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Old 08-06-2009, 11:58 AM   #11
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Oops - it took me so long to type up my post, I didn't see that Scotch already posted the link! Sorry! *blushes

I wanted to add another thought too - you never want to brine a piece of meat that has already been "flavor enhanced" or injected with a sodium solution. This is especially important to watch out for with turkeys. Brining "enhanced" meat will definitely leave you with a salty mess.

Speaking of that, if you're hosting Thanksgiving or some other holiday this year - try brining your turkey. Alton Brown's turkey brining recipe is awesome. A friend of mine uses apple cider instead of veggie stock in the recipe. I use half cider, half stock. Yum! His method is wonderful too. The video is worth a watch.

PS - thank GB! Hope you like it! :)
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by GB View Post
Arky that is completely incorrect. Brining is not for preservation. You are not using enough salt to preserve and you are introducing [b]more[/i] liquid to the meat which would work against preservation. You also would never soak a brined piece of meat in fresh water as that would undo exactly what you did with the brine so it would be pointless. The most you would do is quickly rinse the surface of the meat off before cooking, but even that I never bother with.

Brining is done for two reasons. It is done to add flavor and it is done to add moisture. Chicken and pork are the most commonly brined pieces of meat, but there are others that benefit from brining as well.

Brining introduces flavor throughout the entire piece of meat, while marinading only penetrates the first 1/8 of an inch of the meat. That is not to say that marinating is not a good thing to do. It does add flavor, but not as completely as brining and not in the same way. I am not sure where you are getting your information that brined chicken recipes are primarily from regions of the world that lack refridgeration. I am guessing you have brining confused with something else since brining also does not make meat more tender. Quite the opposite actually. As a matter of fact, one of the dangers of brining is that if you over brine by either using too much salt or letting the meat sit in the brine for too long (or both) then the meat gets spongy which is not that great of a texture to have in your meat. It is anything, but tough though.

marcmanaois, if your chicken came out too salty then there are a few things to consider.

1. You used too much salt in your brine. Next time cut back on the amount of salt.
2. You left the meat in the brine too long so it soaked up more salt than it needed. Next time cut back on the amount of time the meat is in the brine.
3. Did your marinade also have salt in it? If so, skip the salt in the marinade next time or better yet, either brine or marinade, but don't do both.

Brining is not a necessary step to take, but if you are like me (and it sounds like you are) then you like what brining does for your meat. It flavors it from the inside out and also adds moisture so it is harder to overcook the meat. Even if you do overcook it, it will still be juicy and tender. You could always skip brining though if you feel it will combine with the marinade to give your chicken a too salty taste.

When I brine chicken breasts I make the water about as salty as the ocean (maybe a hair less). I describe it as pleasantly salty, meaning you should be able to take a sip and not feel like you need to spit it out right away. I leave the breasts in the brine for 2 hours. I would go 3 max, but definitely no longer than 3. I find two to be ideal though.

Do NOT soak your meat in fresh water after a brine though as that will undo what you just did. brining works by osmosis. When you put the chicken in the salt water, the salt water travels into the meat so that the salinity is equal on both the inside of the chicken and the water. If you were to put a brined chicken in fresh water then the salinity would be greater inside the chicken so the salt water would be replaced with fresh water as the salt water is sucked out of the chicken. So after all that time waiting to get the salt in you are just taking it out. What would be the point in that?
yup the brining was good, the only idiotic thing I did was when I marinated the meat I did salt it again.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:54 PM   #13
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apple*tart, in my early teens I remember working in my grandfather's butcher shop/meat locker in Illinois. (Those were days when farmers usually had a second job or business.) I recall preparing the brining barrels for hams and cycling them in and out. Brining, under those circumstances, never impressed me. I much preferred cold smoked meat (ham, beef, venison and sometimes a turkey) for a rich flavor. As a treat I'd sometimes get the cracklins off the ham as it hung in the hot smoke shed. Now, I've done some marinading, particularly on tough cuts, but I think I'll leave the brining to you. I really have to watch my salt intake, but your method does sound interesting in a culinary way. With that much lime juice and the cilantro, it sounds like you're making seviche-like mix.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:56 PM   #14
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If I'm not mistaken, Brining is a way of preserving meat or vegetables (to slow them from going bad because bacteria don't like salt.) And generally, when preparing a brined meat it is customary to soak it in fresh water to remove the salt before cooking.

On the other hand, Marinading in a solution of herbs, or spices, or juices (such as lemon or pineapple) soak into the meat for flavor. Most marinades should not be rinsed off before cooking (there is always an exception.)

Chicken does not normally need to be brined, although there are brined chicken recipes, primarily from regions of the world that lack refrigeration, but you risk making a very salty chicken and it actually takes longer to cook. Brining also makes the meat tougher instead of being tender.

I would ask myself the question, "What is it I want to add to the flavor and texture of the chicken that I'm serving?"

In any event, a short soak in fresh water (about 15-20 minutes) should solve your problem.
I think you were referring to curing as preservation. :D
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Now, I've done some marinading, particularly on tough cuts, but I think I'll leave the brining to you. I really have to watch my salt intake, but your method does sound interesting in a culinary way. With that much lime juice and the cilantro, it sounds like you're making seviche-like mix.
Brining may not be for you if you're watching your salt intake; although if you take a look at the science of brining, most of the salt is carried back out of the chicken over the course of the brine process. <begin nerdiness> Cooks Illustrated sent samples of brined chicken and pork, as well as "enhanced" pork and kosher chicken, to a lab to test the sodium content. They wanted to find out how much of the salt remained in the meat after brining. The brined pork actually contained less salt than the "enhanced" pork (245 mg per 100 g of brined pork to 268 mg per 100 g of enhanced pork). The brined chicken had more sodium than the kosher chicken, but still only had 353 mg sodium per 100 g of chicken. That works out to be around 1/8 tsp per 100 g of chicken, or about 1/2 tsp in a pound of chicken. </nerdiness>

I never thought about the cilantro lime brine being like ceviche! Which I only heard of recently, actually, since I live in a decidedly fresh-water state. The lime juice ends up being watered down to less than 50% of the liquid, and then of course the chicken is cooked. But then, raw chicken makes me , lol. I even use food handling gloves when I touch it. I'm weird, I know.
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