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Kitchen Notes: Brining
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Runa
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 6:31 pm    Post subject: Poultry safe enough? Reply with quote

Here I can see that there are many mouth watering dishes that have been explained in detail which also includes the use of poultry. Now with the advent of the bird flu which I think all the others here are also well aware can it be regarded safe to take poultry in our diets? Moreover I came across a page in the internet http://www.drugdelivery.ca/s3353-s-TAMIFLU.aspx where the tamiflu drug the only one drug effective against the bird flu has been discussed, so do the poultries also required to be administered with this drug? or can we still enjoy our dishes?
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Guest
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:17 pm    Post subject: Brining- Container and Temperature Reply with quote

I've been brining the T'day bird for 7-8 years. I initially used a 5 gallon bucket, the familiar ex-dry compound container, and ziplock type bags of ice.
I replaced the bucket with a large Igloo cooler, the cyclinder model for liquids with spout at the bottom and a round lid that comes comepletely off; I think this is the 5 gallon model that you see at virtually every construction site, frequently mounted on a truck. I've had a 15# turkey in mine but I don't think I'd go much bigger.
Chill turkey and 3 gallons of supermarket drinking water to temperature in fridge; dump 2 gallons water in the cooler, mix your brine in the cooler, immerse turkey, top off with additional cold water if needed. Put cooler lid on and brine as long as you choose. It'll be just as cold after 12 hours.
I've never had any particular problem dissolving the brine in the chilled water; just have to stir like madd!
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eltonyo



Joined: 02 Nov 2005
Posts: 88
Location: WA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dunno... I have always been bothered by the explanations of brining and how they work "against" the natural laws of osmosis.

I have also tried several experiments in this regard, and can conclude nothing for certain.. (most people always "conclude" that their method of brining was a success, with no real statistical basis whatsoever, other than a severe "attitude" that their cooking is superior.... go figure that one!)

I have tried as little as 2 TBL of salt per half gallon of water, and have noted no real difference from using a half a cup!

I say the whole "brining" action is hogwash "relative" to just physically injecting your chicken with a salty/sweet fluid (i.e. apple juice, sugar, and spices), and not even bothering with the lengthy, and uncertain, arguments of brining. Hell... injecting is REAL (no "osmosis" required).... you can watch it swell, and bleed with juices. Brining is slow, and unpredictable based on Ph and timing.

I say "Inject" in lieu of brining. Brining is for old-school-die-hard-fools... (the same people who tell us to NOT season our meat before we cook it, cuz it will draw our the juices... all proven hogwash!)

And don't even get me started on the correct temperature to grill/roast a chicken... cuz that's the "real" science! (and i ain't tell'in!)

Want juices? ... I got your juices! Smile

p.s. You can show me all the hype and articles you want about brining, but all of the big time BBQ contest winners love to "inject". America loves the direct injection. (Any Turkey that is not "Plumped" with juices, is a loser when compared to others.... when taste tested... NO BRINING INVOLVED!)
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 11:56 pm    Post subject: Choice Tidbits from "On Food and Cooking" Reply with quote

pg 155 ff: "A 3% salt solution [...] dissolves parts of the protein structure that supports the contracting filaments, and a 5.5% solution [...] partly dissolves the filaments themselves. Second, the intereactions of salt and proteins result in a greater water-holding capacity in the muscle cells, which then absorb water from the brine."

150 g in 1 gallon of water is about 4.0% solution, 110 g is a 3% solution and 210 g is about 5.5%.
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MSE
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 12:47 am    Post subject: stainless + Cl = corrosion Reply with quote

Note that stainless steel does corrode in the presence of chlorine ions. Not sure if the amount of salt in brine is enough to do any real damage, but definitely sea water will.
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Steve



Joined: 04 Sep 2006
Posts: 1
Location: Lancaster, PA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 4:35 pm    Post subject: problems with brining hypothesis Reply with quote

