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Kitchen Notes: Brining
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msjayhawk
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:52 pm    Post subject: Brining Length Reply with quote

I typically brine a turkey in a solution a little less salty than seawater for 3-4 days. I use Zatarain's Seafood Boil Salt and Brown Sugar. Just wonderful.....
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:35 pm    Post subject: Brining a turkey with sugar Reply with quote

I read this entire thread thoroughly, and while someone mentioned brining a fish with the sugar did not ruin the fish, I am really interested in turkeys. I do not want to ruin our Thanksgiving turkey, so if anyone has brined their turkey with sugar (most basic recipes I have read are 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of sugar per 1 gallon of water) please tell me if the turkey tastes sweet. I don't really want a sweet turkey, nor an overly salty one, but a moist and tender turkey would be fabulous.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1626
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Brining a turkey with sugar Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
I do not want to ruin our Thanksgiving turkey, so if anyone has brined their turkey with sugar (most basic recipes I have read are 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of sugar per 1 gallon of water) please tell me if the turkey tastes sweet. I don't really want a sweet turkey, nor an overly salty one, but a moist and tender turkey would be fabulous.

I personally don't find the sugar necessary in the brine. I generally use 1 cup table salt to 1 gallon water concentration for about 4 hours for my turkeys.
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brad
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:18 pm    Post subject: brine process Reply with quote

I am using martha stewart recipe for brining from her website which consists of 3 cups salt,5 cups sugar,carrots,onions,celery,spices,and 10 cups water and let it soak immersed for 24 hours.sounds good,but my only concern is the after process off letting it sit for 2 hours at room temperature.I went through cooking school years back and remember the utmost important rule of cooking.4 hours meat sitting in temperatures between 40-140 degrees is a danger zone.and that doesnt mean 4 hours at one time,four consecutive hours.so my question to anyone is it just as fine to let it sit for the 2 hours after the brining is complete into the fridge?
happy thanksgiving all
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1011
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STOP! immediately check you sources.

the salt sugar water ratio is like way off the scale!

I'm not able to follow the logic of the question regarding time in the danger zone, but you should treat it as cumulative time. cold slows down bacterial growth - if you got a big colony of nastie baccies - re-refrigerating does not help....
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brad
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:51 pm    Post subject: recipe Reply with quote

i got the recipe here:

http://www.marthastewart.com/portal/site/mslo/menuitem.fc77a0dbc44dd1611e3bf410b5900aa0/?vgnextoid=017a40ee0c90f010VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=f76b0edafa588110VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD&rsc=menu_food&lnc=b4995e998467c110VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD



i dont know,hope its ok?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1011
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brad -

see also :http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/turkey-brine-from-living?lnc=5a79cf380e1dd010VgnVCM1000005b09a00aRCRD&rsc=recipecontent_food

3 cups of salt to 10 cups of water is extreme suspect.

more typically it's one cup salt to one gallon of water - something's very fishy there.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1626
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree... three cups (even if it's "coarse salt") is way too much salt for 10 cups of water and a 24 hour brine.
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TONY
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 11:28 pm    Post subject: When it gets too salty... Reply with quote

Just a thought, but my family used to get double cured hams that were extremely salty if cooked before they were soaked in fresh water overnight. If the meat is brined too long (and is now too salty) perhaps a resoaking in fresh water would save your meat.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does brining work for beef and other meats? Or Seafood?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1011
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>Does brining work for beef and other meats? Or Seafood?

from a technical standpoint, it should - I've never heard anything to indicate chicken meat cells are vastly different from other meat cells and so "it doesn't work" . . .

the question might be: "why?" poultry is selectively bred to be very lean - that lack of fat in the meat can result in dryness when cooked.

fish have natural oils, some species more than others, which keeps them moister (when not over cooked) and even lean beef has more fat that chicken. pork is one that can get dry.

marinating beef / pork is not uncommon - typically for "flavor" but marinates usually have a salt component, the liquids usually are acid based but do contain water. one could argue as to whether a marinate is not also "brining" the meat.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it's worth, increasing the temperature of the water to make sodium chloride dissolve more doesn't work because its solubility doesn't increase with increasing temperature:

http://www.sci-journal.org/reports/vol3no2/v3n2a5.html

Having said that, heating the water may make it dissolve a little faster, but then you have to cool it off again. I just made a gallon of cold brine by using 7/8 of a gallon of room temperature water to dissolve the 150 gm of salt and then adding a pound of ice cubes after the salt had dissolved. Adding the ice later only meant that it was easier to see when the salt had dissolved...

The salt dissolved quite quickly in the room temperature water. Interestingly, as the salt dissolved, the water became cloudy as a result of gases dissolved in the water coming out of solution. This occurs because the solubility of gases in water decreases with increasing salinity.

aloha,

Dave Hurd
Hilo, Hawaii
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1011
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fascinating.

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/candy/sugar.html

/quote
When you add sugar to water, the sugar crystals dissolve and the sugar goes into solution. But you canít dissolve an infinite amount of sugar into a fixed volume of water. When as much sugar has been dissolved into a solution as possible, the solution is said to be saturated.

