Results Are In!
Allrighty folks, the results are in!
I will say that they are surprising, especially to me, and to some participants after being told the results of the test.
However, I stand by my test and the results. Without further ado, let's get on with it!
Al (the Engineer) and Kellie (the CI Manager) were presented with two identical "ziploc" brand food storage containers containing half a chicken each. Last night, when I put up the halves, I added 1/8 cup apple juice to each container, since I would be reheating them in a microwave, and didn't want dried out bird.
Neither was told which was brined, and both Al and Kellie tasted samples from each container.
Al's first statement was "this one tastes better" (and identified the brined one).
Kellies first statement was "this one is softer" (and identified the brined one)
After discussing and tasting further, both agreed one was softer and had a lightly different taste- one of spice- which they liked.
They both picked the brined one.
During this event, the guys I normally eat lunch with in the cafeteria had been eyeing this strange event and gathered. Four more particiapted in the experiment!
All four identified one as tasting different, from the other, and described it as "tastier" or "with more flavor" than the other. All four tasters immediately pointed out one was "softer" than the other. All four identified this one as the brined one.
My wife thought one of the samples tasted "chicken-nier" and that was the brined one. I could not tell one bit of difference in the taste. I immediately noticed the brined one was softer, and almost "mushy" to me. I am the only tester who described the brined chicken as mushy.
So. What to make of this?
I cannot go against 7 testers....apparently brining does impart a flavor to the birds that people like. I, for the life of me could not detect it. Are my tastebuds wearing out?
Seven out of eight testers quickly identified the brined chicken as being "softer" or "more tender" than the other. My wife noted no difference.
The conclusion is that yes, brining adds flavor and makes the birds more tender. So to all you briners out there, I concede that you all are correct! Rock on folks!
There was considerable effort in re-arranging the fridge to accomodate the large pot with brine and bird overnight, so that is a negative for the whole process.
Overall, when the process was described it was evenly split as to whether it was worth it or not. The flavor was improved, but not worth the hassle to half the group.
Hope you enjoyed the test as much as I did!
I'd like to thank SUMOSMOKE for enthusiasm for the test and providing TRAVCOMAN45's brine recipe to me. Also thanks to TASUNKAWITKO for the initial encouragement to actually do it.
Of course, thanks to you all for reading the thread and replying. You all are what makes the Smoking Meat Forums the best!