Originally Posted by milehigh
I always brine my butts if i have the time. My pat answer to these type of threads is to do a side by side comparison on some butts, and you will be swayed.
I agree, and plan on doing just that just because I'm curious, but I also just like these discussions. I always learn a TON from these kinds of threads when people like OakPit chime in with their knowledge and experience!
Originally Posted by OakPit
Generally, I brine for moisture and inject for flavor. There is some overlap though as injecting will indeed infuse moisture, but in a mechanical way. Brining is more of a chemical process.
Protein cells absorb water, salt and flavor in a brine. These cells then slowly release moisture during a cook by dehydration. Injecting forces moisture between tissue and muscle layers, not necessarily into the cell structure of the protein. Sulfates can be added to either increase the holding capacity of each protein cell.
Indeed brining and injecting are two different techniques that don't entirely achieve the same result, even as it appears that they might.
THAT is what I'm talking about. See, when YOU say it, it sounds more correct.
You put it better than I did, but this is EXACTLY the kind of thing I was hoping for. Thanks for chiming in OP!
I like your last point. It would seem to most that because both techniques impart flavor that they do the same thing, but as you state (and I suspected) there are subtle differences between the two.
So it's the protein cells that take on the flavor from the brine?
I've not noticed a lot of difference in flavor when I do a complicated brine with lots of ingredients vs a simple water/salt/pepper/sugar brine. Am I crazy on that?
Another question......does anyone know if poultry protein cells somehow absorb the goodness from brine better or faster than those in pork or beef? They have such a different texture and all, poultry and red meat anyway......