The saturation point is different at different temperatures. The higher the temperature, the more sugar that can be held in solution.
/unquote

http://chiralpublishing.com/Bishop_supersaturated.htm
http://www.scienceclarified.com/Ro-Sp/Solution.html

http://www.chemtutor.com/solution.htm
/q
Usually as you increase the temperature, an increased amount of solute will be able to dissolve.
/uq
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Diablo
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:20 am    Post subject: Thank you Reply with quote

Many thanks for this post. Finally a place that explains cooking and satisfies my questions.

And thanks for providing this site, I'd like to brine my mind with its contents...
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RLWallace



Joined: 31 Mar 2009
Posts: 1
Location: New York, New York

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:36 pm    Post subject: Brining and pseudo-moistness Reply with quote

The basic premise of brining is that the salt in the brine denatures meat protein, making brined meat more moisture-retentive. After the brine diffuses into the intercellular spaces, it drains water out of the cells by osmosis. That increases the concentration (not the number) of dissolved salt ions inside the cells, which causes the protein molecules to unfold. The protein matrix traps and holds the remaining cellular water, so it isn't squeezed out as soon by the heat of cooking.

A second thesis [main article, paras. 4-6; 5/28/07 comment] claims that the brine increases the number of intracellular solutes, thereby reversing the original osmotic flow and resulting in a net increase in moisture content. This theory assumes that the "broken down" intracellular solutes increase to the point where they actually exceed the intercellular solutes, including those from the brine. If, instead, the solutes outside the cell walls still outnumber those inside, the osmotic flow out of the cells would continue, though its rate might slow down.

(Parenthetically, are there any quantitative experimental data supporting this second theory [cf. 7/5/06 comment]? More particularly, how long would it take for any "reverse flow" to offset the initial osmotic dehydration? Though its advocates claim that brining requires as little as 30 minutes of refrigerated soaking, it's hard to believe that the initial diffusion, even, would penetrate very far in that time. Have there been experiments with brines containing dyes or other markers?)

Yet even assuming one or both of these mechanisms, so what? A large part of the brining liquid ends up in the intercellular spaces, or in gaps between muscles or under the skin. ("Meats have space between [their] constituent parts where water and salt can collect. A piece of cloth dropped in a salt water bath will come out moist and salty without the benefit of a semi-permeable membrane or denatured proteins" [9/4/06 comment].) But during cooking, this liquid is the first to go, at temperatures as low as 120F -- well below the target temperatures for brined meats like turkey or pork. If you're used to turkey that's absolutely desiccated, anything would be an improvement, even breast meat whose remaining juices run out as it's carved -- at least it looks moist, the same way a sidewalk sprayed with water looks wet. But if all you want is meat coated with liquid, a sauce is a more direct, more controlled, and much easier way to get it.

For something better than that, brining's promise of greater intracellular water retention may be the truth, but it's not the whole truth. Away from the lab, what counts is juiciness as you're chewing the meat, not numerical moisture content. For example, even with its maximum natural moisture, raw meat like sashimi is rubbery, not juicy; it doesn't really taste moist. So too with brined meat: the salt denatures the meat protein, just as baking a custard denatures the egg protein; and like a baked custard, brined meat may hold appreciable added liquid without feeling any more moist in the mouth. The very mechanism that retains the liquid converts it into a semisolid. Cook's Illustrated / America's Test Kitchen, longtime purveyors of brining pop science, compare brined meat to "water-added" pork products like frankfurters, and that is exactly the effect of brining: the "better" it works, the more it transforms the juiciness of unbrined meat into the rubberiness of a hot dog. Less than that, and it mostly just adds salt.

For some meats in some long-cooked applications like barbecue, brining may have a place. Otherwise, it's utterly unnecessary. Simply put, what causes dry meat is overcooking, not a deficiency of water or salt in the raw meat; and the cure is simply to cook the meat a shorter time, to a lower internal temperature. With turkey, the traditional methods (frequent basting, covering the breast with cheesecloth) can produce a bird with pink, pliable, moist, and rich-tasting breast meat -- and no over-salty pan drippings. Unbrined boneless chicken breasts are easily cooked (about 3 minutes on the first side, 2 minutes on the second) until they feel pliable but resilient when prodded with a fingertip. (Or, for cold salads or sandwiches, whole bone-in breasts can be "oven poached" for around 45 minutes at 300F.) And for pork, brining is just plain silly: Modern pork is bred to be lean and moist instead of fatty, and cryovac packing makes it damper still; an unbrined 1-inch boneless pork chop (pan-browned 3 minutes on the first side, then turned over and roasted 9 minutes at 325F) is already so juicy that I have to make the accompanying sauce thicker than usual to compensate for the liquid that comes out as I cut into the chop.

In the end, while some people report moister meats after brining, I suspect this is an artifact; my guess is that they either use an updated recipe with shorter cooking times, or simply pay closer attention to how the cooking is coming along. Or there may be a placebo effect. Anyway, most panaceas are suspect, and this one should be no exception. Brining is modern-day snake-oil.
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