Dry Brining Pork

Discussion in 'Pork' started by gridflash, May 19, 2014.

  1. Has anybody tried to dry brine a pork butt to reduce the stall time?
  2. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I have never dry brined a butt....or wet brined one for that matter.

    is your theory that dry brining might remove enough moisture to affect the stall? if so , its a thought , but pork butt being SO juicy, I don't see how it could work. might improve the bark though.
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Dry Brining does not really reduce moisture a whole lot. The Salt pulls the moisture out mixes with it then Both get reabsorbed. Dry Brine is great to get some quick seasoning into the meat...JJ
  4.  In my limited experience any pork butt that's been sitting for an hour, after being covered in a good salt based rub, will leave a puddle in the tray it's sitting in. Of course the longer it sits the more moisture will collect. Since the stall is caused by evaporative cooling, If I wipe up the moisture on that butt before putting it in the smoker it's not going to be available for the stall. By then the salt's already in the pork so there's no loss of flavor.

    I'm gonna try this...
  5. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    Why would you want to take moisture out of a piece of meat?!? I know at the end of my cooks I want a nice juicy butt. I don't want to eat anything dry from pork butt, ribs to hell even a sandwich. From what I know wrapping should help with the stall time and not reduce moisture why not go with that?
    smoking b likes this.
  6. Yeah I kinda like my meat with lots of moisture too  [​IMG]   Please let us know how it turns out for you if you try it...
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    This is not Dry Brining, it is putting Salt on meat and letting it suck the surface moisture out. It is not " Dry Brined " until it has been given time for  the re-uptake of the moisture, and now salt, has taken place. You are following some interesting thinking but again in the short time you will be letting the meat leach, all that moisture is only from the outer portion, an inch at best. Cook a big roast and cut it fresh out of the oven and you get a hell of a lot more juice run out than what will leach in a hour or two. That " internal " moisture is contributing to evaporative cooling as well so I don't think you will gain much. Any time you take moisture out you risk dry meat. Try it and post the result, it should be interesting to see what happens...JJ
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  8. Interesting comments.

    First off, you don't get bark without removing moisture.

    Second The stall is caused by evaporative cooling... which means you're drying out the meat. The more moisture you add the longer the stall.

    To the degree I can remove moisture from the outer layer of the meat I should be able to reduce the length of the evaporative stall. As it turns out the salt won't diffuse more than a 1/2" even with a wet brine, so that's all the moisture I can remove prior to smoking. Once that salt gets wet it starts diffusing into the meat, that's what makes it a dry brine. The interior should still be quite juicy as Chef Jimmy pointed out... I guess the question is, "Will that be enough to shorten the stall?"

     Anyway we'll find out this weekend.
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  9. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    I have never dried my butts and have always had wonderful bark!
  10. That's great.

    But the objective here is to see if we can shorten the stall time and get the same texture and flavor.
  11. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    Let us know how it works out for you.
  12. Memorial Day Adventures with Qviews

    So, to test this theory that a dry brine would shorten the stall time, we coated a small 4 lb. bone-in pork butt with kosher salt for an hour which created a nice little puddle of moisture from the top half inch of the pork that would be unavailable for the stall.

    After an hour we rinsed it off, patted it dry and coated it with a 8+2+2+1 rub. Internal temp. 60°

    Next we wired it up with the Masterbuilt probe and the Maverick probes since the Masterbuilt has such wonky controller (and the new ones are back-ordered for 4 weeks) 

    Smoking in Portland

    8 hours later…

    The Temperature curve

    The problem here is we never reached 180° let alone 190° so the pork did not pull apart as easily as we wanted, but it tasted great…

    Masterbuilt set at 230° at 0 hours   Raised to 235° after 2 hrs

    Raised it again to 240° after 4 hrs because the Maverick 733 still reading 224° -233° . Clearly this needed to be set at a higher temperature than the popular 225°. We used the Thermoworks probe at 3 hours and 8 hours and it was within a degree of the Maverick readings.

    But what is interesting is that the chart shows a continuous slope. With a higher temp we should get a steeper curve.

    This test is only one data point but I think this is worth more investigation if we can get the temps up on the Masterbuilt.
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
  13. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    +1 to revisit this topic.  I'm really curious. 

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