I have also been bothered by the explanations normally given for how brining results in a moister piece of meat.
The biggest problem I see with what I will call the *osmotic hypothesis* is that a piece of meat is not encased in a semipermeable membrane. In the case of a whole bird the layer of skin may work as one, but chops certainly aren not encased in a membrane.
At the cellular level, cells are not dialysis bags. They have large numbers of channels that allow ions to move in and out. In a living cell the ionic gradient is preserved through pumps, pumps that do not work in a dead cell. Dead cells are very porous to ions even though their phospholipids bilayer may still be intact.
Also, I am unaware of a mechanism for salt to *break down* proteins, which sounds like proteolysis. Denaturing itself will not effect solute concentration, although opening a protein may expose regions to proteolytic attact that might otherwise be shielded. The presence of salt ions around proteins will likely partially denature the proteins (depending on ionic concentration and the protein itself); quaternary structure being the most likely to be affected, followed by tertiary and secondary structures. However I think it doubtful that primary structure is going to be affected by brining, that would not really be denaturing anymore but rather proteolysis. Contrast with the tenderizing effect of yogurt as in tandoori chicken. Dairy tenderizing is probably due to the calcium-dependant calpain proteolytic enzyme. In short, if salt broke down proteins the resulting piece of meat would be tenderized, not just juicier. I realize that many say that brined meats are more tender but I consider that to be from the increased water in the meat that makes it seem more tender. I have never known a brined meat to get over-tenderized as can happen with papain or yogurt marinades.
The actual reason why brining results in a moister piece of meat probably has less to do with 8th grade science class than most people think. Meats have space between its 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.
Steve
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Lintballoon



Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 42
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 11:14 am    Post subject: Brining and freezer burn Reply with quote

Hello,
I have some chops with freezer burn. I was wondering if brining the (lamb) chops would improve them. I am also thinking of grinding the meat and making a meatloaf with it.
Any advice?
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1629
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Brining and freezer burn Reply with quote

Lintballoon wrote:
I have some chops with freezer burn. I was wondering if brining the (lamb) chops would improve them. I am also thinking of grinding the meat and making a meatloaf with it.

Brining might improve them, but not to the point where you'll want to eat the burned parts. If you're going to grind it, then remove the burned areas and grind the parts that are still meat-like.
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Patrick
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Runa asked:

Quote:
Here I can see that there are many mouth watering dishes that have been explained in detail which also includes the use of poultry. Now with the advent of the bird flu which I think all the others here are also well aware can it be regarded safe to take poultry in our diets? Moreover I came across a page in the internet http://www.drugdelivery.ca/s3353-s-TAMIFLU.aspx where the tamiflu drug the only one drug effective against the bird flu has been discussed, so do the poultries also required to be administered with this drug? or can we still enjoy our dishes?


The concensus of essentially all food safety organizations is that there is no food safety risk from avian flu. The normal food safety precautions taken with poultry -- which are mainly aimed at eliminting bacteria rather than viruses-- would be sufficient to inactivate the virus, if it were present. Moreover, it is far from clear that orally consuming infected poultry would transmit to virus to humans. Most likely the virus, orally consumed, would simply be enzymatically destroyed before it could ever reach the target cells it specializes in infecting.
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Horst



Joined: 09 Feb 2007
Posts: 2
Location: Prague, Czech Republic

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 11:55 am    Post subject: brining for engineers Reply with quote

It's amazing what you do to your food before meal. Those rituals, those theories! We in the Wild East just chomp down what we caught and go on catching.

Nevertheless, what I remember from various 101's some 50 years ago:

(a) What salt? Anything but the road salt is just salt, differences being in the story on the label and on the price tag. Of course the Jew should not use the halaal salt and muslim the kosher variety but otherwise...

(b) What temperature when making the brine? Just what came from the tap. The salt (NaCl) is rather special that its solubility does not much change with temperature and is about 37 gm of salt per 100 gm of water, which is far beyond anything you need in the brine for your turkey. Heating up would speed up dissolving but will also ask for additional time to cool the brine.

