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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?

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    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, 2016 at 11:41
  • Ok done Rumtscho
    – Neil Meyer
    Jun 27, 2016 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, 2016 at 11:51

2 Answers 2

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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.).

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  • It's possible that Jolenealaska's post on brine penetration was what I remember, but that didn't control for temperature.
    – Joe
    Jun 27, 2016 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. Jun 27, 2016 at 21:52
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Yes, actually you can. Quite a few cooks will tell you it's very possible. I've done it, and it turns out great.

"Make sure your brine is no warmer than cool room temperature, then place your frozen meat in the brine. Place the whole thing in the refrigerator, and check on it after an hour — if the meat is thawed, then you can remove it from the brine and proceed with cooking. If it’s still frozen in the middle, put it back in the refrigerator until it is completely thawed. When I did this with a very thick bone-in pork chop, it took about 1 1/2 hours to thaw and brine."

Source: https://www.thekitchn.com/did-you-know-you-can-thaw-and-brine-meat-at-the-same-time-tips-from-the-kitchn-216723

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  • Without the link, your answer becomes only "yes". Link answers are not allowed. Please insert the details here and use the link only for reference. Links go dead over time. How to Answer
    – Rob
    Sep 21, 2020 at 11:50

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