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Binder for Chicken: The 4 Best Options

Binder for Chicken: The 4 Best Options

When it comes to finding the best binder for chicken in barbecue, there are several options to choose from. While mustard is a common choice for most meats, it is not typically used for chicken. Instead, water, cooking oil, hot sauce, or pickle juice are popular binders that help keep the dry rub on the meat and prevent it from falling off. These binders are often water or vinegar-based, which means they vaporize during cooking and do not leave a noticeable taste.

For chicken, many barbecue enthusiasts prefer using water as a binder. It is simple and readily available. Another option is a thin coat of cooking oil like extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), especially if the chicken has skin on. Oil helps to brown and crisp up the skin while keeping the meat moist. Hot sauce is another popular choice as a binder for chicken due to its affordability and vinegar base. However, the flavors in hot sauce or pickle juice are not usually detectable after cooking.

Why are Binders Used in Barbecue?

Why are Binders Used in Barbecue?

Binders are used in barbecue to adhere dry rub to meat. They help to keep the dry rub from falling off the meat, especially in the case of chicken which has non-homogeneous parts like drums, thighs, and wings. The most common binder in barbecue is mustard, but for chicken, water, cooking oil, hot sauce, or pickle juice are often used instead. Binders are typically water or vinegar-based liquids that vaporize during cooking and do not leave any perceptible taste on the meat.

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The purpose of using a binder is not necessarily to add flavor, but rather to ensure that the dry rub stays on the meat. Water and cooking oil are commonly used as binders for chicken. Oil can also help in browning the skin and making it crispy. Hot sauce, similar to mustard, is cheap and vinegar-based, providing both spicy and savory notes without overpowering the taste of the meat. Pickle juice is another popular binder for chicken and is often combined with mustard to thin it out.

Binders for Chicken

In barbecue, binders are used to adhere dry rub to meat and help keep it from falling off during cooking. While mustard is a common binder in barbecue, it is not often used for chicken. Instead, water, cooking oil, hot sauce, or pickle juice are popular options for chicken. These binders help to keep the dry rub on the meat, especially on parts like drums, thighs, and wings that are less homogeneous in texture.

Most binders used in barbecue are water or vinegar-based and vaporize during cooking, leaving no taste. Mustard is a popular choice because it is cheap and vinegar-based. However, when it comes to chicken, many people prefer using water or a thin coat of cooking oil like EVOO as binders. If the chicken has skin-on, using oil helps to achieve crispy skin while keeping the meat moist and tender.

Water or No Binder

Using water as a binder for chicken is a simple and cost-effective option. It helps to keep the dry rub on the meat, preventing it from falling off during cooking. Water is vaporized during the cooking process and does not leave any taste on the meat. Another advantage of using water as a binder is that it does not add any additional flavors to interfere with the taste of the chicken.

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Alternatively, you can choose to not use any binder at all. This is a viable option if you prefer to let the dry rub adhere naturally to the chicken without any added liquid. However, it’s important to note that without a binder, there is a slightly higher risk of the dry rub falling off during cooking, especially on parts of the chicken with uneven surfaces like drums, thighs, and wings.

Some Form of Cooking Oil

When it comes to using a binder for chicken, cooking oil is likely the most popular option. Chicken is typically cooked at a higher temperature, so using a cooking oil helps to keep the dry rub on the meat and prevent it from falling off. One common choice is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), but it tends to be expensive. If cost is a concern, other types of cooking oils like vegetable or canola oil can also be used as binders.

Using cooking oil as a binder not only helps with adherence but also adds flavor and aids in browning the skin. For those who prefer crispy skin and moist/tender meat, using EVOO can help achieve that desired texture. However, if the goal is simply to keep the dry rub on the meat without affecting the texture too much, any type of cooking oil will work effectively.

In summary, some form of cooking oil is commonly used as a binder for chicken in barbecue. Whether it’s expensive EVOO or more affordable options like vegetable or canola oil, using a small amount of cooking oil helps to adhere the dry rub and enhance flavor during cooking.

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Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is a popular binder option for chicken in barbecue. It is cheap and vinegar-based, making it an effective choice to help adhere the dry rub to the meat. In regions like New Hampshire, hot sauces like Frank’s Red Hot or Tabasco are commonly used. When the hot sauce is applied to the chicken, the water and distilled vinegar within it are vaporized during cooking, leaving behind spicy and savory flavors on the meat. However, it’s important to note that there isn’t enough aged cayenne in the mixture to be strongly tasted. Hot sauce as a binder is often used in barbecue restaurants where they repurpose pickle juice as their binder, combining it with mustard to thin out the consistency of the mustard.

Pickle Juice

Pickle juice is a popular binder option for chicken in barbecue. It is commonly used in combination with mustard to thin out the mustard and create a tangy and flavorful binder. Pickle juice, like other binders, helps to keep the dry rub on the meat and prevents it from falling off during cooking. It is often used by barbecue restaurants as a way to repurpose leftover pickle juice instead of disposing of it. The flavors of pickle juice, including sea salt and turmeric, are vaporized during cooking and do not leave any noticeable taste on the meat.

In conclusion, binders for chicken play a crucial role in enhancing flavor, tenderness, and juiciness while providing structure during cooking. With a wide range of options available, such as marinades, brines, and batters, these binders offer endless possibilities to elevate your chicken dishes to new heights. So go ahead and explore the world of binders for chicken to create mouthwatering meals that will impress your family and guests alike.

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