What is the best ratio of water,salt, and sugar for brining 3-4 chicken breasts?!
The only thing that is necessary in a brine is salt and water. The other items (sugar, herbs, spices) are not necessary and have very little impact on flavor. I used to add these items but found them to be a waste of time. The ratio is 1 cup kosher salt to 1 gallon water. If you use another salt then use less (3/4 cup of sea salt or table salt) because kosher salt weighs less by volume than other salt because of the shape of the salt.
In terms of how much to use, as long as you cover the meat, you have enough. I'm sure 1 quart will be sufficient if you are talking about boneless breasts. If you are talking about bone-in breasts, perhaps 1/2 gallon will be needed.
Basic poultry brine recipe:
1 gallon cold water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
Spices, herbs and other flavors (chopped onion, garlic, celery, etc.) are all fair game.
Use your favorites, don't overdo it. Find a good recipe for more guidance.
Bring 1/2 gallon of the water, the salt and sugar to boil, stir until completely dissolved.
Remove from heat, add flavorings, cover and allow to cool completely.
Add the remaining 1/2 gallon of water.
Refrigerate to below 40 degrees Fahrenheit before adding chicken.
I'd use white wine if you have it, in addition to or instead of water. For 3-4 half chicken breasts, plan on 2 cups liquid, 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup sugar and ground peppercorn. If you have whole breasts, double the amount. You might also include the juice from 1-2 lemons or applejuice for added flavor.
Mark is right. You only need salt and water. You will need about 2 quarts water and 1/2 cup kosher salt. Brine for 1-5 hours.