Brine isn’t just for Thanksgiving turkey, it can be a useful tool for anyone cooking up some poultry or pork! In this recipe, we’ll give you the recipe for a brine with Dantastic flavor, and teach you how brine works. If you do happen to be using this around the Holidays, then remember that to figure out your brine for turkey you must do the following:
In the past we’ve talked about marination, but today we’re going to talk about brining. It’s similar in the sense that we’re soaking the meat before cooking, but brine stands out as a salt solution. Brining makes cooked meat juicier by hydrating the muscle tissue before we cook thus allowing the meat to hold on to water when cooked. You see, muscles are made up of long, bundled up fibers. They’re kinda like an ethernet cord, a lot of wires in a sleeve. Now normally when we cook meat, these fibers contract and wring out the moisture inside. Where brining comes into play is the salt. The salt in the brine relaxes the bundled muscle fibers, which creates gaps where water can flow in.
Since this is happening, the protein contracts less during cooking thus leading to less moisture being lost! Now many people will say that brining works due to osmosis, but this isn’t exactly true. If osmosis was doing the work then just soaking the meat in pure water would be equally beneficial as a brine solution. J. Kenji López-Alt at the Food Lab, a culinary consultant with an expertise in Food science, tested the osmosis theory. He discovered that a brine with 6% salt concentration worked just as well as one with 35% concentration, which debunks the osmosis method completely. His research was further backed up by food scientists at the University of Kentucky (Go Cats!). That being because if osmosis was happening, it would be much harder to get water into the meat in the stronger brine solution because water would flow in the opposite direction.