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Old 11-11-2010, 01:06 PM   #14
Babbling Farker
Join Date: 05-04-08
Location: Boise, Idaho

Originally Posted by SmokinOkie View Post
... I think the myth most people believe is that if you brine an enhance bird you'll add salt.

Brining doesn't work that way. It worked to equilize the % in the bird with the % in the brine. Osmosis is how it works. It exchanges liquid in the brine with the liquid in the bird.
Not to be argumentative, but I disagree with you disagreeing with me.

Osmosis is a natural process whereby nature seeks to find balance
(homeostasis). As the famous quote states, nature abhors a vacuum.
Brining intentionally creates a salt, sugar and water vacuum inside the

When there is a saltier solution inside or outside of the meat in the brine,
osmosis will make it equalize, given enough time. You are correct that it
will equalize the concentration.

However, the second thing that a brine does is denature proteins. You can
think of it as sort of unraveling tightly wound strands. As the proteins
denature, they they are still too large to pass through the semi-permeable
cell wall, this means that more brine solution will pass into the cell to help
equalize the pressure. This continues until the pressure inside and outside
the cell are equalized.

The net result of all this is that the meat's cells now contain much more
water, and therefore salt, than they did when you started. This added
water is what causes brined meat to yield a more flavorful and moist final
product -- it started more flavorful (salt) and moist.

As the meat cooks, the proteins tighten and squeeze out water (again, to
equalize the pressure), but since there was more to start with, more is
there in then end.

So, I maintain that if you start with an "enhanced" bird and you brine with
a standard brine, you will necessarily add salt.

Not convinced? Here's what Cook's Illustrated found in their testing

Sodium levels by weight
Fresh - Brined for 4 hours (1 cup table salt per gallon): 0.22%
Fresh - Brined for 12 hours (1/2 cup table salt per gallon): 0.21%
Unbrined enhanced frozen: 0.27%
Brined enhanced frozen: 0.34%
Frozen kosher turkey: 0.16%

Just more food for thought (pun intended).

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