Mad Science Experiment - Salt vs MSG
Yesterday I did the first of at least a couple rounds of tests comparing the end result of smoked meats that have MSG, and those that don't. For this test, I took the suggestions of the people at Accent and used the MSG in place of salt in the recipes.
I used 10 chicken breasts that were brined for 1.5 hours, then sprinkled with rub and left to rest overnight before cooking. The brine and rub recipes were identical EXCEPT for the MSG batch where I replaced all salt with equal portions of MSG.
The breasts were cooked between 310 and 325 in my new WSM until they hit 165 internal.
There were 3 blind taste testers, and myself. I took one each of the salt and msg chicken breasts, cut the meat off the bone and cut into 8 thick slices. Each guinea pig (and myself) took a slice of each to decide which we liked best. If we needed another taste to decide, there was an extra slice for each person. Once each person decided which one they preferred they got a whole breast of that recipe for dinner. Preferences were as follows:
Guinea Pig #1 - Salt
Comments - "I think they tasted about the same, but batch #1 is a little better. It has a little extra flavor than batch #2."
Guinea Pig #2 - MSG
Comments - "The first chicken tasted more spicy, and the second chicken tasted more sweet."
Guinea Pig #3 - Salt
Comments - "The first chicken was awesome! The second chicken was good but had an extra flavor that made it not as good."
Myself - Salt
Comments - "I liked the Salt chicken the best and actually think the falvor of the salt mingled better with the rub flavors than the MSG. I could taste the same flavor in the MSG chicken that I tasted in the rub and brine. I don't really like that flavor."
So 3 of the 4 preferred the Salt over the MSG when completely replacing salt with MSG. For the next Salt/MSG experiment, I will use a combination of salt and MSG in the recipe compared to the MSG-free recipe I used in this experiment.