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Old 02-14-2013, 08:15 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadster1200xl View Post
How does brining compare to marinating?
Brining uses a salt solution, a brine. It is not acidic and works by introducing the meat into a concentrated salt solution. In nature, all things seek to be equal. The salt water, or brine, is pulled into the cell tissue by a phenomenon called osmosis. This continues until the salinity is equal in the liquid, and in the chicken. Any other flavors, such as herbs and spices, also enter the meat tissue through the same process. The result is that the flavors of the brine, along with additional water, is in the meat before it's cooked.

Marinades are acidic mixtures that flavor the meat. They don't tenderize, as is sometimes believed. The acid in the marinade reacts with the proteins on the surface of the meat, causing them to curl up, or tighten. These proteins then act as a barrier to any further absorption of water, or flavors into the meat. marinades do add flavor to the very outer layer of the meat tissue.

One cooking technique involves slicing the meat into thin strips, and placing into a mixture of flavored brine, to which cornstarch, and an acidic ingredient are added. This flavors the meat, which is then poached in either 340' oil, or hot water (about 200' F.), until the meat is cooked through, and the cornstarch becomes opaque. Because the meat is just barely cooked through, it is very tender, and the cornstarch coating helps keep the natural juices from leaving the meat tissue.

Brines are used for enhancing meat flavors, and moistness, and are usually done for several hours, to a couple weeks. Corned beef and pastrami are examples of meats that have been brined for 14 days or greater.

Marinades do their work in 15 minutes to an hour or so.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:21 PM   #22
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Another thing you can do to add flavor is to cut a pocket into the meat before cooking. You can then stuff the pocket with all sorts of things. You can go as simple as herbs/spices mixed to a paste with olive oil, or you can do something like mixing parmesan and tomatoes and stuffing that into them, or fine chopped mushrooms and onions, or pineapple and sweet peppers. Chicken, especially the white meat, is kind of like bread in that it is a blank canvas that can hold a lot of different types of flavors.

If you stuff the breasts with something more substancial than herbs/spices, you will probably need to adjust the cooking time a little. Also, you wouldn't want to flatten the chicken much since it needs to be thick enough to make a pocket.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:14 PM   #23
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Along the same lines as what PAG said, purchase the breasts with the bone on. Take a finger and push it between the tenderloin and the main muscle to create the pocket. Then stuff it. You can then dip teh chicken in flour, egg wash, then breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven at 350' for about 45 minutes. Test with a meat thermometer.

If you want to get a little fancier, skin, then remove the meat from the bone. Save the small, tenderloin for another meal. Flatten the breasts. Fold the breast over either swiss cheese, and ham for Chicken Cordon Blieu, or fill with butter and fine herbs for Chicken Kiev. When the chicken is folded around the filling, dip in flour, then egg wash, then breadcrumbs and bake, again to an internal temp. of 160' F.

use the bones and skin to make chicken broth for gravies and soups, or fry the skins until browned and crisp. Lightly salt and serve up as cracklings.

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Old 02-15-2013, 06:43 PM   #24
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Thanks for the information about brines and marinades. It sounds like you use one or the other but not both?

I'm going to give marinades another try next as I was able to get the chicken fairly juicy by cooking it with lower heat. But it sounds like a flavored brine could be interesting, too.
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:40 PM   #25
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Great ideas here. Another way I sometimes do chicken breasts is to cut them into strips and marinade them in teriyaki. Then I thread them onto skewers and grill for only a few minutes. I think only eight or ten. Serve over rice with grilled onions and bell peppers.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:15 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadster1200xl View Post
Thanks for the information about brines and marinades. It sounds like you use one or the other but not both?

I'm going to give marinades another try next as I was able to get the chicken fairly juicy by cooking it with lower heat. But it sounds like a flavored brine could be interesting, too.
I use both, just not at the same time. It all depends on what I'm making. My spicy Smouldering Chicken recipe uses a marinade before the chicken goes on the grill. My BBQ turkey gets a brine. I've also been known to inject brine into whole birds, chicken and turkey.

I took, venison tenderloin and put it into a corning solution (read brine), and it came out wonderful. And I've cut pork, chicken, and beef and placed them into marinades before velveting them.

There are a good number of people around here that marinade their chicken in buttermilk, swearing that it gives them the best chicken ever. I'm not the guy to dispute that. I'm the guy who hears how to make something in a way that I haven't tried yet, and has to try it.

Both solutions have their uses in my kitchen. I just wanted to let you know the difference between the two.

If you discover a great way to make your chicken moist and juicy, then I say, great job.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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