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Unread 05-18-2010, 09:38 PM   #16
landarc
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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.
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Unread 05-19-2010, 07:01 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TactTm1 View Post
I respectfully disagree with Sledneck. (am I allowed to do that??)

The most often referenced composition, thus the standard, if you will, is 1 cup salt to 1 gallon water. The additional flavor and aromatic components, i.e. sugar, spices, garlic, syrup, etc. are added to that 1:1 base. It is the salt that works the magic and contributes a negligible amount of sodium to the finished product (if dietary concerns are an issue) if the technique is performed correctly, including rinsing the bird when the brining is complete.

But, if the end result of 1/2, 1/2 to gallon provides what you like, then that is good.
A great read on brining http://www.cookshack.com/brining-101
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Unread 05-19-2010, 07:16 AM   #18
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I use 1cup of salt to 1 gallon of filtered spring water. Yes the water does affect the taste imho.
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Unread 05-19-2010, 07:17 AM   #19
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One cup of non-iodized salt per gal of water, usually overnight in the fridge for best results (other than hams etc). Always rinse and pat dry.
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Unread 05-19-2010, 09:00 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfbbqguy View Post
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).

Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
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.
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Unread 05-19-2010, 09:06 AM   #21
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Thanks 3rd! Great info.

Another question...how much do you reduce the salt when you add TQ?
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Unread 05-19-2010, 09:09 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sledneck View Post
A great read on brining http://www.cookshack.com/brining-101
Thanks for the "great" comment, I actually made that about 10 years ago, long before Brining was popular.

Thirdeye, you've posted some good stuff, we'll have to talk some on brining.

Osmosis, is how brines work. Reduce the salt and it will take longer. Is there a minimum? Probably not.

What will change is "time".

The standard brine is 1 cup salt, 1 cup suger to 1 gallon. I think most times reference that formula.

When people change the salt, they don't realize the ratio changes and because of how it works, it WILL take longer to achieve penetration. How much. Just too many variables to try to give you an answer.

My best suggestion is to test it for yourself. If you reduce the salt, keep the time the same and see if you think it's what you want. If not, brine it longer.

Larger cuts take longer, that's why I do my Turkey's 2 days, because of the mass.

TQ is a cure, first and foremost so it will "cure" the meat and change the color. A lot of the original brines had TQ in there for food safety, (I even mention that in 101) but I take it out if you keep the brine cold.

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Unread 05-19-2010, 09:20 AM   #23
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Thanks Russ. Brining 101 is great.
I reference Brining 101 very often as it's a great resource. Most all brining I've done has either been straight off Brining 101 or some derivative of something I've found there.

Glad you've not gotten swept away by a twister too!
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Unread 05-19-2010, 09:33 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfbbqguy View Post
Thanks 3rd! Great info.

Another question...how much do you reduce the salt when you add TQ?
If you look at TQ you will see that it's a very fine texture. Now taste some on the end of your finger, notice it tastes similar to table or canning salt, just not quite as crisp. Because of the grain size, 1 teaspoon of TQ is heavier than 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.

The correct answer would be to replace the same amount (in weight) of the salt you leave out with the same weight of TQ. This would keep the salt concentration of both brines about the same. But you also have to consider the nitrites and nitrates. You don't need to get excessive with them because we're talking about brining things like chicken breasts or pork chops, or maybe a loin roast which will be grilled. We don't need the nitrates for food safety (like we would if we were cold smoking sausages), we are just taking advantage of the fact they will produce a nice pink color and change the texture of the meat.

So, lets say you are making two gallons of brine and you usually add 16 ounces of salt to that amount of water. Try making the same brine with 13 ounces of salt and 3 ounces of TQ. Or 12 ounces and 4 ounces of TQ.
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Unread 05-19-2010, 09:49 AM   #25
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Russ, Your Brining 101 is a fantastic resource and I often provide a link to it to folks that are just starting out with brines. It reinforces the fact that brining is a technique, not just one recipe they read in a cooking magazine.

I notice you give a lot of credit to Shakes Honey Brine...... A couple of years ago I was stuck on my turkey pastrami, I just couldn't get it where I thought it should be. (I was using a traditional brine, and not injecting). Dave Stamper turned me on to Shakes and with the addition of white pepper, that's what I use.
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Unread 05-19-2010, 09:59 AM   #26
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Thanks again Thirdeye! I'll be doing some experimenting with TQ soon. Sounds like I need to break down and get a better kitchen scale too.
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Unread 05-19-2010, 11:37 AM   #27
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Um...it's really just a matter of time vs. salt concentration. If you want a 4% absorption into the meat than you need to brine with X% salt for X time to achieve that. So the question should be, "in how little time do you wish to brine your bird and at what salt concentration will you achieve this?" The higher concentration of salt in the brine the shorter the time need for the soak and viceversa. OK, I'll add another tid bit. Once the meat comes out of the brine it needs to sit for several hours for maximum and even despersion of salt into the meat. Remember that there is no one brine recipe. It all depends on the type of meat you want to brine and for what % salt absorption and for how long you have before you want to cook the meat.

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Unread 05-19-2010, 03:37 PM   #28
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What the fark is TQ???
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Unread 05-19-2010, 04:09 PM   #29
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TQ=Morton brand "Tender Quick" used for curing meats, in sausage making, etc.
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Unread 05-19-2010, 04:16 PM   #30
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Get one of these and never guess again>>> http://www.butcher-packer.com/index....products_id=27
there are to many variables when dealing with a substances like salt. brand differences and so on.
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