Faux brine

Here's a technique I developed for our post GLive celebration lunch we had after service at Gracepoint Fellowship Church. I have a similar technique I also developed specifically for chicken.

For stories about Glive as well as other stories from Gracepoint Fellowship Church, visit www.gracepointstories.org

Short version:

Note: This works well for small pieces of meat. It doesn't work as well for a large roast. This technique really helps for bulk cooking. When making 4 steaks, it may just be easier to measure out the salt and rub it on the meat instead.

Cut meat into serving size pieces. For every lb of meat, mix 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 5 tsp water (click here for conversion info). Mix solution until salt is dissolved. Put the meat in a large stock pot or large bucket. Pour solution over the meat and mix it until each piece is coated (imagine salad and dressing). You know it's coated if there is black pepper on the meat. If you find pieces without pepper, you need to mix the meat more. Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes, mix it around again and then put it in ziplock bags (squeeze out all air) and transport to grill or store in fridge. (let it sit for about an hour more if possible)

Don't panic- it really isn't that much solution, but that's ok: it's not really a brine

Long explaination:

How does brining work? Meat in a salty solution absorb the salt into the cell. The concentration inside the cell increases from the salt and osmosis forces water into the cell. The salt helps denature the protein and as the proteins unravel, new crevices form where water can fit. The water holding capacity increases simultaneously as osmosis pulls in more water. The resulting meat is much jucier, and can remain jucy even when fully cooked. In addition, the meat is now seasoned and much more flavorful

Brining is excellent for keeping fully cooked pork and poultry moist. It's generally not needed for beef since you can serve it rare/medium rare. A brine is about 6% salt solution in which 1/10 of the salt is incorporated into the meat over the course of hours. The remaining brine is discarded. There's too much room for error, it's easy to over salt meat by brining too long. It's great for turkey, but this process could be improved given the right circumstances.

If you cut up meat you expose more surface area and allow greater transfer. This allows a short brining time with a high concentration solution. A salt solution is saturated around 20% so that's where we start. By increasing concentration (or reducing water) the meat will absorb all the solution. (Just make sure each piece gets coated with solution) In the end there is no leftover solution to throw away. If there is 100% retention, we can calculate and control how much salt to use and all of it will be incorporated into the meat, allowing us to hit that 1% sweet spot. The ratio of salt : pepper : water is 1 : (1/3) : 6

Once the meat is seasoned, allow it to sit for an hour or two so the salt can distribute evenly within the meat.


raymond w said...

Always wanted to know how brining worked. Thanks Tom. I'll definitely try this out. This site is great resource. Recipes are always awesome!

Jacks Lao said...

Thanks Tom! You're awesome. I'm glad I'm one of the residents at SP ;-P

John said...

Tom, i want to do a cooking show with you. you cook, and i eat. we can do it!

Will said...

brining works!!! woot

Patrick Lee said...

We tried this for our latest bbq and it worked really well. It was surprising to see that you only need so little water.

TL said...

so simple, yet it works so beautifully.

masuka said...

wow, this works well on other cut of meat too! I just did it on some ribeye steaks and it was seasoned perfectly. It's such an easy recipe!