Lean proteins like poultry, pork, and seafood benefit when you are subjecting them to the high heat of frying or grilling, or you are cooking them for a prolonged period of time in a dry environment—like a whole Thanksgiving turkey, for example.
One of the very best things to brine is chicken parts for frying. Soaking chicken pieces in a salty buttermilk brine ensures the chicken is highly seasoned and stays juicy even after being blasted by the hot oil.
Likewise, brining pork tenderloin, which is extremely lean, in a salty-sweet brine is the ideal insurance for keeping it moist and juicy on the hot grill.
Unlike salt, using sugar in a brine doesn’t change the meat’s texture, but it can be used to add flavor and promote better browning.