What is Brining, Why, and How to Do It

Posted on: January 16, 2023

Brining is an age-old method of flavoring and tenderizing meat before barbequing. It is made using a highly concentrated solution of salt and water. We can also add herbs or seasonings to the brine to enhance the flavor. The method is applied for flavoring meat for smoking, grilling, or roasting.

Now that you have an idea about the use of brine in barbeques, let’s find out more about its benefits and process.

Reasons to Brine

Brining is considered best for lean cuts of meat, fish, or poultry as they tend to lose moisture faster during the cooking process. Sometimes even larger cuts of meats are brined as it adds to the taste. Here are the reasons why brining is increasingly becoming popular among barbeque lovers.

Adds moisture: Brining helps the meat to absorb optimum moisture before cooking so it doesn’t dry up turning hard and bland. The process also saves from spraying water frequently on the meat during smoking or grilling.

Relaxes muscle protein: Heat unwinds the protein fibers in the meat ripping off moisture while cooking. Salt along with other spices and water in the brine relaxes the muscle fibers to absorb more moisture that is not completely lost even after cooking.

Enhances flavor: Brine contains water, salt, and seasonings that not only add to the tenderness but also work as a marinade to flavor the meat from the inside.

Process of Brining

Brining seems to be a simple method of soaking the meat in a solution of salt and water and honestly it is. However, certain points need to be taken care of to get the most out of brining.

Preparing the brine: Brine should always be a solution where water is the dominant ingredient. You can use kosher salt or table salt or both in the right proportion. For added flavor soy sauce, spices, herbs, or seasonings can be used.

Choosing the right vessel: It should be made of a non-reactive material like glass or stainless steel. Brining bag also serves this purpose. It should also be big enough to store the pieces of meat loosely in it. In order words, the meat should not be stuffed tightly inside the vessel.

Soaking the meat: The meat should be completely dipped in the brine so that all the sides can absorb it evenly. If the meat tends to float in the brine, weigh it down with a plate or a bowl. Leaner cuts of the meat should be soaked from 30 minutes to 2 hours and larger cuts for 4 to 12 hours.

Rinsing before cooking: Excess brine on the surface will only spoil the flavor. Before smoking the meat rinse the brine with water to avoid extremely salty meat.

For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.