There are many different types of brining but for this post we are referring to flavor brining which is the process of soaking meat in a salt solution infused with seasonings. Most people think of brining in regards to the Thanksgiving turkey. However this method is not restricted to the holidays. I regularly brine whole or pre-cut chickens before cooking them. This works better with leaner meats and is not beneficial for fattier cuts like Pork Butts or Beef Tenderloins.
In my opinion there are two main reasons you would want to brine your meats.
- Brining helps to retain moisture in meats which contain less fat.
- Brining shields you from over cooking.
There is nothing worse than an over cooked chicken or turkey. Compare an over cooked regular turkey to one that has been brined and the latter will still taste moist and delicious. This saved me last Thanksgiving when I was distracted and cooked our turkey to 180 degrees! Normally this would produce a National Lampoon’s Christmas Turkey! However because I brined it overnight the turkey came out perfectly cooked.
The ideal meats for brining are:
- Cornish Hens
- Pork: Only for leaner cuts such as chops, loin, tenderloin, or fresh ham
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