Boozy Brines For Grilling

If you are a home chefs then you know that you can sip on a beer or open a bottle of wine one night and have the perfect brining ingredient for the following day. Brines not only season the meat, but they also add a foolproof method for keeping proteins moist through the cooking process. They are a great way to add or incorporate more flavor and spice to a dish without having to create a sauce or another component.

Here are five versatile recipes to amp up flavor on the grill:

Pro tip: It is recommended to immerse the meat in these brines for at least 2 and up to 12 hours. Pieces of fish 5 pounds or larger can sit in the brine for 2 days; similarly sized pieces of meat can brine for up to one week.

Cider Brine
Pairs well with: salmon, pork or chicken.

2 cups hard cider (flat cider works best)
2 cups apple cider
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise pod
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
3 sprigs fresh thyme

Preparation:
In a large stockpot, add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Cool completely before using.

Beer Brine
Pairs well with: chicken, pork or brisket.

4 cups beer, such as an IPA, flat
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup kosher salt
3 sprigs fresh sage
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Preparation:
In a large bowl or jug, add all of the ingredients and whisk together vigorously to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let sit for 1 hour.

White Wine & Verjus Brine
Pairs well with: halibut, salmon or trout.

2 cups verjus
2 cups white wine, such as Pinot Gris
¾ cup honey
¾ cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons whole coriander seed
2 tablespoons whole fennel seed
8 stems Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon orange zest

Preparation:
In a large stockpot, add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Cool completely before using.

Manhattan Cocktail Brine

Pairs well with: pork or chicken thighs.

1 cup unsweetened cherry juice
1 cup bourbon, such as Buffalo Trace
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
Juice of half an orange
¼ cup sweet vermouth
2 cups water
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
8 whole allspice berries
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise pod
1 tablespoon whole yellow mustard seed

Preparation:
In a large stockpot, add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Cool completely before using.

Moscow Mule Brine
Pairs well with: trout, chicken or pork.

1 cup vodka
12 ounces ginger beer, flat
1 ½ cups water
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
¾ cup kosher salt
¼ cup grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon whole coriander seed
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon chile flakes
1 teaspoon turmeric

Preparation:
In a large stockpot, add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Cool completely before using.