Originally Posted by SmokeyMose
I don't see how you can soak something fibrous (like meat) in a liquid for hours and not have at least some of the flavors soak in. How much might be debatable, but what can it hurt?
Meat is not simply a fibrous mass, it is made up of a number of different structures and these include different size blood vessels - arteries, veins and capillaries. There is also fluid filled spaces between the cells through which soluble flavours can diffuse
This takes time though and so the amount of penetration will depend on the time that the flavours are left in contact with the meat. As this thread is talking about brining this could range from an hour up to 10+ days. In 24 hours the flavours may only penetrate a few millimetres but by 10-14 days, in most cuts of meat, the flavours in the brine will have diffused right through the meat. The longer the meat is in the brine the more of the brine (up to a point) that will be absorbed into the meat fabric - along with any added flavours. Below is a graph from a recent study showing the increase in weight of pork joints after 7 and 14 days immersion in brine.