To brine or not to brine has been as old an argument as whether or not to soak wood chips for smoking or cooking the brisket fat cap up or down.
Here is the answer to whether or not you should brine your meat: if you like how it comes out, then do it. It's as simple as that. Everyone has their own way of doing things.
We are getting to that time of year where the media and retailers make us start to think about the holidays coming up.
A very popular meat to smoke during the fall and holiday season is turkey. The brining question doesn't hold more true for this bird.
You see, brining is simply soaking in a salt water solution. As many know, salt is made up of sodium chloride. When meat is subjected to heat the moisture in it starts to evaporate. Sodium chloride binds with the meat proteins and keeps moisture from evaporating so quickly. Hence, salt can help keep meats juicier when barbequing. The problem is, salt draws moisture out of the meat so the natural meat juices are replaced by salt water which is not a good thing. The most simple brine solution is to take a 2 cup measuring cup and pour 1 cup of hot water into it. Then add enough salt to bring it to 1 1/2 cups. Then pour that salt water solution into one gallon of water. You need enough gallons of water to completely submerge whatever you are brining.
Salt not only helps tenderize the meat but adds to the flavor. Salt takes away any bitterness from a food that our taste buds pick up.
Many people like to add to their brining solution. Sugar, spices and using other liquids than water are wildly popular. Poultry does very well with sweet; so sugar and the use of orange juice, apple juice, pineapple juice, etc work great. We carry a prebrine solution by Urban Accents at the store. No hassle, no fuss, just follow the instructions to use the preblended brine.
This takes all the guess work out of the process and make brining so simple.
All this being said and done, people ask me what I prefer to do. Well, I actually prefer dry brining. Rubbing salt and spices on the meat without liquid. We carry so many rubs to choose from that there are just about endless possibilities.
Stop in the store sometime and let us know which you prefer: to brine or not to brine.