Extract all the flavor you can from your meat and poultry.

There’s an advantage to beginning your culinary adventures a few days in advice, particularly if we’re talking poultry or meat. Chicken, pork chops, and briskets gain tenderness and flavor from being brined prior to roasting, grilling, or frying. And brining a turkey, for example, delivers a crisp skin and tender meat throughout.

To make sure your meats are as tender as possible, we’ve rounded up our favorite brine recipes to use for your holiday turkeys and simple weeknight dinners. Brining pork chops in a mix of peppercorns, brown sugar, and fresh rosemary overnight will infuse flavor into every bite. Chicken breasts can be soaked in a white wine braise a day before grilling to be cooked to perfection.

If you don’t have time to brine your meat or poultry before cooking, you can still impart some extra flavor by braising it for a few hours instead. Braises require low and slow cooking either on the stove or in the oven, and leaves the meat so tender that it falls off the bone. 

You can braise with wine, stock, or water and enhance the technique even more with the addition of fresh aromatics. Cuts like short ribs, brisket, and chicken thighs respond well to long braises and make for an easy dinner that doesn’t need to be tended to while it cooks. While you might not want to braise a bird whole (though we have a foolproof method to braise a whole turkey from frozen if you’re in a hurry), you can quarter and nestle it into a dutch oven, which saves you the step of carving later on. 

Some of our favorite simple braising combinations are garlic, thyme, umami, or molasses spice mixes. Keeping different blends on hand allows for easy and flavorful proteins every time. Find some of our favorites below. 

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