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Old 04-14-2005, 10:38 PM   #31
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Location: Seattle/Edmonds
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Pork (and chicken but that's another topic) is something I've learned to ALWAYS brine before cooking. Exceptions are the pork butt (shoulder) and ribs I use for "Q" ... not necessary 'cause of the long slow smoke cooking. (Although I've never tried BBQ'ing brined pork... so I'd be open to comments from anyone with that experience).

The pork I get here in my part of greater Seattle is quite flavorless and TOO lean... so soaking in a brine* (see below) solution for no less than 2 hours and typically no more than 8 hours (except for a whole pork loin that I brine for a day or more) adds/enhances the flavor and adds moisture.

The typical brine solution suggested by Cook's Illustrated is:
1 quart cool water
1/2 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
1/2 cup sugar
Mix in a non-reactive container until dissolved. Substitute 1/4 cup + 2 TBSP Morton Kosher Salt or 1/4 cup table salt for Diamond Crystal.

Make 1 quart of brine for each pound of meat, not to exceed 8 quarts (2 gallons). Soak meat for 1 hour per pound, but not less than 30 minutes or longer than 8 hours. If brining multiple pieces, base the brining time on the weight of an individual piece.

I don't actually do this ... I cheat on the amount of water (i.e. brine more than 1 lb of meat per quart) and cut down a bit on the salt... but that's to my taste.

Brining requires "osmosis" so you must have the salt and water.. I'm not sure "osmosis" needs sugar but at a minimum you need water and salt. A marinade won't penetrate as much without the "osmosis" action although you do get flavor from marinades.. and of course if your marinade includes enough salt, you probably get osmosis too?

Anyway, you can add other ingredients to the brine which include sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, fruit juices, beer, liquor, bay leaves, pickling spices, cloves, garlic, onion, chilies, citrus fruits, peppercorns, and other herbs and spices. Most recipes call for bringing the ingredients to a boil to dissolve the sugars and bring out the flavor of herbs, then cooling the mixture to below 40°F before use.

You might consider give brining a try next time you do some pork, by they chops or top loin or tenderloin, etc. I'll never go back to NOT brining unless I can get some good pork again.

"Never order chicken-fried steak in a cafe that doesn't have a jukebox."
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Old 04-15-2005, 07:30 AM   #32
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Good thing Rainee left for her BBQ comp and stopped posting those pictures! I was getting hungry!!!!

Hmmm... Was planning to try to fish Sunday morning, but the boat may not be ready. If I don't go fishing, I have a feeling that the smoker is going to get fired up and we're having BBQ!


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Old 04-15-2005, 08:16 AM   #33
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Good thing Rainee left for her BBQ comp and stopped posting those pictures! I was getting hungry!!!!
Well, if it helps any John (while Rainee is gone), here's some ribs I did over a year ago on my old ECB smoker. As I mentioned somewhere else, I'm now using the WSM smokers.

I know... these "technically" belong in the "outdoor cooking" section, but they ARE pork.. and you asked
"Never order chicken-fried steak in a cafe that doesn't have a jukebox."
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Old 04-17-2005, 10:09 PM   #34
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Instead of brining, I would try adding fat to the loin some how, bacon, fatback, etc. Pork fat rules!

We are not real big on brining, we don't see the value added for the effort involved. Plus, we would never be able to brine 10-20 turkeys at holidays.

Chickens and turkeys have come out very juicey. And just a good old smoke flavored bird is very tastey.

We have even had a few judges tell us they would love to get some entries of just plain smoked chicken, no brined, no sauced, etc.

A lot of folk likes it, so your mileage may vary.
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Old 04-17-2005, 10:55 PM   #35
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I like to give my pork loins a good coating of greek seasoning and put it in the oven wrapped in foil for about 15 minutes a pound at 350. Let it then sit for another 10 to 15 minutes still wrapped, but out of the oven. My brother says grilling it with this same seasoning is excellent as well. Can't vouch personally for that, but my bro is a great cook, so he probably is right.

If you are unsure as to how to cook a pork loin, experiment. Get some tenderloins, which are smaller and cheaper and play around with different things. If they don't work you aren't out much.

I have gone from barely knowing how to boil water to being a pretty good cook in a few years, simply from allowing myself the freedom to experiment. Do the same for yourself...

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