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Unread 11-23-2010, 12:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by PatioDaddio View Post
I explain why in this thread.

OK, I've been thinking about it. The equilibrium would be based on the amount of sodium in the brine solution (assuming that it is higher than the amount in the bird). When the bird reaches equilibrium, the amount of sodium inside the bird is the same as in the solution. The protein denaturing would not make a difference if the bird was enhanced or not.

Brine 1: 1 cup of salt/gallon
Brine 2: 1/2 cup of salt/gallon

In this example, regardless of the amount of salt in the turkey (with the assumption that the turkey contains less salt concentration than the brine solution), Brine 1 will produce a turkey that has more water (and salt) than Brine 2, because the equilibrium will occur at a higher salt concentration.

If the salt concentration in the turkey is higher than the concentration in either Brine 1 or 2, then you would still get an equilibrium, but this time, the salt/water movement would go from turkey to brine. At this equilibrium, you would actually increase the salt content of the brine.

I'm going to make up some numbers here to make an example:

Unbrined Turkey 0.16% Salt
Brine Solution: 0.30% Salt
Brined turkey (at equilibrium): 0.23% Salt

Enhanced Turkey: 0.27% Salt
Brine Solution: 0.30% Salt
Brined turkey (at equilibrium): 0.285% Salt

Unbrined Turkey: 0.15% Salt
Brine Solution: 0.15% Salt
Brined turkey (at equilibrium): 0.15% Salt

Enhanced Turkey: 0.27% Salt
Brine Solution: 0.15% Salt
Brined turkey (at equilibrium): 0.21 % Salt

So, depending on what the real numbers are, you might increase the saltiness of an enhanced bird, or you might not.

It appears that in the real world, reducing the amount of brine by half is still enough to maintain a higher concentration in the bird, without overbrining.

But, the more I think about it, the more I am thinking that you do not achieve a true equilibrium. I basically pulled these numbers out of my a$$, but used as a starting point the approx amount of sodium based on the cooks illustrated article you referenced in your other thread (roughly 0.2%). If salt weights about 10 oz/cup, then adding 10oz in 1 gallon (128 oz) is almost 8% salt solution, not the 0.3% that I used in my example to make the numbers work out.

Therefore, while equilibrium helps explain why you are brining, I think it doesn't provide a full explanation for what is going on.

However, I've tried a few of your recipe's with great success (especially your tri-tip recipe), so I am definately willing to take your advice on brining.

Anyway, I hope this helps.

Last edited by f308gt4; 11-23-2010 at 12:19 PM.. Reason: fix typos
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