It’s a New Year, and a lot of people are hitting the ground running with their New Year’s resolutions. For those who are looking to up their game in the kitchen, True Salt Co. has one word of advice: brining.
Brining is the process of soaking protein in a salt water solution for several hours (or even days) as a form of marinating the meat. Brining is intended to add moisture and flavor to the meat prior to cooking. Many people brine their big meats such as turkeys during the holidays, but the process of brining should not just be saved for special occasions!
The main meats that benefit from brining are ones that are naturally less fatty and tend to dry out during cooking, which
is why many people have taken to brining their Thanksgiving turkeys. Poultry and pork products are served well by the brining process to maintain moisture during cooking so the
end result is juicy and flavorful — not dry. Even seafood can
be brined. During brining, meats soak up the solution which serves as a way to protect it from heat during cooking and allowing it to retain the moisture.
Brining can be done for about 12 hours to a few days. Ensure the container can hold enough solution to entirely submerge the meat. A basic bring recipe is equal parts water and sea salt (coarse or kosher grain is suggested); make sure the sea salt is fully dissolved before adding the meat.
For those that want to ramp up this basic brine, sugar, herbs, spices and quartered fruit (or fruit juice) can be added for additional flavor. Then simply pop it into the fridge and forget about it… for now.
Post brining, meat can be patted dry prior to seasoning then grilling, smoking or baking. This ensures that the excess liquid does not interfere with the seasonings adhering to the meat as well as the delicious caramelization that happens during cooking. While some home cooks may be intimidated by “brining,” it’s very similar to marinating meats and simply provides an easy solution to help avoid drying out meats during the cooking process. So this year, resolve to give brining a try!