Do you heat your brine?

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by meatball, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. meatball

    meatball Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I was watching a show on Food Network - Big Daddy was the guy - and he put some pork chops in a brine, but did not heat up the brine. He even made a point of discussing why he didn't bother heating it up. I've always heated up my brines to help dissolve the salt. But, this does add about an hour to the process because you obviously have to cool it down before you put the meat in. I was thinking about testing out a cold-only brine, as "Big Daddy" did on that show. (his pork chops looked outstanding by the way) 

    What is your preferred method? 
  2. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have tried a cold brine and a heated one, to me there is a difference. The cold brine did not breakdown the spices as well. I now bring the brine to a boil, stir, and then take it off the burner. Yes, this does add time to the total process, but it works for me. It's all good my friend.
  3. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have never heated any of my brines but as you can see and read there are lots of people who do. I suppose it depends how much stuff is in your brine as well. I should try boiling mine next time and see the difference.
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    What Ross said. I guess I should give it a try too.
  5. I've done both and could not discern a major difference. Rich has a point though, if you are doing a complicated brine I would boil just so you KNOW those flavors and not just the water are going to penetrate. If I do say grilled chicken breasts for my wife and I during the week, I don't boil because its time consuming. If I'm going to smoke a whole chicken on the weekend and throw herbs and lemon slices etc in the brine I boil it.
  6. porked

    porked Smoking Fanatic

    The only time I ever boiled it was when I did some of Bear's salmon, he had it in his instructions so I did it. When I do chicken or turkey breasts, or even canadian bacon, I put the spices in my plastic tub, add lukewarm water and disolve the spices. Then I add cold water to cover the meat and on into the fridge. Never had any problems or complaints.
  7. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I boil my brine just because it makes the salt and sugar dissolve easier.  Also when using fresh herbs the heat releases flavor . Just make sure to cool it b4 adding the meat / fowl to be brined.
  8. allen

    allen Smoking Fanatic

    I boil my brine just to get evething mixed and dissolved well and in the fridge it goes to cool off.
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LOL---I had to look that up!---It's been awhile!

    I boil a small amount of liquid with the other stuff. Then I add a lot of ice & ice water to bring the temp down fast.

    Haven't done any Salmon for awhile!  That's why I make nice "step by steps"------I need them too!!!!!  [​IMG]

  10. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    I like to heat my brines up...not boil them but just enough heat to dissolve the sugar and salt.And i think it helps bring the seasonings to life!
  11. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Like Les I like to warm mine up and not boil. I do it the night before so it's cool whenever I get around to using it
  12. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic

    I would say that like most things there is a time and a place for which one you use.  I agree with several of the posts about the more complicated brines to bring to a boil.  For a quick chicken breast brine I just use some warm water to get the salt and sugar to dissolve.  My 2 cents..
  13. mgnorcal

    mgnorcal Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    For just a salt + sugar brine and no flavoring I use just cold tap water.

    For a  gallon of brine with 3/4 cup each of salt and sugar I do the following:
    1. Add measured salt and sugar to a pint pyrex pitcher
    2. Add  3/4 to 1.5 cups tap water and stir for about 10 sec or more, let it settle for about 5 sec or more
    3. Pour gently off the top of the pitcher into your initially empty brining bucket just the relatively clear but still milky liquid, leaving the obviously undissolved solids behind
    4. Repeat steps 2&3 untill no solids remain in the pitcher
    5. Add a tray of ice cubes to the brining bucket, maybe 2 trays if your tap water is warm
    6. Fill the brining bucket up to the 1 gallon mark with water and stir the cubes in a little
    You’ve got a gallon of icy brine you can drop your meat into immediately and it is done in just a few minutes.  It does require a brining container with a 1 gallon mark on it.
    meatball likes this.
  14. jeff 1

    jeff 1 Smoke Blower

    I try and make mine the day before.  I will usually heat it,  let it cool and then stick in fridge for overnight or I will make a double brine then add ice to cool and dilute
  15. [​IMG]I have boiled and done cold brine mix for fish. I have found the brine dissolves better in hot water. One does not have to boil say 2 gal just boil a sauce pan with the ingredients for 2 gal and then add to the cold water when done and ready to brine.

    Don't waste the energy boiling up a large pot of water.
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
    meatball likes this.
  16. fife

    fife Master of the Pit

    Good advise will have to try it also.
  17. I use cold, but mix the flavourings with a stick mixer on high for a minute or so.
  18. Gotta love those stick mixers.
  19. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have done it both hot and cold. I use the boat motor on both to get the good distribution in the brine. Breaking down the pepercorns helps infuse the brine better for my taste
  20. pgeobc

    pgeobc Fire Starter

    Well, I have done both and regret neither. There are a couple of good, theoretical reasons to heat the brine, but in the end all that salt sort of overrides any need.

    First is that idea that heating the water can help dissolve the salt and nitrite. However, it is better not to heat the nitrite, so I add my salt and nitrite mix at the end when the water has cooled to just warm.

    I boil my water with the spice in it for two reasons: to destroy any funky bacteria on the whole spices and to "wake-up" the spices. Whether or not any of this is absolutely needed is a question best answered by what happens if one does not go through the bother of it. Yet, I still do it. Years ago, meats were commonly cured by simply rubbing the salt on the surface, although a great excess was used and removed before cooking. That process would now be quite unsuitable to the type of food mostly done here.

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