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Publication: I'm Not Martha
How, why and what to brine.

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        I'M NOT MARTHA - Wednesday, December 5, 2007
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Help yourself to some great self-help videos on: evtv1.com
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Hi! I'm Lizzy!!  and I'm not Martha!!!

* I learned a few years ago that if you soak the bird, whether  
chicken or turkey, in cold water and salt, that it pulls the 
blood from the bone area, and the meat is much whiter, and the 
thighs and drumsticks don't have that dark meat taste..it also 
helps to keep from seasoning the entire bird..it's difficult, 
however to find a space that fits a huge turkey and into the 
fridge at the same time..I usually try to soak up to 5 hours 
for a 20 lb. turkey..it tastes great...

Brining IS terrific!  I do all the time on birds and pork. 
Fabulous!  The verb "brine" means to treat with or steep in 
brine.  Brine is a strong solution of water and salt.  A 
sweetener such as sugar, molasses, honey, or corn syrup may 
be added to the solution for flavor and to improve browning.

P.S. If you're interested we now have a forum. You can post 
comments on this and recent issues at... Not Martha forum


THE CHEMISTRY
The brining of meats is an age-old process of food preser-
vation. Now brining takes on a new purpose. By using smaller 
quantities of salt, mixed with other spices and herbs, 
brining can permeate meat with flavor.

Brining is not the same or even similar to marinating. 
Marinating uses acidity to break down the texture of the 
meat.

The chemistry behind brining is actually pretty simple. Meat 
already contains salt water. By immersing meats into a liquid 
with a higher concentration of salt, the brine is absorbed 
into the meat. Any flavoring added to the brine will be 
carried into the meat with the saltwater mixture.

Because the meat is now loaded with extra moisture it will 
stay that way while it cooks.

TIMING

The process of brining is easy but takes some planning. 
Depending on the size of what you want to brine it can take 
up to 24 hours of more. If you are going to be brining whole 
poultry you will also want an additional 6 to 12 hours 
between the brining and the cooking. If you want your poultry 
to have a golden, crispy skin, it needs to sit in the refrig-
erator for several hours after you remove it from the brine 
so that the meat can absorb the moisture from the skin.

HOW MUCH SALT?

The most basic process of brining is to take approximately 
1 cup of kosher salt (no iodine or other additives) to 1 
gallon of water. Another way to measure this concentration 
is with a raw egg. The ideal brine has enough salt to float 
a raw egg. You will need enough brine to completely submerge 
the meat without any part being out of the liquid. Some 
items might need to be weighed down to stay under. Brine 
meat for about 2 hours per pound. Remove from brine (don't 
reuse the brine), lightly rinse to remove any excess salt 
and cook.

HOW MUCH BRINE?
Start by determining the amount of liquid you are going to 
need. To do this take the meat you plan to brine and place 
it in the container you are going to use. The container can 
be most anything that will easily fit the meat but isn't so 
big that you have to prepare far more brine that you need. 
Plastic containers, crocks, stainless steel bowls, sealable 
bags or any non-corrosive material will work.


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HOW TO BRINE:
Once you know how much liquid is needed start by boiling 2 
cups of water for each cup of salt you will need. Once it 
boils add the salt (and sugar if you are going to be using 
sugar) and stir until dissolved. Add other spices and herbs. 
Combine with the remaining liquid (should be cold). The 
brine should always be cold before you add the meat so you 
should refrigerate it before you add the meat. You don't 
want the brine cooking the meat.

Submerge the meat into the brine. You can use a plate or other 
heavy object to keep it down. It is important that no part of 
the meat be exposed to the air. Saltwater brine will kill 
bacteria and keep the meat from spoiling but it doesn’t work 
if part of the meat is sticking out.

HOW LONG TO SIT IN BRINE?
The specific amount of time will vary of course. Lighter 
meats like poultry or seafood do not need to be brined as 
long as denser meats like pork tenderloins.

Remember that the longer you brine the stronger the flavor 
will be. If you over brine you could end up with some very 
salt and strong meat.

You do not need to rinse unless you were using a high salt  
concentration in the brine or if there is a layer of visible 
salt on the surface. Otherwise you can take cuts of meat 
straight to the grill, smoker, or oven. Whole poultry is the 
exception however. To get a crispy, brown skin, whole birds 
should be removed from the brine, wrapped in foil or plastic 
and put in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 12 
hours.

MASTER BRINE RECIPE

10	cloves garlic, minced
3	quarts water
1/2	cup kosher salt
1/4	cup black peppercorns, plus
2	teaspoons black peppercorns
1/4	cup sugar, plus
2	teaspoons sugar
1 1/2	teaspoons dried thyme
1	teaspoon whole allspice
1	bay leaf

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan, reduce 
heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before using.
Large heavy duty sealable plastic bags work the best.

There are many different recipes. So experiment! Have fun! 
Fun and food go together.

Lizzy

Questions...Comments...? email Lizzy


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