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Old 07-10-2013, 09:34 PM   #1
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Brine flavor

I'm interested in getting some feedback on the brines that I make. I've brined pork shoulder, chicken, and brisket. The brine is usually something simple like 1/4 C salt to a gallon of water.

All of these foods have gone on the grill and they all tend to taste the same. They all have a very strong ham quality to them. I'm wondering if I can keep grill foods interesting, moist, and step away from everything tasting like ham.
I'm curious if adding other flavors to the brine will help or if I should look into buying an injector and a mop for sauce.

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Old 07-10-2013, 09:43 PM   #2
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The correct ratio is more like 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salt to a quart of water. You should also use a similar amount of sugar. Smaller items like chicken should be brined for a couple of hours. A pork shoulder, if you brine it at all, should be brined for 6-8 hours. Beef isn't usually brined.

Brining too long can give your food a ham like flavor.

You can add seasonings like pepperorns, bay leaves, thyme, etc for flavor.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:52 PM   #3
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I've gone easy on the salt and usually go for the same times you've mentioned above. I've also tried the ratios (quadrupling the amount of salt) mentioned above with similar results. I've tried with and without sugar and I don't taste much of a difference.

The brisket was brined because I made corned beef with half the brisket and pastrami with the other half.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:26 PM   #4
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Like Andy points out, the correct ratio of a brine contains a lot more salt.

It's a cup of kosher salt to a gallon of water.

Brines don't work chemically unless you use sufficient salt. Quick brines use even more than a cup.

So it's sort of pointless to use 1/4 cup to a gallon.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:27 PM   #5
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Pointless even if everything I do tastes like ham already?
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:28 PM   #6
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Me too, 1 cup to a gallon.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:31 PM   #7
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I have no idea why it tastes like ham.

But brining is about chemistry. It doesn't work without enough salt.

The correct ratio is a cup of kosher salt to a gallon if water. I usually add about 1/4 cup of brown sugar. It's also tasty to sub a bit of the salt with soy sauce
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:41 PM   #8
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Great idea. I'll try subbing other things in and see what I get. :)
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:44 PM   #9
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Try throwing in some sliced up oranges and/or lemons to give the meat a different flavor.
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