Are you tired of dry and flavorless chicken? Do you want to take your poultry game to the next level?
Look no further than the power of kosher salt. But how much should you use per pound of chicken? The internet is full of conflicting information, leaving home cooks confused and frustrated.
Fear not, we’ve done the research and compiled all the information you need to know about salting your chicken for maximum flavor and tenderness. From whole chickens to bone-in pieces, soups to pasta water, we’ve got you covered.
So grab your kosher salt and let’s get cooking!
How Much Kosher Salt Per Pound Of Chicken?
When it comes to salting your chicken, the amount of kosher salt you use per pound can make all the difference in flavor and texture.
For whole chickens, the general rule of thumb is to use 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound. This should be applied evenly inside the cavity and under the skin of the breasts and legs. Let the chicken rest in the refrigerator on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet for 6 to 24 hours.
For bone-in chicken pieces, such as thighs, wings, breasts, or legs, use 3/4 teaspoons of kosher salt per pound. If the poultry is skin-on, apply the salt evenly between the skin and meat, leaving the skin attached. Let it rest in the refrigerator on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet for 6 to 24 hours.
It’s important to note that these proportions may not apply when using pre-prepared ingredients like store-bought broth, sauces, or seasoned meats.
Why Use Kosher Salt?
Kosher salt is a popular choice for seasoning chicken and other meats because of its larger grain size and unique texture. Unlike table salt, which is comprised of small, regularly shaped cubes, kosher salt forms large, craggy flakes that don’t fit together very well. This allows the salt to penetrate deeper into the meat, resulting in a more evenly seasoned dish. Additionally, kosher salt is significantly less salty than table salt, making it easier to control the overall saltiness of your dish.
Another advantage of kosher salt is that it is free from additives like iodine, which can sometimes give table salt a slightly metallic taste. Kosher salt is also less processed than table salt, making it a more natural option for those who are concerned about the quality of their ingredients.
When it comes to selecting a brand of kosher salt, many chefs prefer unrefined sea salts like French grey sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. These salts are made sustainably with solar energy and skilled hand labor, and are rich in minerals that can add depth and complexity to your dishes. However, not all brands of kosher salt are alike, so it may take some trial and error to find the right one for your needs.
How Much Kosher Salt To Use For Whole Chickens
For whole chickens, the recommended amount of kosher salt to use is 1 teaspoon per pound. This should be evenly applied inside the cavity and under the skin of the breasts and legs. Once the salt has been applied, let the chicken rest in the refrigerator on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet for 6 to 24 hours.
Salting your chicken in advance not only adds flavor but also promotes juiciness and improves texture. The salt dissolves some of the proteins within and around muscle fibers that would otherwise resist chewing, while also drawing out moisture from the cells initially. However, with time, the cells reabsorb the moisture in reverse osmosis and the salt changes the proteins, enabling them to “open up” and entrap more moisture than before. This results in well-seasoned and moisture-laden cells, less tenaciously attached to one another than their unseasoned counterparts.
It’s worth noting that using kosher salt is preferable to plain iodized salt as it provides a better flavor and texture. In addition, it’s important to use additive-free kosher salt such as Diamond Crystal for brining as it dissolves easily and consistently.
For best results, make sure to pat the chicken dry with paper towels before cooking. This ensures that the skin will become crispy and evenly golden during roasting.
How Much Kosher Salt To Use For Bone-In Chicken Pieces
When it comes to bone-in chicken pieces, the amount of kosher salt to use per pound is slightly less than for a whole chicken. For skin-on bone-in chicken pieces, use about 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound. This should be applied evenly between the skin and meat, leaving the skin attached.
After salting the chicken, place it in the refrigerator on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet for 2 to 12 hours. If you’re refrigerating overnight or longer, place a loose tent of foil or parchment paper over the chicken.
It’s important to note that there’s no need to rinse the chicken before cooking once it’s done brining. Simply cook your chicken as the recipe directs.
If you’re making soups, stocks, sauces, or gravies, use 1-1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt per quart if using kosher salt or 1-1/8 teaspoons per quart if using table salt. For raw meats, poultry, fish, and seafood, use 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound if using kosher salt or 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons per pound if using table salt.
For salting pasta water, add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (or 3/4 teaspoon table salt) for each quart of water. The general rule of thumb for water quantity is 4 quarts per pound of pasta (4 teaspoons kosher salt).
The Importance Of Salting Chicken In Soups And Stews
When it comes to making soups and stews, salting your chicken beforehand can greatly enhance the flavor of the final dish. The pre-salting technique, championed by San Francisco chef Judy Roberts and food science writer Harold McGee, involves sprinkling kosher salt evenly over the entire surface of the meat or poultry and allowing it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, preferably 1 to 4 days before cooking.
When you add pre-salted chicken to your soup or stew, the flavors of the salt and chicken will be more evenly distributed throughout the dish. This can prevent certain bites from being overly salty or bland. Additionally, pre-salting allows the chicken to retain more moisture during cooking, resulting in a tender and juicy texture.
To incorporate pre-salted chicken into your soups and stews, simply add the chicken to your pot along with your other ingredients and adjust the seasoning as needed. Remember that the amount of salt you use will depend on the size of your pot and the other ingredients you’re using, so it’s important to taste and adjust as you go.
Don’t Forget To Salt Your Pasta Water!
When it comes to cooking pasta, many people overlook the importance of properly salting the pasta water. This is a crucial step in the cooking process, as it’s the only time you have the opportunity to season the pasta itself. Without proper seasoning, your pasta may end up bland and unappetizing.
To properly salt your pasta water, you’ll want to follow a basic formula. For every pound of pasta, use 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 4 quarts (16 cups) of water. Bring the water to a rolling boil and stir in the salt before adding the pasta. Cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions, then drain and serve.
It’s important to note that the amount of salt you use may vary depending on your personal preference and the type of salt you’re using. If you’re using table salt or sea salt, stick with 1 tablespoon per pound of pasta. However, if you’re using Kosher salt (which is preferred by many chefs), use 1 “heaping” tablespoon (about 1.5 tablespoons) instead. You can also experiment with adding more or less salt to find your perfect ratio.
When seasoning your pasta water, it’s important to keep in mind any sauces or finishes you’ll be adding to your dish. If you plan on adding salty ingredients like anchovies or Parmesan cheese, you may want to be more reserved with the salt.