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Unread 08-22-2011, 09:44 PM   #1
Moliver
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Default My experiment - Brine vs. Dry Rub

I'm new to this forum and thought I would share my results of a pork butt experiment as my first post.

I have a large BGE and enjoy the heck out of it. I've been switching back and forth between a brine and dry rubs for pork butts. As a test to see what others think, I smoked two butts for the guys at work.

Both were ~8 lbs and were boned in. The first was submerged in a brine by Sweetwater Spice Co. for 8 hours. The second, I applied Head Country as a rub. I used a combination of apple and grape wood for smoke. Temp maintained at an even 220 +/- a few degrees for 18 hours (thanks to the iQue 110).

Results, overwhelmingly the butt rubbed with Head Country took the prize. I was somewhat shocked as the brine has been my go-to and this was my first time using Head Country. From the comments I received, both were great, the one with the dry rub was just better.

It was a good experiment, I've been told to try it again and again :)
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Unread 08-22-2011, 10:09 PM   #2
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For the brined butt, did you put a rub on it?
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Unread 08-22-2011, 10:20 PM   #3
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Also curious about how long you brined the one butt.
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Unread 08-23-2011, 12:16 AM   #4
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Well, that's why Head Country is such a good seller. Even guys like me use it. Heheheee. It does contain MSG, so you might have gotten a little benefit from that, but it's always cool when you do a side-by-side cook and one side comes out the clear winner.
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Unread 08-23-2011, 01:13 AM   #5
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Sounds like he just brined one and rubbed the other but if he combined the 2 and brined and rubbed I bet he could hit it out of the park...just my .02
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Unread 08-23-2011, 06:24 AM   #6
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Surface brining doesn't do a whole lot for a whole pork butt, in can take 48 hours to penetrate that thickness of meat.
Now the the real question, IMHO, is:
Does injection brining significantly improve moisture retention?
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Unread 08-23-2011, 07:48 AM   #7
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Brines and marinades penetrate much more slowly that most people believe. Try corning a brisket flat for only 48 hours and you'll understand immediately after cooking and slicing. For one batch of corned brisket flat, I made the mistake of brining for only nine days (recipe called for 21.) There was an ugly "smoke ring" because the nitrate laden brine clearly did not fully penetrate the flat. A brisket flat is only a few inches thick. Unless pork soaks up marinade significantly differently from beef, brine/marinade won't penetrate much beyond the surface in 48 hours, no way. Unless you have weeks to wait, you must use injection or maybe vaccuum marination.
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Unread 08-23-2011, 07:54 AM   #8
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I am a major fan of injection versus brines. Brines do not penetrate thick clods of meat very quickly. I find that on birds (specifically turkey) a brine bath is essential but not on much else.

I recommend injecting 2 hours prior to putting the meat on and rubbing 1 hour prior to putting the meat on. Just my $0.02.
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Unread 08-23-2011, 09:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaskew82 View Post
I am a major fan of injection versus brines. Brines do not penetrate thick clods of meat very quickly. I find that on birds (specifically turkey) a brine bath is essential but not on much else.

I recommend injecting 2 hours prior to putting the meat on and rubbing 1 hour prior to putting the meat on. Just my $0.02.
And I like to do both, shooting some of the same brine I'll be submerging the meat in. And since it's working from the outside in, and the inside out it takes less time.

I'm doing a test cook today on 8 thighs, following one brine only method to the T on four of them, and my injection/brine method on the other four.
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