Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Brine... It Isn't Just For the Salty Old Sea, Anymore

Good morning, lovebugs. It is a cloudy, clammy Monsoon Morning, here. And while I am loving the occasional rain, this humidity is driving me absolutely batshit! On a stick.

Brining is a method of infusing meat that would ordinarily become very dry and chewy, like white meat chicken and turkey with flavour and moisture so that it cooks up much more tender and juicy. Now, a word of warning here, raindrops; (I stole that one from Draz ;)) brining does infuse a good bit of salt into the meat so if you are a lo sodium type of person, brining isn't for you. Brining works because salt, in suspension in water is able to actually pass through and penetrate the fibers of the muscle tissue, filling it with moisture. There is probably a scientific term for it but I am not familiar with it.

Anyhoozle, brining is easy as being pushed off your chair. And it doesn't take a lot of ingredients. Here is how I make mine. Oh, another word of warning: when I cook, I don't measure. Anything. Just about ever. I just throw shit together and hope for the best. Probably one reason why I am not much of a cook... ;) lol

In a largish mixing bowl, preferably glass, ceramic or enameled metal combine about a cup or so of very, very hot water, some regular table salt, a few tablespoons-ish, I toss in some seasoned salt, probably in the neighbourhood of a tablespoon or so and stir them to dissolve. Then I add the juice of a lemon or two, a few good shakes of soy sauce, a few good dashes of Tabasco and a handful of dried onion flakes or about a half a fresh onion, grated and grind in some fresh cracked black pepper. Add cold water and ice to cool the mixture and bring it to the level that it will completely cover the meat you are brining. It is essential that the brine be very cold and that all of the meat will be fully immersed.

Add the meat, making sure it is down in all the way and cover and toss it in the fridge. You will want to leave it in there for at least an hour. The longer, the better. I brined my latest chicken overnight and wow! The juiciness. Then, when you are ready to cook your meat in your manner of choice, just pick it out with tongs, let it drain a bit and fire it up. Throw the brine away, it is not reusable. If you don't want to brine in a bowl, you can also use gallon size zipper food bags. Just be sure to push out as much if the air as possible and flip the bag at least once, about halfway through the brining process. Oh! And don't forget to lay it in a large, high sided baking pan before putting it in your fridge. You don't want raw chicken juices dripping on your salad greens... *puke*

You can add any seasonings, herbs, spices, you like. I would put in a ton of garlic, if Husband weren't so anti garlic. You can add orange juice, lime, whatever. The sky and your imagination are the limit, here. Play with it and see what makes your taste buds go "Oh, yeah!" I mostly grill my chicken, but brining works for baking, broiling and frying, too. Done on a larger scale, brining transports your Thanksgiving turkey from just good to fabulous. :D

I hope that you will give brining a try.

Is that anything like giving peas a chance?

Are you thinking it is time to haul my ass off the stage with that big hook thingy?


Can I just say, "Thank God for spell check?"

11 comments:

  1. Very nice. An easier way to brine...
    Buy Kosher...It is already brined... Secret....

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  2. I'll have to give that a try one day; I'd like to try it with chicken.

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  3. I have a recipe for Coffee-Brined Chicken Legs that was AWESOME. That is my only experience with brining but the chicken turned out so tender and moist that it is one of my favorite recipes. I'd forgotten about it until I read your post. I think I will add that to the shopping list for next week!

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Sorry, had to delete first comment.....had a typo and I couldn't stand it.... Thanks for the simple instructions, it sounds so easy! I will definitely give this a try as soon as I get some of my chaotic mess cleaned up! Have you done it on any other meats besides chicken and turkey?

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  6. I have never tried this, but I am game for anything that will make meat more tender. Thanks for the tip

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  7. Sounds good. I bet it would work great for chicken in our solar oven too. YUM! Only danger is, if it's too tasty, I will have a hard time remembering to stop before I am full.

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  8. Thanks to you and thanks to allan, I am going to go buy me a kosher chicken
    la chaim.

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  9. I have only tried it on chicken and turkey. I hear it is fab for white meat pork, too.

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  10. This sounds delish! Definitely going to try it next week. Will let you know how it turns out. Thank you so much for posting about this!!

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  11. Oh I do love peas. Now you have me wondering about using pickle juice. Don't ask me why...it just sounds like it might be good...

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