– Jean Fisher
Instructions and timetable for soaking meat in brine solution.
Soak in a Brine Solution for Juicy and Tender Meat
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Brining is the process of soaking meat in a solution of salt water. Meat that has been brined retains more moisture during cooking. In addition, the brine solution has a denaturing effect on the protein in the meat, tenderizing as it plumps.
As the meat soaks in the salt water, chemical processes cause the salty fluid to move through the tisues of the meat. The salt reacts with the protein in the tissues causing them to break down, or denature. The denatured proteins have a greater capacity to absorb water. The result is meat more tender and juicy after cooking.
A basic ratio for a brine solution is 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of sugar. Adjust accordingly for larger or smalller cuts of meat.
The sugar is added to reduce the saltiness of the meat after cooking. Other ingredients can be added to the brine solution to bring flavor to your meat. Fresh or dried herbs, onion, garlic and peppercorns are some suggestions for enhancing your brine solution.
Heat half the water to boiling while stirring in salt and sugar until completely dissolved. Add desired herbs and flavorings, cover and allow to cool to room temperature. Add remaining water and place in refrigerator. Allow to cool 30 minutes before adding meat.
The meat should be completely submerged in the brining solution. For small cuts of meat, zip-lock bags work well.
The length of time to soak meat in a brine solution depends both on the size of the cut and the type of meat. Larger cuts require more time for the chemical processes to take place, porous meats can become too salty.
Do not reuse a brine solution. Meat that has been brined requires less cooking time. Brined meats are perfect for grilling or roasting.