Originally Posted by Kayelle
Actually I always brine my pork chops and this seems to be a waterless brine. I wonder if there's any noticeable difference in the end product.
Salt is hygroscopic and is used to draw moisture out of foods. That is why Kosher salt is used to make meats Kosher. The salt draws blood (fluids) from the meat.
That being said, if a little salt is used, or a brine is used, the salt will be dissolved in water. There will be a greater concentration of salt water outside the meat than inside. Osmotic pressure will cause the salt water to be drawn into the meat until the concentration inside and out is equal.
Again though, if too much salt is used, as in a dry rub, it will draw water out of the meat, making it less juicy.
So the answer to your question is, dry salt applied to the meat will, over time, be drawn into the meat, if used sparingly. Brine solutions will actually hydrate the meat as the inside concentrations of brine and tissue fluids equalize.
Salt added for twenty minutes or more, before cooking, will season the meat more thoroughly that salting during cooking. Brining will do the same. Only brining can add moisture to the meat. Dry salting can not.
The single most important determining factor, other than the meat quality, in presenting a juicy, flavorful steak, is cooking it to the right internal temperature. Typically, rare meat is maintains more fluid, and is more tender. As you cook it longer, it loses more moisture, and toughens.
Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North