All About…Brining

 

 

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Brining, or soaking food in heavily salted water, is a very old method for preserving and curing foods. The meat is submerged, for hours or days, depending on its weight, in a salt solution, and during this time osmosis occurs, increasing the amount of liquid inside the meat’s cells. The result is a juicier, more flavorful piece of meat. While brine is simply a mixture of water and salt, most brines are balanced by the addition of sugar and enhanced with herbs and spices.

Use a nonreactive container for brining, such as glass or stainless steel bowl or even a plastic bucket. The container must be large enough to submerge the odd bit completely in the brining solution, but small enough to fit in your refrigerator. Try to find one that is just wide enough to hold the meat–it the meat fits snugly in the container, you don’t have to add as much brine.

To estimate how much brine to make, place the odd bit you want to brine in the container and pour over enough cold water to cover. Remove the odd bit, then pour the water into a measuring jug. You can brine several odd bits in the same brine.

Your brining solution must be cold before you pour it over the meat, and you may have to weigh down the meat with a plate and a weight so it’s totally submerged. (I’ve found plastic containers filled with water or stones work well as weights.)

Cover the container with plastic and refrigerate for:
º 1/2 to 1 day for pork or lamb tongues
º 2 days for pig’s ears and tails
º 2 to 3 days for calf’s or beef tongue
º 2 to 3 days for split pig’s head and feet

When you remove the meat from the brine, rinse the meat well under cold water and discard the brine.

 

The information and recipe, contained within, is excerpted from Odd Bits by Jennifer McLagan and can be purchased here.

All-Purpose Brine

 

 

This recipe should make enough brine for half a pig’s head weighing 6 pounds; half the recipe will be enough for a beef tongue weighing 3 pounds or the equivalent weight of pork or lamb tongues.

 

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All-Purpose Brine


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  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: 1 Gallon 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

8 oz. Coarse Sea Salt

1 c. Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp. Toasted Coriander Seeds, crushed

1 Tbsp. Black Peppercorns, crushed

1/2 tsp. Allspice Berries, crushed

1/2 tsp. Juniper Berries, crushed

4 Cloves Garlic, crushed

4 Large Sprigs Fresh Thyme

4 Fresh Bay Leaves

1 gallon Water


Instructions

  1. Place the salt, sugar, coriander, peppercorns, allspice, juniper, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves in a saucepan.
  2. Add 8 cups of water, then place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  3. Pour into a glass container, add the remaining water and leave to cool completely.
  4. Now the brine is ready to use. Thoroughly rinse the odd bit to be brined, pat dry, and place in the brine following the recipe instructions.

Notes

See information about brining here.

The information and recipe, contained within, is excerpted from Odd Bits by Jennifer McLagan and can be purchased here.

Brine for Pork

 

 

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.

 

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Brine for Pork


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  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: Makes 1 Gallon 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

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


Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. Refrigerate the meat in the brine according to the individual recipe instructions.

Notes

The information and recipe, contained within, is excerpted from Bones by Jennifer McLagan and can be purchased here.

Making a Brine

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Making a Brine


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  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: 4 Quarts 1x

Description

You can use this brine to preserve many of the meats you will use. Some recommend saltpeter instead of sea salt; I feels it’s too ferocious.


Ingredients

Units Scale

2 c. Superfine Caster Sugar

2 1/4 c. Coarse Sea Salt

12 Juniper Berries

12 Cloves

12 Black Peppercorns

3 Bay Leaves

4 quarts Water


Instructions

Bring all the brine ingredients together in a pot, bring to a boil so that the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour into a container and allow to cool.

Once cooled, add your meat and leave to brine for a number of days (whatever the recipe calls for).

Even though the brine is a preserving process, we are celebrating its flavor-enhancing properties, so just in case these somewhat bacterially anxious days it is probably no bad thing to keep your brine and it’s contents in the fridge.

Notes

Your brine bucket, made of a non-corrodible substance, kept in the fridge, will become a nurtured friend whose character should improve with time and provide delicious results.

This excerpt is taken from The Whole Beast by Fergus Henderson, purchase the book here.

Turkey Brine Recipe

Turkey. How did it get to be a Thanksgiving thing, anyway?

Turns out my family isn’t over-fond of roast turkey. The stuffing in the turkey is great, but the turkey not so much.  To solve the problem, I’ve started cutting the turkey in pieces, brining and smoking it, and making stock of the bones.  Everyone’s happy and the whole turkey gets used and appreciated.

Brining a turkey (or chicken, for that matter) is really easy.  I’ll share my two favorite recipes. One is for a quick brine, the other is useful when I’m doing a quantity of meat at a time.  The wet brine is better for the less fatty poultry, but a little more time consuming compared to the dry brine.  Either way makes my family happy, though, and that’s what counts.

Enjoy!

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Turkey Brine Recipe (wet brine)


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  • Author: Jill Baker from Reader's Digest Back To Basics

Description

This is our all-time favorite recipe and is great for doing whole birds or a lot of parts. I make a double or triple recipe to do a lot of birds at once, then freeze them for smoking when we’re ready to eat them. Smoke is optional. They are great roasted or grilled, too.


Ingredients

Units Scale

3 gallons Water

3 lbs. Salt

3 1/2 c. Brown Sugar (about 1 1/2 lbs.)

2 Tbsp. Dill Weed

1 Tbsp. Onion Powder (or 1 quartered onion, peel and all)

1 Tbsp. Sage

6 Cloves

Ginger, nutmeg, paprika to taste (optional)


Instructions

Crush the clove and mix the salt, sugar, and spices in a pot with one gallon of water.

Boil mixture until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved.

Let mixture cool.  This can be hastened by adding the remaining two gallons of cold water.

With all the water added to the brine, add the meat. Submerge the bird(s) in the mixture and let it cure at 38-45 degrees.  The rule of thumb is one day for every two pounds.  Pieces generally need only 12 to 24 hours, whole birds will need one to two days depending on their size.

Rinse and allow meat to sit for a couple hours at a minimum, overnight if possible.

Freeze, or cook as desired.

 

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Turkey Brine Recipe (dry brine)


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  • Author: Jill Baker

Ingredients

Units Scale

1 c. Salt

1 c. Sugar

1 tsp. Garlic Powder (or granulated)

1 tsp. Smoked Paprika

1/2 tsp. Rubbed Sage

Pinch each of Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram, and/or Savory

Turkey or Chicken Pieces


Instructions

  1. Shake salt, sugar, and spices together in a ziplok bag.
  2. Rub mixture onto meat pieces so the meat is evenly covered.
  3. Place the meat in a bowl or bag such that as it makes it’s brine the liquid is kept around it.
  4. Allow to sit for at least a half hour, up to several hours.
  5. Rinse meat and allow to sit while the oven or grill heats.
  6. Cook meat until done. Enjoy!

Notes

Brine can be adjusted to your taste. The key part is the salt to sugar ratio of 1:1.

Leftover brine that hasn’t touched the meat can be saved for another day.