Soaking Chicken

kaelkriverSeptember 4, 2008


I usually soak my chicken in milk, soured with lemon juice, for 4-6 hours before I fry it. We will be gone this weekend and I was wondering if I could start soaking it Friday after work and fry it right away when I get home on Sunday. Is 48 hours (approximately) too long?

Thanks for your help.

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Here is a link to the USDA guidelines on marinating and brining poultry. I myself wouldn't leave it in the buttermilk that long because it may become mushy. I might make a weak brine of 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar to a gallon of water and leave it in that for the two days.

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA Poultry Fact Sheet

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 4:00PM
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I made some chicken fingers the other night based on Nigella Lawsons recipe. She recommends soaking the chicken breasts in buttermilk 2 days..I did and they were fine, tender and delish!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 4:27PM
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I have a coouple of whole chickens in the freezer that I bought when the price was right....and...lazy me...didn't part them out before cooking them, just tossed them in the freezer in the cryovac wrap.
Would it be safe to take those frozen birds out and immerse them, frozen in a brine or buttermilk solution and leave them in the refrig for 2 days....then roast?
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 4:48PM
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I read the USDA fact sheet, and it wasn't clear to me what would happen in a buttermilk solution. Putting it in frozen is an interesting thought. I see Terri tried it with good results, would bone-in make a difference do you think? And thanks for the responses.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 6:26PM
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Linda C, I don't see why it wouldn't be safe to defrost them in a brine. I buy frozen turkeys and the recommended method is to defrost in the fridge. It takes several days for a whole turkey. Seems like in a brine it would give flavor as it defrosts. Not too sure how defrosting/marinating in buttermilk would work for roasting, though. I've only ever breaded and fried milk and buttermilk soaked chicken.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 7:44PM
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I've soaked chicken breasts for as long as 2 days without any appreciable loss of quality.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 10:28AM
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Just a comment on the original question.... make sure the chicken is fresh enough for the added time, irregardless of the marinade or brine, it's still raw chicken.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 10:38AM
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Linda, that's what I did..The chicken breasts were frozen. I put them in the ziploc with the buttermilk and allowed them to sit for actually 3-4 days..because one got away with me, and since they were frozen when they went in..I figured one of the days didn't really count.

Bone in would have no difference...other than maybe allowing the chicken to last a bit longer in the buttermilk without totally getting eaten up.

The point in the buttermilk IS to tenderize the meat.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 11:24AM
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LindaC - I, too, buy whole chickens when on sale. But I always have trouble thawing them. If you try the brine-and-thaw method please report how it turns out. Even a 3 pound fryer seems to take at least four days to thaw on the top shelf of my fridge, and at that point I question if the first-thawed parts are good anymore and throw the whole thing out it out just to be safe.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 11:25AM
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I have heard of using milk to tenderize the meat but it always seemed like such a waste, especially at the price of milk today. Is there any other way to get the same result?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 12:10PM
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I dry brine by covering them in kosher salt leaving them for a day or two.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 1:26PM
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You can put them in milk in a plastic freezer bag and store them in the freezer. I frequently store chicken parts in a marinade in the freezer - mainly because I want to use up marinade that I've made, and it saves time. I generally defrost in the MW on "defrost" setting. It's one of the few times I use the MW.

Guess I'm too late to help you this time, however.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 3:39PM
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Better late than never, Lars, and noted for next time. I did put them in the buttermilk over the weekend and it worked just fine. Fried them up when I got home, and they were moist and tender. Thanks for all the input.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 11:51AM
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I've heard of folks soaking it 5 days to get the acidic flavoring (the sour and tang) buttermilk has. I know many people who have soaked it for 2 or 3 days. If you're making your own buttermilk it's only a tablespoon of either vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk. I always use a whole lemon to 2 cups of half and half. That's not going to break the meat down like soaking it in a bottle of vinegar.
The trick to great fried chicken is using flour/corn starch mixture (which creates the crispy) along with allowing it to rest for at least a half hour after coating the chicken and before frying it. That allows for the breading to set and adhere well to the chicken so when you fry it the coating stays on the chicken and doesn't fall off in the fryer. I also use a combination of lard and crisco and it is very important to maintain the oil temperature! I know some recommend 350F but I like 375F better and I generally heat it to 400F to start and then add the chicken and not overload the fry pan so the oil cools to much!! A thermometer is a MUST for perfect fried chicken!!I cut up my chicken, soak it in buttermilk several hours minimum, then dredge it in the flour/corn starch mixture, into an egg wash, then into my coating, finally onto a baking rack to rest for a half hour or so and then on into the frying pan approximatley 12-15 minutes on the first side and 8-10 minutes on the second side. You know when it's done because your thermometer should read 165F!!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 3:55PM
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