Although brining, soaking food in a heavily slated water, has been heralded as a new way to impart flavor to today’s lean pork, it is really a very old method used for preserving foods. When the meat is submerged, for hours or as long as a day or two, depending on its weight, in a salt solution, osmosis takes place, which increases the amount of liquid inside the meat’s cells. The result is a juicier, more flavorful piece of meat.
While a basic brine is simply a mixture of water and salt, most brines are balanced by the addition of sugar, and they can, like this one, be further enhanced with herbs and spices. Use a nonreactive container for brining, such as a glass or stainless steel bowl or even a plastic bucket, the container must be large enough to submerge the meat completely in the brining solution. This recipe makes enough brine for a crown roast of pork; it can easily be halved for brining a smaller piece of meat.
Follow the instructions for the recipe being used as brining times depends on the size and shape of the cut. Ensure the brining solution is cold before adding the meat.
1 c. Kosher Salt
1/2 c. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Coriander Seeds, crushed
1 Tbsp. Black Peppercorns, crushed
8 Allspice Berries, crushed
6 Juniper Berries, crushed
4 Garlic Cloves, crushed
4 Bay Leaves, crushed
4 Thyme Sprigs
- Put the salt, sugar, and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Boil for 1 minute, them remove from the heat and pour into the brining container. Add the coriander seeds, peppercorns, allspice, and juniper berries, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme, and pour in 12 c. cold water.
- Once the brining solution is completely cool, add the meat. To submerge the meat, weigh it down using a plate and a jar filled with water. (Do not use a metal weight or jar with a metal lid, as it would react with the brine.)
- Refrigerate the meat in the brine according to the individual recipe instructions.
The information and recipe, contained within, is excerpted from Bones by Jennifer McLagan and can be purchased here.