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Unread 11-04-2011, 01:56 PM   #1
SmokinOkie
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Default Brinings Questions -- Ask an Expert here

I've received a couple of PM's and as the topic is an annual one, I thought I'd start a thread where we could Ask and Answer questions about brining (MODS, I hope this is okay). This would help newbies to a central FAQ about Brining and eventually this would become something of a Sticky.

So drop by, ask a question and we'll try to help. I've contacted a few other people to join and help, so this isn't just me answering. Anyone with the answer should feel welcome to contribute.

Questions about brining methods, reasons for, tips and tricks, recipes, feel free to post here.

There is a link to Brining 101 in my signature below.

I'm also going to search through the forum for some great brining threads, so PM me any good Brining links if you have some.
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Unread 11-04-2011, 02:27 PM   #2
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Take advantage of this, guys! Russ has forgotten more about brining than I have even known
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Unread 11-05-2011, 05:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokinOkie View Post
I've received a couple of PM's and as the topic is an annual one, I thought I'd start a thread where we could Ask and Answer questions about brining (MODS, I hope this is okay). This would help newbies to a central FAQ about Brining and eventually this would become something of a Sticky.

So drop by, ask a question and we'll try to help. I've contacted a few other people to join and help, so this isn't just me answering. Anyone with the answer should feel welcome to contribute.

Questions about brining methods, reasons for, tips and tricks, recipes, feel free to post here.

There is a link to Brining 101 in my signature below.

I'm also going to search through the forum for some great brining threads, so PM me any good Brining links if you have some.
My butcher brines pork butts and turkey breasts and then smokes them and both the butts and the tukey look and taste like ham.

Whats the trick for this curing to make a change every now and then?
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Unread 11-05-2011, 06:28 PM   #4
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Russ, good idea and good timing too.

I routinely brine pork loin roasts and all pork chops for both moisture and flavor. One of the most recent developments that folks may or may not have heard is that the USDA lowered the recommended internal temperature for pork from 160° to 145°. It's nice to see that the USDA has finally endorsed the lower internal temps many of us have used for a long time.....

The best part is now I don't have to add that note about me bending the rules. .
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Unread 11-05-2011, 06:55 PM   #5
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Thanks for this thread! Although I cure and smoke meats often, brining is a new thing for me. Darrell, aka kazion and I are smoking off a few birds next weekend. All are enhanced with the old 8% thing. What I've read is that you don't brine an enhanced bird. Is this the case, or is there a brine for this problem? TIA
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Unread 11-05-2011, 07:05 PM   #6
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Lots of good info in the 101s. Thanks.
Do you have any suggestions on thawing several turkeys at once?
Do you suggest thawing on the counter to get them started?
I try to smoke several turkeys around the holidays but have trouble getting them thawed in the refrigerator. Any suggestions?
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Unread 11-06-2011, 04:01 PM   #7
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Thank you so much for this thread. I am gearing up for my first smoked turkey this Thanksgiving and this is incredibly helpful.
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Unread 11-06-2011, 05:10 PM   #8
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Good oportunity.

I usually order our bird from Whole Foods, and the wife cooks it. This year, after a pretty fair cook of a chicken using my Cajun Bandit rotiserrie, she said that she'd like to do the Thanksgiving turkey with me using the Weber and CB rotisserie.

So, when I ordered the bird the other day, the guy mentioned that they offer brining as a service. So I told him to brine the bird.

But when I told the wife, she took a pretty negative stance against brining (she's the Maryland version of the salt police). She believes it will make the bird salty... too salty.

The Terry definition of too salty is if she can taste ANY salt at all.

What say ye about brined birds? Will it have ANY salt taste? (never brined one before, myself).

It's still not too late to call off the brining.
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Unread 11-06-2011, 06:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btcg View Post
Good oportunity.

I usually order our bird from Whole Foods, and the wife cooks it. This year, after a pretty fair cook of a chicken using my Cajun Bandit rotiserrie, she said that she'd like to do the Thanksgiving turkey with me using the Weber and CB rotisserie.

So, when I ordered the bird the other day, the guy mentioned that they offer brining as a service. So I told him to brine the bird.

But when I told the wife, she took a pretty negative stance against brining (she's the Maryland version of the salt police). She believes it will make the bird salty... too salty.

The Terry definition of too salty is if she can taste ANY salt at all.

What say ye about brined birds? Will it have ANY salt taste? (never brined one before, myself).

It's still not too late to call off the brining.
Well, the reason I like to buy fresh birds (or frozen ones that are not enhanced) is so I can brine them myself. Nothing against Whole Foods or anything.

If this were my call, I would cancel the brine order, but keep the fresh bird on order. Tomorrow buy a whole chicken breast (not split breasts) or buy a whole chicken and butcher it yourself leaving the breast whole, then brine it and cook it this week. This way the wife will see what's up. My money's on the brined bird and your skill at the pit.




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Unread 11-07-2011, 08:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluetang View Post
.. All are enhanced with the old 8% thing. What I've read is that you don't brine an enhanced bird. Is this the case, or is there a brine for this problem? TIA
Here's my take. Although sever people have posted over the years that you can't do this, I'll make the case that you can, within limits.