(c) Brining theory: You may forget about membranes as regards water and salt alike. If you would brine long enough, you will get the same salt concentration in meat juice everywhere in the meat as in the brine, which won't be the original concentration of the brine but something lower (salt divided between the remaining brine and meat) satisfying the mass balance of your brining container. If you brine for shorter time, the "everywhere in the meat" part wouldn't have time enough to happen. Time to get reasonably close to this "infinity" changes in inverse proportion with the square of the meat slab thickness. Therefore 1 hour for the 3/4" chicken breast chop and 24 hours for the whole turkey.
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btavshan



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 8:05 pm    Post subject: "Mechanism" of Brining Reply with quote

Thinking from the point of view of my chemist's intuition, this is my conclusion about brining:

We all know that taking some sort of living tissue (or hands and feet) and soaking it in distilled water will make it swell because the concentration of solute is greater inside our cells than in distilled water. This is partly because our cells have high protein concentrations as well as active transport mechanisms which keep relatively high concentrations of salt inside our cells.

Now, cells maintain most protein-like constituents as large macromolecular complexes, mostly because this helps reduce the osmotic pressure they have to deal with. This is because osmotic pressure is a colligative property--meaning that it's determined by the total number of solute molecules ("molality") rather than their size (so a big complex of 20 different proteins counts only as "one" solute molecule).

As any biochemist will tell you, increasing salt concentrations interferes with protein-protein interactions needed to make macromolecular complexes (I think some people call this "denaturing", but that's not the normal sense in which denaturing is thought of, since salt usually leaves the tertiary structure of proteins intact). So in high salt, the effective "number" of proteins goes up, because the complexes dissociate (since there is no active transport anymore, salt can freely diffuse into the cells).

Note that the individual components of these complexes (proteins are typically larger than say, a few kilodaltons) are still too large to diffuse out of cells. Thus, treating with salt makes the solute concentration in cells go up, causing the net movement of water into the cell to be nonnegative.

The sort of salt concentration needed to see the dissociation effect biochemically is typically around 500mM salt concentration (150mM being roughly physiological). 150g salt in 1 gallon (3.78 L) is 680 mM.

Based off of this line of reasoning, it's apparent that soaking meat in plain distilled water would also cause a net uptake of H2O. Salt would just allow a greater water uptake.
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Lisa
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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 8:37 pm    Post subject: Brining for engineers Reply with quote

A fascinating discussion, all to help me understand the admittedly empirical and untheoretical observation that a brined turkey is a much tastier and more moist turkey (as supported by my unsuspecting blind-taste-tester family members, who don't even know what brining is).
Regarding the brine-temperature issue, I've found that saturating about 2 cups of freshly-boiled water with table salt (i.e. adding salt until no more dissolves), then adding this solution to enough cold tap water to just cover a 15 lbs turkey in a 5-gallon paint bucket, is plenty salty enough to adequately brine a turkey overnight. "Diluting" hot brine in cold water does not defeat the purpose, as some people have pointed out that salt only speeds up the process of moisture uptake. I've found this method an effective and speedy way of getting a cold solution for my turkey, for those who are impatient (like me) or in a hurry. Seems like it would work for making an injection solution as well.
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Nick Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:23 pm    Post subject: Using a Foodsaver for brining Reply with quote

If you want to speed up the brining process (or use less salt), use a Foodsaver (those vacuum machines with which you can make vacuum sealed bags or remove the air from containers.)

I used one a few times, and they work at frightening speed--a pound of chicken was brined in 20 minutes. I actually forgot to remove the chicken once and left it for an hour and it was inedibly salty.

The Foodsaver will do this with any marinade as well. Highly recommended.

nick@montrealfood.com
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Adam J
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 11:50 pm    Post subject: Cooling the Brine Reply with quote

I have the luxury of a bar-style beer cooler that I can use to cool my brines without worrying about bacteria & other foods... BUT... here's a quick and dirty method that I have used as recently as 30 minutes ago!

Throw some ice into a large, Ziplock bag and place it in your brining vessel off of the stove, after warming... of course). You can stir the brine around to speed up the process and you can repeat if the ice melts and you still need to reduce the temp. further. The liquid chills rapidly without adding more water to the mix.

Don't want to waste the bag? Dump the ice (now water) and add your chicken breasts, etc. Fill with brine and Zip 'er up!
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sherry
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:41 pm    Post subject: osmosis Reply with quote

osmosis moves things from HIGH to LOW concentration, down the concentration gradient. therefore this method makes perfect sense
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