Originally Posted by sfbbqguy
Great info! Thanks. Trying to expand my knowledge on this brine/cure stuff. It's funny that you mention TQ because I've given serious consideration to including it in some recent brines but have not. It sits right next to the Kosher on the shelf and every time I mix up a brine I think about throwing some in.
I'm not learned enough to know what effect the TQ will have on the brine so I've never added it? (I'm asking)
I also like the designation of "flavor brine" vs "preservation brine". I would typically call a preservation brine a cure (for lack of knowing any better) and a flavor brine a "brine".
That being said I've never done a wet cure as I usually do a dry cure for stuff like salmon or the few pastrami I've done. If it's been wet it's been a brine rather than a cure. So to this point if I was brining/curing I'd always do a dry cure for preservation and wet for immediate consumption. (Although most of the time when I do a dry cure the product gets consumed pretty quick!)
When you add TQ to your brines, you need to reduce the amount of salt because 99% of TQ is the salt carrier, the other 1% is nitrite and nitrate. The effects of using TQ are color, texture change (it tightens up the grain) and flavor.
You can use TQ as a dry cure also, like on chops. These were cured for 48 hours with Buckboard, but TQ'd ones are very similar.
Yes, when using a strong brine you are using a wet cure, (also known as a pickle or sweet pickle when they have sugar added) these cures are popular for large batches of meats, and that is why they are so popular in commercial curing. You can also inject the same solution (like into hams or briskets that you are corning) which reduces the cure time, or brine time. This is also popular with the commercial operations. When smoking chickens or turkey breasts I either use a wet brine, or use an injectable brine. For my pastramied turkey breasts I have switched to an injectable brine only.
I really like using dry cures, and use them on salmon, pastrami, belly bacon and all of the Buckboarded loins, butts and chops. Even though they go on dry, they do turn into a syrup, or a slurry as liquid is drawn from the meat and mixes with the cure.
In all reality, most of us like the flavor, color, and texture of flavor brined or lightly cured products, but since we have refrigeration and most of our curing is in smaller batches most of us never need to get into preservation curing. I always use the comparison between a country ham (which has a hard or preservation cure) and a city ham (which is a soft cure).
Originally Posted by landarc
I think if you start to cut the salt down too much, it approaches a marinade more than a brine. I consider the minimum to be 1/2 cup table salt (more like 3/4 kosher) to 1 gallon water. I have done down to 1/4 cup but did not find that amount to be like a brine.
I like the idea of tenderquik for the sake of preserving the color of the meat. Probably less important in chicken than pork.
I agree on the 1/4 cup to 1 gallon as being too weak for brining. My granny would use 1/4 cup of salt to a gallon of water for a pre soak on things like rabbits or big game meat mainly to get some of the blood out of the meat. She would soak it for about an hour.
In contrast to brines, marinades usually have a vinegar or wine base instead of a water base. But it's common to add things to a brine, like vinegar, citrus juices..... even Italian salad dressing. Once you do this you sort of have a hybrid marinating/brine.