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I want to brine a frozen chicken but I'm unsure if there is any reason why brining frozen meat is bad?

Can you brine frozen meat, or do you first have to defrost it before you can brine it, or does it not matter?

  • Hi Neil, both of your questions are interesting. But I will ask you to honor the "one question - one post" policy. I know it's convenient for you, when you are preparing one meal, to pack all questions about it in the same post. But for everybody else, this really makes it difficult to say which post contains which information (starting with the bad title and going down from there). As a side effect, you (and the people who answer) get more reputation from two questions instead of one. So please split the "brine frozen meat" from the "brine time for 10% solution" question. – rumtscho Jun 27 '16 at 11:41
  • Ok done Rumtscho – Neil Meyer Jun 27 '16 at 11:50
  • thank you, I'll see if I can have that added to the help center, it is currently not there. – rumtscho Jun 27 '16 at 11:51
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No, you can't. Or at least, you won't get the result you're really looking for.

Water needs to be able to move through the meat for the salt and flavorings to be transported to the inner cells of the meat. When the meat's frozen, you're dealing with ice crystals.

... that being said, you can thaw the meat in the brine if you're desperate, but you have less control to know exactly how much salt will be absorbed. (and I vaguely remember another question on here about temperature & brining, and I seem to recall someone reported on experimental results that really cold brines didn't transfer flavors deeply into the meat.).

  • It's possible that Jolenealaska's post on brine penetration was what I remember, but that didn't control for temperature. – Joe Jun 27 '16 at 16:26
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    Exactly; the water won't be able to move into the meat and bring the salt with it if the meat itself is frozen. Further, when the brine and meat are both super cold, the rate of osmosis will decrease and the brine will penetrate even less than it normally would. – Chris Macksey Jun 27 '16 at 21:52

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