Season the Chicken With Salt Before Freezing to Make the Meat Juicier.
If you ever buy chicken and freeze it to use later, here’s a simple trick that’s better than brine for juicier meat: Salt the chicken before freezing it.
Cook’s Illustrated conducted an experiment comparing moisture loss before and after freezing. Without salting and salting, the chicken lost 22% moisture during cooking. When salted before freezing, it lost 15% of its moisture. The best method was salting before freezing with a moisture loss of only 11%.
Processing the chicken before freezing works better than after it because it gives the salt extra time to do its job – while the meat is freezing and then again during thawing. Salting chicken before freezing is better than brine because salting produces a more concentrated brine on the surface of the meat, allowing more salt to enter the meat. The higher salt concentration in meat allows it to retain more moisture (at least up to a certain limit; concentrations above a certain amount can actually have a negative effect).
All you need to do is sprinkle the chicken with kosher salt, refrigerate it for an hour, then dry, wrap and freeze.
It’s good to know the next time you buy chicken in bulk at Costco, or cut the chicken to freeze some parts for later.