution, e.g 12% or 15%. The only time you have to worry about salt seasoning is when your meat has already been salted with injection, or if you just managed to cook a peace of meat with a higher than 5% salt solution for more than a week, which won't happen unless we are talking about dried cured meat, which is an aberration as I've never seen it.

Please be careful with references to articles, books, so called scientific published papers. You really need to read them slowly and carefully, interpretation is key, understand where they came from, who wrote them, who paid for it, who's getting paid for it, which is the source, ... etc, even if the almighty gods of molecular gastronomy are named on it.

FYI: I've been fighting a few USDA/FDA strict rules for years (e.g. caning, meat temp), while believing their overall work is awesome.

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    Brining will not salt chicken on the inside despite myth. But neither will salting. But it still seems very reasonable that there will be no salting needed after brining, as the brine will have changed the salt on the surface of the chicken, just as salting will. Injections are irrelevant for that effect. – rumtscho Jul 11 '15 at 12:37
  • @rumtscho I'm afraid I don't understand. This is completely opposite of answers to other questions on SA about brining, as well as reputable culinary and food science resources. – Cindy Jul 11 '15 at 14:00
  • Can you provide any resources that substantiate your information? – Cindy Jul 11 '15 at 21:39
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    From the USDA (fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/…), not all solution enhanced products are injected: Enhanced or value-added meat and poultry products are raw products that contain flavor solutions added through marinating, needle injecting, soaking, etc. – Cindy Jul 11 '15 at 21:48
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I agree with @rumtscho that you should not need to salt after brining. However, I totally disagree with the accepted answer. There are simply too many reputable sources that say otherwise, not to mention my own experience.

First, please see the accepted answer to this question which is from Cook's Illustrated.

Secondly, this article from Stella Culinary gives a very detailed description of what brining is and how it works. Please see excerpts below.

What Is A Brine and Why Should I Use It?

In its simplest form, brine is a salt and water solution that food products, most commonly meats, are soaked in for a given period of time to improve the product’s overall quality.

When food is brined correctly, the process yields three major benefits:

  1. Textural improvement, especially when brining proteins.

  2. Brines can and will enhance overall flavor. Not only does the salt contained within a brine help to season the food product (assuming the brine is applied correctly), but brines also commonly contain secondary flavor profiles such as herbs, spices and aromatics, that are chosen specifically to enhance the overall flavor of the food product being brined.

  3. By far the biggest reason food is brined, and that’s moisture retention. Especially when it comes to cooking lean proteins such as chicken breast, pork tenderloin and even fish, brining allows proteins to retain more moisture throughout the cooking process resulting in a moister finished product.

How Do Brines Work?

The most conventional explanation of how brining works describes the movement of salt and water into proteins through a process called osmosis. This however is incorrect. Brining actually works through diffusion, not osmosis, and it’s important to make that distinction if we are to truly understand how a brine works.

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This is a very good article and gives an in-depth look at brining. I personally use a gradient brine (5%) or dry rub and I can personally attest that the salt does get into the meat.

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No, I do not cook my brined chicken with added salt. I always brine chicken overnight with maybe a bit more salt than is standard. The next day, I rinse and soak it briefly in clear water, then cook it without adding salt. It is always salty enough from the brine and very few people eating at my table ever add salt. From my taste buds, I believe chicken does absorb salt from brining even though others insist it cannot be absorbed. I respectfully disagree.

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