How long can you wait after brining?

Discussion in 'Messages for All Guests and Members' started by schultzy, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. If I were to brine some chickens for 24 hours could I take them out and then keep refridged a day until I smoke them. I have to do some traveling with them in the mean time and this would be easier.
  2. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    There has been some dicussion about brining times. I hvae done my own experiments and documented my results. Depending on the size of the poultry, part, whole etc. will determone the longest suggested times for brining. I have a table near the bottom of the page.

    Don't forget to rinse it well after you remove it from the brine. I find if you rinse it let it sit for a few hours in the fridge then add your rubs sauces etc and wrap it overnight in plastic wrap you get the best flavor.

    Just make sure you keep them cold unil jsut before smoking.
  3. I usually brine my meat 48 hours in advance. While I only brine for no more than 24 hours (once again depending on the type, size, and cut of meat). Then I will introduce more favorings (Rubs, Injections, or Slatherings) and let it sit until the time of smoke to marry the flavors better. [​IMG]
  4. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have followed Debi's suggestions and they have always worked out great. The lady knows her stuff. She is a tried and true source for good Q.
  5. brennan

    brennan Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    You know... If brining is all about the meat absorbing the salt and if I understand what Deb has said correctly that the meat, given enough time, will absorb about half the salt in the brine equalizing the salt content in the meat and brine. Then wouldn't reducing the salt measurements for an expected long brining time be an effective way of preventing over salting the meat?
  6. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yeah, the meat can take a weaker brine longer.

    Here is some more info on brining and the link also if you want to do more reading.

    Article Digest:
    In several articles, I've mentioned the need to brine chicken or pork to produce juicier, more flavorful, and tender cooked meats. The net effect of brining is to infuse the meat with extra salt (and sometimes sugar and other flavorings) and water. But how does brining work? In this article, I examine what happens when you brine.

    What does brining do?
    Brining is the soaking of meat in a solution of water and salt. Additional flavorings like sugar and spices can also me added, but salt is what makes a brine a brine (just like acid makes a marinade a marinade). This soaking causes the meat to gain some saltiness and flavoring while plumping it up with water so that after cooking it still contains a lot of juices.

    The explanation for why brining works that I hear most often is that by surrounding the meat with salt water, salt and water are forced into the tissue through osmosis. Unfortunately, I've never been happy with that explanation. Osmosis is when a solvent (usually water or other liquid that can hold another substance, called the solute, in solution - like salt) moves from a low solute concentration (like the tissue of the meat) to a high solute concentration (like the salt water) through a semipermeable membrane (a surface that allows small particles to pass but not larger ones - like the cell membranes of our chicken or pork) to form an equilibrium. Hmmm... wait a minute. If that's true then water will be drawn from the low salt concentration meat to the high salt concentration salt water. At the same time, if the salt can enter the meat (which it can), then salt will be moving from salt water to meat. Won't that result in a salty, dry piece of poultry or pork?

    Obviously, there's more going on than simple osmosis. It is true that salt enters the meat (it tastes more salty after brining). But why is it also more juicy? Well, when water flows out of the meat, salt flows in and begins to break down some of the proteins in the cells. In the broken down state, the molecules become more concentrated and the solute levels rise within the meat. This causes additional water to flow into the meat.

    But doesn't that mean we've got the same amount of water as before brining? Nope. The cell membranes are semipermeable. They allow salt and water to flow in both directions freely, but larger molecules (like the denatured proteins and other solutes in the meat released by the salt) cannot flow out from within the cells. When the solutes of a solution on one side of a semipermeable membrane cannot pass to the other side, osmosis causes more and more solvent to move through the semipermeable membrane. This continues until the extra pressure from holding more solvent equals the rate at which solvent is "drawn" through the semipermeable membrane. (This rate is called osmotic pressure. How Stuff Works has a short article describing osmotic pressure with a diagram that may be helpful to visualize the water flow.)

    What has happened is that through brining, we've caused a state change in the cells so that they will draw and hold more water than before. As we cook the meat, the heated proteins will begin to draw in tighter and squeeze out water, but, hopefully, enough water will remain to produce a juicy, tender piece of meat.

    Brining Solution
    So, how much salt in water is used for brining? That really depends on how long of a brine you want and how salty you want the final product. A weak brine will require a longer brining time to achieve the same saltiness as a strong brine. When I need a moderate strength brine, I use 1/2 cup (about 150 g) of table salt per gallon of water. (Higher concentrations of salt can be used to reduce brining times, but the amount of salt and the time it takes to brine is dependent on the muscle structure of the particular piece of meat.) Using kosher salt is a common practice, but different manufacturers grind the salt to different levels of coarseness, so kosher salt should be weighed before adding to water. For small amounts of salt, the salt can be dissolved into cold water, but for larger quantities it may be necessary to heat the water to dissolve the salt.

    Brining Time
    Always start with a cold brine. If you heated the brine, then refrigerate it before using it. The raw meat will be in the brine for a number of hours, so we don't want the temperature of the meat to rise higher than refrigerator temperatures (40°F, 4°C) if we can help it. Place the brine in a noncorrosive container like a plastic or glass container, plastic bag, or a stainless steel pot.

    The brining time depends on the shape of your meat as well as the type of meat. Generally, a good rule of thumb is 2 hours per pound of solid poultry when using the 1/2 cup salt per gallon brine. Cut up poultry will have reduced brining time. For chicken pieces like breasts or thighs, 2 hours is usually enough time. Pork may take about four times as long to brine as poultry. In most cases, it's difficult to predict how fast the salt moves into the meat when you double or halve the salt in the brine, but it's worth experimenting with to have your brining "finish" at a time where you will be around to remove the meat from the brine.

    When you remove the meat from the brine, rinse off the excess salt from the surface and return the meat to the refrigerator to await cooking. Pour out the brine after each brining. (No need to have a half gallon of raw meat juice infused salt water lying around growing germs...)
  7. smokin for life

    smokin for life Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I usually don't brine my chicken that long, but that's me. But I wouldn'd worry about keeping it in the frige foa a day or so. Make sure you do as Debi said and "Rise it well " when you take it out of the bine. After that I would just wrap it up in some clear plastic wrap and go ahaead and shove it in the frige. Just make sure it stays cold.
  8. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    Personally I'm NOT a big salt person. When I think somethings to salty most people love it. Althought most of my brine recipes call for 1 cup of salt (the recommended norm) if I know I'm keeping them over night I use 1/2 cup of salt, but I rarely brine overnight unless it's a big ole turkey or whole chicken or a large butt or shoulder. I often keep it under a full cuo just because I don't like salt much.

    Salt is a very personal thing you have to test your taste buds!

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