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Course: Entree | Beer Style: Brown Ale

Basic Brine with Beer

Perfect for the cooler months, this basic brine with beer is an instance where the power of beer can be highlighted during the cooking process. Brining is salt's ability to denature proteins, causing some of the muscle to unwind and swell. The brine then gets trapped in these proteins and when cooked, the liquid binds to the muscle creating flavor pockets and a juicier result.

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Yield: 5 cups


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup craft beer (Recommended styles: brown ale, pale ale, dubbel, wit)
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorn
  • 1 Fresno chili split
  • 1 cup ice cubes


  1. In a medium saucepot, combine all the ingredients except ice cubes and bring to a soft boil. Simmer for five minutes. Turn heat off transfer brine to a bowl and add ice cubes to cool.
  2. Pour the brine over the protein or into Ziploc bags with the proteins. Refrigerate and follow the guideline below for brine times. Discard brine when the protein is removed and pat dry the protein before cooking.
  3. Brining Time

  4. How long to brine depends on the size of the protein; a whole turkey will take much longer than a few chicken thighs; a pork loin left whole for roasting will take longer than a pork loin cut into chops. Be careful not to over brine otherwise the dish will taste over salted.
  5. Bone in pork chops: 6-12 hours
    Whole chicken: 4-8 hours
    Chicken breast: 1-2 hours
    Whole quail: 2-4 hours
    Duck breast or legs: 4-6 hours
    Whole pork loin: 8-12 hours
    Pheasant breast: 4-6 hours
    Chicken thighs: 4-6 hours
  6. Yield: 5 cups or enough for up to 2 pounds of protein.

Adam Dulye is executive chef for the Brewers Association and Dulye is a Culinary Institute of America graduate and co-author of the Beer & Food Course and The Beer Pantry: Cooking at the Intersection of Craft Beer and Great Food. Dulye also oversees culinary side of SAVOR®: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience, PAIRED® at the Great American Beer Festival®, and the World Beer Cup®.

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