Newbie & question about meat with injected solutions

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Original poster
Mar 16, 2006
New guy here, have a Brinkman All in One gas smoker. I have a question about the meat I buy. I can't locate meat that isn't injected with a saline (?) solution up to 8% or so. How does this affect the meat taste, the cooking time, etc. Is this a non-issue to most of you or do you go to a place where you can buy meat that isn't injected? I'm talking about chicken, pork shoulder, baby backs... Thanks for any and all help.
Welcome, KDF5!
It would sorta kinda help if we knew where you reside. In today's world the corner butcher shop has basically gone the way of the dinosaur. But there is hope. Talk to the butcher at your local supermarket. If there is no butcher on the premises find another place to shop for your meat.
I prefer to buy as fresh as possible and at the very least with a label of "Minimally Processed".
The part of Vermont I make my home in has ample sources of real fresh meat that is minimally processed. And there is a number of local butcher shops. I keep my fingers crossed that "change" keeps its distance!
Sooooo, welcome again to the best, friendliest and most truly amazing smoking meat forum on the Internet. Very soon others will be chiming in and offering more helpful info. And don't forget our gardening sister site!
Oops! Almost forgot to mention! I raise my own chickens!
Welcome kdf5, Monty has given you some good advice. Find a butcher that sells good fresh meats, they are out there~you just have to look.
Thanks, living in Nebraska I shouldn't have a problem. Does the injected meat cook differently? I'm sure the taste is affected. Thanks for all your help.

Kevin, I suggest you cook some injected and some "fresh" meat side by side and see what you think. The enhanced meats are basically brined, something a lot of cooks do to meat before cooking anyway.
I've cooked both commercially prepped stuff and "fresh" meats and can't tell much of a difference except in my wallet.

If starting with un enhanced cuts is important to you, the stuff is out there, just be prepared to pay about 40% higher prices, or more.
Just my $.02 woth. I have noticed that the "enhanced" version is saltier than the un enhanced. As Scott mentioned, they basically brine it and thus the extra salt. It's not a great big deal but if you are'nt expecting it you could potentially over salt the meat by adding a salt based rub before smoking or there could be salt concerns with the sauce after smoking. As I said, not a biggie but something worth knowing about IMHO.
My one real "beef" with enhanced pork or chicken is that any brining I might want to do of my own, is rendered less effective.

If you're not familiar with what brining is and how it works, there's some very good basic info here.

Although quite effective for adding additional moisture, the factory brines don't add any flavors but the salt, my brines usually have a lot more going on in the flavor department.
Welcome Kevin. Like bwsmith said the injected meats will be saliter, in this case I compleatly cut the salt out of any rub I put on and if possible the sauce I serve with it. Your best bet is the local butcher or meat locker like everyone else has said. Fresh is always best in my book but if you can't get it there's nothing wrong with the enhanced cuts, you just have to do a little adjusting for taste is all. Welcom again and let us know how your future smokes turn out. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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