by The Garlic Guy
First make a brine. Three kinds of brines (with many variations of each): salt and cold water; white vinegar and sugar; cider vinegar and brown sugar. The type of brine usually depends on what you're brining and how much you like the brine application. Go easy on the vinegars. The salt water brine should be used over night (or at least for two hours depending on the meat). The two vinegars should not be used for more than one hour. Below is a most basic brine to get you started.
For large items such as whole turkeys or chickens, turkey breasts, and large cuts of meat.
Basic Large Brine:
1 gallon cold water
1/2 cup sugar (white or brown)
3/4 cup kosher or sea salt
Find a non-corrosive container that will hold your meat and brine. Mix sugar, salt and water in container until thoroughly dissolved. Add meat making sure meat is completely covered with brine, you may use a plate or other heavy item to hold the meat down. Place in refrigerator and keep refrigerated. When brining is complete, remove meat from the brine and rinse off excess salt. Discard brine.
For smaller items like chicken parts, pork chops, shrimp, etc, use a smaller brine like below.
Basic Small Brine:
4 cups cold water
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar (white or brown)
2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
Combine ingredients as above, for smaller items a zip-top plastic bag works well, squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing.
How long do I brine?
These times are a pretty good guideline but can be adjusted to suit your taste (the longer you brine the more salty the meat can be so you may want to experiment and adjust time and amount of salt to suit your taste).
Whole Chicken (4-5 Pounds) - 8 to 12 hours
Chicken Parts - 1-1/2 hours
Chicken Breasts - 1 hour
Whole Turkey - 24 to 48 hours
Turkey Breast - 5 to 10 hours
Cornish game hens - 2 hours
Shrimp - 30 minutes
Pork chops - 12 to 24 hours
Pork Tenderloin (whole) - 12 to 24 hour