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Unread 06-22-2011, 03:25 PM   #1
Wampus
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Default Brining ribs, pork butt, brisket or the like.....

There was a thread last week (by grillinfool I think) where during a radio interview he mentioned brining a rack of ribs. Pumpkin brine I think? I've also been proposed a question today by a fellow Brethren about brining pork shoulder. Just got me wondering if others have tried this?

In my mind, brining is purely genius and an awesome way to flavor meats, but to date, I've only tried brining poultry. It works awesome on poultry.

I can see it doing some magic on ribs, but on the big cuts?

Any opinions on if brining would somehow do BETTER than injecting?
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Unread 06-22-2011, 03:39 PM   #2
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I have never brined anything but chicken and jerky, however that is an interesting idea.Injecting would be the best if you didn't want to soak it, say like a chicken. You could add your favorite spices in the mix and inject it all. That is an experiment waiting to happen.
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Unread 06-22-2011, 04:01 PM   #3
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Brining works very well on Poultry. It also works well on thinner cuts of pork. I have never tried it on large pieces of meat.

To be honest, I haven't yet used an injection either (though I will be this weekend) and pulled pork has always been juicy and delicious!
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Unread 06-22-2011, 04:22 PM   #4
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Wampus, we brined an uncured whole ham over Christmas and it was farking fantastic.

Here's the question and final cook thread Redhot posted.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=97424
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Unread 06-22-2011, 05:08 PM   #5
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I always brine my shoulders 24 hours if possible, it make the meat more juicy and adds a flavor base to the meat( I know pork doesnt need it) Well try it!.. 1 gallon uncholorinated water 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1 cup brown sugar. The ratio is 1 cup salt, to 1 cup sugar to 1 gal. I use less salt because my rubs I make have salt in them and I want that flavor in my bark. Anyway, mix that up throw the shoulders in and stick in fridge. You will be happily surprised at the extra moisture and flavor, IMO it just helps take it over the top... OBW I am not an injection fan. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Just not my style.Never tried it on ribs? brisket doesnt need it.Again my opinion
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Unread 06-23-2011, 07:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokeyokie View Post
I always brine my shoulders 24 hours if possible, it make the meat more juicy and adds a flavor base to the meat( I know pork doesnt need it) Well try it!.. 1 gallon uncholorinated water 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1 cup brown sugar. The ratio is 1 cup salt, to 1 cup sugar to 1 gal. I use less salt because my rubs I make have salt in them and I want that flavor in my bark. Anyway, mix that up throw the shoulders in and stick in fridge. You will be happily surprised at the extra moisture and flavor, IMO it just helps take it over the top... OBW I am not an injection fan. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Just not my style.Never tried it on ribs? brisket doesnt need it.Again my opinion
And ^^^THIS^^^ brings up a point that I was hoping to get at with this thread. BRINE vs INJECTION. A fellow Brethren PM'd me and asked my opinion on this very thing, which got me thinking and why I posted this thread.


I've only injected once and I've only brined poultry so I can't speak from exerience, but I'm curious about what those who have or are willing to think this through have to say.

Injecting (at least in my mind) works like a marinade that is simply inserted into the meat. I don't know if the flavor really gets INTO the fibers of the meat or just hangs out among them. When I did inject, I did a pork loin. I noticed that after I cooked and sliced the loin, the meat was discolored in patches as a result of the injection. Here's a pic of a slice....

I don't point this out to suggest that it's good or bad, but only that it may suggest the distribution of the marinade/injection among the meat itself. You wouldn't normally see this after a butt is pulled because, well.....it's pulled and the texture of a butt is different than a very lean loin roast. Perhaps I didn't inject enough, or at least not as many places and that's what caused the intermitent distribution?


Now brining......that works in a totally different way, right? The salt in a brine will draw out the moisture in the meat and then the void that is left gets filled by drawing the moisture in the brine (with all it's flavors) BACK into the meat fibers. In theory, it's more evenly distributed, right? ALL the meat (given the necessary time) will have the flavor and added moisture throughout, unlike an injection where the flavor is only where you put it. When I brine poultry, I do a simple recipe. My thinking is that I'm really after the salt (which, itself enhances the flavors of whatever it's used on) and the added moisture that a brine gives.

Then, of course, there's the issue of mass. A chicken leg only needs about an hour in the brine. A whole chicken usually gets brined for 5-8 hours. A whole turkey gets the soak for 18-24 hours. If you think about it, doesn't a whole butt have a lot more GIRTH than even a whole turkey? I mean, since the turkey has a hollow cavity and all? I'd think you'd want to brine a butt for 30-40 hours? ???

THAT brings up the issue of timing. If I'm planning on doing a butt at home on Saturday, it's only a bit of planning that's necessary to dunk the roast in a brine on Thursday and let it sit for 2 days. BUT, even if I'm only brining for 12 hours, this is something that can't really be done for a competition, right? I mean (and correct me if I'm wrong competitors) KCBS rules say that at the time of meat inspection the meats cannot be marinated, right? This (I assume) would include brines? SO, if you're wanting to go with additional flavor for a comp, you'd opt for injection vs/ brining, simply because of the time constraints.



OK....I've rambled long enough. I was just hoping for some great discussions on this topic, not necessarily on if you brine or not (although that's GREAT if you'd like to offer up your experiences) but some thought provoking discussion on the subtle differences between these two methods. Perhaps I should have titled the thread "brine vs injection" huh?


DISCUSS!
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Unread 06-23-2011, 04:10 PM   #7
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you bring up a good point... in a comp there is no time to brine...so injection is the alternative to get flavor in the meat. In doing shoulders to then pull for judging the lines left in the meat from the injection disappear to an extent, or at least arent noticeable. So I guess IMO,If I have time I will brine(that rhymes) I have injected before but I prefer to brine. I havent done a comp yet with shoulder so I guess the jury is still out on injecting?
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Unread 06-23-2011, 04:41 PM   #8
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I used to brine butts, but it really was a royal pain in the arse. Once I did a brined one and an injected one at the same time and I honestly like the injected on better. I haven't brined one since. Now birds are a different story though. I usually brine pork chops and sometimes tenderloins too though.

My butt injection is pretty simple though. It is just AJ, AC vinegar and salt.
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Unread 06-23-2011, 05:53 PM   #9
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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.

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Unread 06-23-2011, 06:36 PM   #10
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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.
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Unread 06-23-2011, 09:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milehigh View Post
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.

Paul

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!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OakPit View Post
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......
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