How To Brine Pork

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Guidelines For Brining Pork – Pork Brine Recipe

Have you had it with tasteless, juiceless pork chops – Brining is the secret that chefs never tell you about!

 

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.

 

How To Brine Pork:

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.

Salt Types Used in Brining:  Kosher salt and table salt (without iodine) are the most common salts used in brining.  Sea salt can be used, but it tends to be quite expensive.  I usually use kosher salt.  A cup of table salt and a cup of kosher salt are not equal.  Table salt weighs approximately 10 ounces per cup and kosher salt weighs approximately 5 to 8 ounces per cup depending on the brand.  If using kosher salt in a brine, you must use more than a cup to achieve the same “saltiness” you would get from a cup of table salt.


Salt Substitution Chart
:
 The chart below shows how to substitute the two most popular brands of kosher salt for ordinary table salt.

1 cup Table Salt (without iodine) – Substitute with:
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt = 2 cups
Morton Kosher Salt = 1-1/2 cups


Adding Flavoring:
 You can add flavor in all sorts of forms such as herbs and spices.  Use brown sugar, honey or molasses in place of the sugar (some sweetness tends to offset a saltiness the brine might otherwise impart).  You can use apple juice, cider, orange juice, beer, wine, rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, stock, tea, or other liquids to replace some or all of the water.  You can also put together decidedly Oriental flavorings with soy sauce or the Japanese rice wine mirin.

 

How Long To Flavor Brine Pork:

 

Pork Chops (1-inch to 1 1/2-inch thick)………….12 to 24 hours
Whole Pork Loin………………………………………….2 to 4 days
Whole Pork Tenderloin………………………………   6 to 12 hours


 

Refrigeration is absolutely required during brining:

The meat and brine solution must be kept below 40 degrees F. at all times.

Refrigerator Storing:  If storing the meat in the refrigerator during brining, check to make sure that the container will fit in your refrigerator! A container large enough to hold a whole turkey might be too big for your fridge.

Cooler Storing:  If storing the meat in a cooler during brining, you must keep the meat and brine cold without diluting the mixture.  Put the meat and brine directly in the cooler and then place Ziploc bags filled with ice or reusable gel packs into the brine solution.

Oven Roasting Bag Storage:  Another approach is to put the meat and brine into a turkey oven-roasting bag inside the cooler, then pack ice or gel packs around the bag.  Monitor the temperature of the cooler to make sure it stays below 40 degrees F. at all times.

 


Pork Brine Recipe:

 

3/4 cup coarse kosher salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 gallon cold water
1 tablespoon black pepper

A heavy-duty plastic tub, stainless-steel bowl, or resealable 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.

 

Important Brining Tips:

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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