Tips & Tricks: Brining
Estimating The Amount of Brine To Make
Place the meat in the container and cover with plain water. Remove the meat and measure the remaining water to determine the amount of flavor brine you'll need to make.
How Long To Brine
The length of time meat soaks in a flavor brine depends on the type of meat and its size, as well as the amount of salt used in the brine--the saltier the brine mixture, the shorter the soaking time. Here are common brining times found in recipes:
Whole Chicken 3-8 hrs
Chicken Pieces 1-2 hrs
Whole Turkey 12 hrs-2 days
Turkey Breast 4-8 hrs
Cornish Game Hens 1-2 hrs
Pork Chops 2-6 hrs
Pork Tenderloin 2-8 hrs
Whole Pork Loin 1-3 days
Here are a few additional guidelines.
8-10 pounds 1 cup of salt & 1/2 cup of sugar & 1 oz. Brine Mix
15 pounds 1 1/2 cups of salt & 3/4 cup of sugar & 1 1/2 oz. Brine Mix
20 pounds 2 cups of salt & 1 cup of sugar & 2 oz. Brine Mix
It is possible to end up with meat that's too salty for your taste, so you may want to brine on the low end of the time range to see how it turns out. You can always brine longer next time, but there's no way to salvage a piece of meat that's been brined too long.
A lot of the salt can be removed by giving the meat a good old fashioned water bath. Wash your protein thoroughly and pat it dry with very clean cloth or paper towels. Now apply whatever rub you were going to use, let that stand for an appropriate time for meat and rub, then cook your protein. You are now well on your way to delicious.
TIME IS YOUR BEST FRIEND! This is the most important part -- let the meat rest with that rub on there. The more time you allow, the more flavor you get. Fish takes the least amount of time. Leave the rub on for 30 minutes to an hour. Chicken or turkey is next. Leave the rub on the turkey for 3 to 6 hours. Pork is next. Leave the rub on for 6 to 12 hours. Beef takes the longest. Leave the rub on beef for 12 to 24 hours or more.