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To Brine or not to brine - Page 2

post #21 of 24

To Brine, or not to Brine?

I not only brine my turkeys, but all poultry and pork. From my understanding, the lack of brining creates a loss of about 16% to 18% of the body weight while cooking... it's all moisture loss. Soaking in water for a few hours will result in a 14% to 16% loss of body weight, a salt brine will result in 12% or less in weight loss. My white breast meat is like a sponge, you can wring out a ton of juices. My sister hated turkey white meat, exclaiming it's always too dry... until I talked her into tasting just one little piece of mine... "I LOVE white meat!!" was the first thing out of her mouth, as she grabbed another piece.

For chickens and turkeys, I also mix up some sage butter, and use a spoon to separate the skin from the meat on the breast, and right around the upper thighs. I then spread the softened butter just under the skin. This process separates the skin from the meat, creating a slightly crisper, (not soggy) and more flavorful skin, as well as the outer meat. I also add a little basil to the butter for a little sweetness.

Ok, I know nobody asked, but... when slicing the white meat from the turkey, rather than slicing off each piece - one sliver at time, and placing them individually on the plate, only the people getting the first few pieces get any of that great skin. So, I slice off each complete breast, down to the bone in one large piece from each side. I then lay the breast on the plate, and slice each breast piece on a bias, like you would a tri-tip, or brisket. This allows me to include a piece of skin with every slice of white meat... no more fighting over who gets the skin. Since I use the sage butter under the skin, it also gives everyone that extra flavor cooked into the outer edges of the meat. But, of course I always leave a little bit of white meat on the bone... for pick'ns later.

When brining baby back ribs, instead of just water, I use a gallon of apple juice, with brown sugar and salt... and a few other things, and then top it off with water until the ribs are completely submersed. I use one of those insulated cooler bags from Sams' or Costco for brining ribs, they're tall, elongated, narrow on the sides, water proof, closed up with a zipper, and can be washed out with antibacterial soap after each use. I put several handfuls of ice cubes in the water, on top of the submerged ribs until there's a single layer of ice cubes. This keeps everything cold - there's still ice in there two hours later, and I don't have to take up space in my fridges. I've brined up to 9 racks of ribs in the bag at one time.. I actually have more than one of these bags, one is simply dedicated to brining.

Good Eat'n my friends.
post #22 of 24
Can you explain why you brine your ribs?
post #23 of 24

Brining Ribs

Hey bbq bubba,

I originally started brining my pork loins, and thick chops, (along with poultry) and found they come out just as juicy and moist as the white breast meat I described in my previous post... so, I tried it with baby back ribs.

I can assure you with time tested, and consistent results that brining the ribs first, in the apple juice, brown sugar, salt... and other ingredients that also include Emeril Essence, Pecan rub, and a few others, that the difference between this and not brining is amazing. I brine them for two hours, dry them off, massage them with EVO, apply my rubs, and let them rest some more before cooking.

What I believe is that although not a ton of meat on these, the brine helps the meat not only retain additional moisture, but I think it helps the ribs absorb the dry rub spices deeper into the meat, and it adds an additional layer of flavor to the ribs.

I've been rushed before, not having the time to brine them, and I was very disappointed, although everything else was done to my usual specs, and they were still really good, the flavor was too shallow, and I could definitely taste that something was missing... everything else was done just exactly as I do every time. I've gotten used to the depth of flavor from the brine, the rub spices, the bbq sauce, and the smoke. The flavor is very complex, multi-dimensional, and although not thick meat, you can taste each layer of the flavors right down to the bone. And partially, to complement the brine, I typically use apple and/or pecan wood for the smoke.

On average, I usually cook 6, 9, or 12 racks of ribs at a time, (always packaged in 3's at Sam's and Costco) depending on the number of guest... along with 4 to 6 tri-tips... and a lot of other food. I cook this amount of ribs probably betweem 15 and 20 times a year.

I realize it may not make a lot of sense to brine them as far as simply retaining moisture because they're so small, but I would certainly say that all you have to lose by trying it at least once, is a gallon apple juice, some brown sugar, salt, water, and whatever else floats your boat... oh, and two more hours on the clock. You really have nothing to lose. Nothing ventured, nothing gained... and one of my favorite sayings is... "I'll try anything twice.. the first time could have been an anomaly."


30" CharGriller Professional with side firebox
34" Natural Gas Grand Hall
37" Dual chamber, front loading Brinkmann Professional
40" Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse.
post #24 of 24
Interesting theory Dave.
I always have turned my nose up brining ribs but you may have changed my mind. cool.gif
Nice post and great explanation!
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