Brining meats is all the rage in professional kitchens and high-end cooking magazines. Most cooking experts agree that brined poultry and meat are more flavorful and succulent. The results are particularly apparent when the meat is cooked in the smoky heat of a covered barbecue, because the brine helps to mask bitter components in smoke that can make foods taste unpleasantly acrid.
Check out this web site on What Gives Meat It's Flavor from the Science of Cooking web site.
Brining is very easy, economical, and requires no special cookware.
Brining is like a marinade as it keeps food moist and tender. Brining or salting is a way of increasing the moisture holding capacity of meat resulting in a moister product when it is cooked.
One of the great things about brining is that there are so few rules. Most brines start with water and salt — traditionally, 3/4 pound of salt per gallon of water, but since we’re not concerned with the brine as a preservative, you can cut back on the salt.
The meat and brine solution must be kept below 40 degrees F. at all times.
A heavy-duty plastic tub, stainless-steel bowl, or re-sealable plastic bag can work as a brining container, as long as the pork is fully submerged. Weight with a plate, if necessary, to keep the meat fully covered by the brine. To determine how much brine you'll need, place the meat to be brined in your chosen container. Add water to cover. Remove the meat and measure the water.
Dissolve salt and sugar in the boiling water. Add it to the cold water; add pepper and stir to combine. Chill brine completely in the refrigerator before adding pork. Place your pork in the water and place in the refrigerator for the time required.
Experiment with seasonings. Salt is essential, but everything else is optional. Consider garlic, ginger, fresh herbs, juniper berries, clove, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, mustard seed, coriander seed, star anise, hot pepper flakes or Sichuan peppercorns. To give pork a sweet edge and encourage browning, add 1/2 cup sugar to each 2 quarts of water.
Rinse pork twice after removing it from the brine solution; discard brine. If you are not ready to cook at the end of the brining time, remove and rinse the meat. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Do not salt brined meat before cooking.
Cook pork according to your favorite recipe.
Do not overcook your brined pork.
Once brined, the pork cooks faster so be careful and use a
thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
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