Brining works because of osmosis. As such, what it does is try to achieve an equilibrium with the meat that is soaking. Inside the meat it is a percentage. Outside the brine it is a percentage.

Brining will try to equilize that percentage.

The misconception is that brining an enhanced bird is an additive thing. That it will add salt to the bird.

My argument is food science. Equilibrium is not an additive thing.

What Food Scientists have told me is that if you soak an enhanced bird in plain water, it will try to achieve equilibrium with the water and thus reduce the salt level in the bird. thus they say, that unless your brine is more salty than the enhanced bird, it won't add any salt.

SO.....

I haven't worked out all the percentages, but testing over the years, I've found that most enhanced birds, in the 8% to 12% range can come out fine and get more flavor from a brine. 15% or more may or may not.

I've actually run tests with VERY enhanced birds and most people found the brined enhanced bird (over 20%) was better because the brine reduced the salt content.

What I need to do is work the calculations up, with the salt percentage of normal brines and give the details.

Until then, 8% to 12%, IMHO would be fine to brine. But try to say your money next time and don't pay for enhanced birds. You're paying that 8% price for them to add the water.
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[URL="http://www.cookshack.com/Websites/cookshack/Images/2010brining101.pdf"]Brining 101 PDF[/URL] & [URL="http://www.cookshack.com/Websites/cookshack/Images/2010Turkey101.pdf"]Turkey 101 PDF[/URL]
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Unread 11-07-2011, 08:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IamMadMan View Post
My butcher brines pork butts and turkey breasts and then smokes them and both the butts and the tukey look and taste like ham.

Whats the trick for this curing to make a change every now and then?
If it tastes like him, he's added a cure of some sort, such as Tenderquick to cure the meat like you would a ham. But who wants a turkey tasting like ham? Just kidding.

Add a little TQ to your brine.
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[URL="http://www.cookshack.com/Websites/cookshack/Images/2010brining101.pdf"]Brining 101 PDF[/URL] & [URL="http://www.cookshack.com/Websites/cookshack/Images/2010Turkey101.pdf"]Turkey 101 PDF[/URL]
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Unread 11-07-2011, 08:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonboy View Post
Lots of good info in the 101s. Thanks.
Do you have any suggestions on thawing several turkeys at once?
Do you suggest thawing on the counter to get them started?
I try to smoke several turkeys around the holidays but have trouble getting them thawed in the refrigerator. Any suggestions?
jon
The problem is food safety. You can't/shouldn't thaw them on the counter because the outside will thaw and be above 40 while the inside is still frozen.

1. Buy fresh if you can
2. Buy far enough ahead to thaw them.
3. Go with the alton brown method of running water. The idea is that the movement of VERY slow running water will transfer the cold out of the container.

I've also asked the place where I buy them, say by the case, to put them in their walk-in for me a week ahead of time. Will take days to thaw and still be cold.
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[URL="http://www.cookshack.com/Websites/cookshack/Images/2010brining101.pdf"]Brining 101 PDF[/URL] & [URL="http://www.cookshack.com/Websites/cookshack/Images/2010Turkey101.pdf"]Turkey 101 PDF[/URL]
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Unread 11-07-2011, 08:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdeye View Post
...
If this were my call, I would cancel the brine order, but keep the fresh bird on order. Tomorrow buy a whole chicken breast (not split breasts) or buy a whole chicken and butcher it yourself leaving the breast whole, then brine it and cook it this week. This way the wife will see what's up. My money's on the brined bird and your skill at the pit.
Great suggestion.

NEVER pay someone else to brine your bird. You don't even know their recipe. Do it yourself

Whenever you want to test a brine recipe, get some chicken. Do one with and one without the brine and compare them side by side. I use just bone in chicken breasts.

Use the same rub and cook at the same temp.

have the wife blind taste them, don't tell her.

One BIG issue.

Rubs. Keep an eye on any rubs with salt. I've found that if the first ingredient listed on the rub is salt, it tender to taste more salty. Go with a rub with little/no salt to be sure.
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[URL="http://www.cookshack.com/Websites/cookshack/Images/2010brining101.pdf"]Brining 101 PDF[/URL] & [URL="http://www.cookshack.com/Websites/cookshack/Images/2010Turkey101.pdf"]Turkey 101 PDF[/URL]
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Unread 11-19-2011, 03:40 PM   #14
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Is a bird that is labeled "contains 6% retained water" the same as a bird that contains a % solution? If my memory of chemistry class is right, the retained water shouldn't have been brined or contained extra injected salt, because if it did, it should be called a solution.
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Unread 11-19-2011, 09:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdeye View Post
Well, the reason I like to buy fresh birds (or frozen ones that are not enhanced) is so I can brine them myself. Nothing against Whole Foods or anything.

If this were my call, I would cancel the brine order, but keep the fresh bird on order. Tomorrow buy a whole chicken breast (not split breasts) or buy a whole chicken and butcher it yourself leaving the breast whole, then brine it and cook it this week. This way the wife will see what's up. My money's on the brined bird and your skill at the pit.
w





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