What does Brining mean?

Food Question: What does Brining mean?

The verb "brine" means to treat with or steep in brine. Brine is a strong solution of water and salt. A sweetener such as sugar, molasses, honey, or corn syrup may be added to the solution for flavor and to improve browning.

The salt has two effects on poultry, reports Dr. Alan Sams, Executive Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A & M University. "It dissolves protein in muscle, and the salt and protein reduce moisture loss during cooking. This makes the meat juicer, more tender, and improves the flavor. The low levels of salt enhance the other natural flavors of poultry."

Dry brining is an easy alternative to traditional liquid brining methods. The technique seasons the meat with salt and spices without the use of a liquid salty solution.

This two day process, completed in the refrigerator in a food-grade p lastic bag, drains moisture out of the poultry, creating a flavorful brine, which is then reabsorbed into the meat without adding additional water.

To prepare a brine solution for poultry, add cup salt to 1 gallon of water, or 3 tablespoons of salt per quart of water. For best flavor, use sodium chloride-table salt. Add sweetener if desired. Place brining solution in food-grade plastic, stainless steel, or glass containers. Totally submerge poultry in solution and store covered in the refrigerator. For best results, refrigerate at least overnight. Poultry may be left in the refrigerator up to 2 days after thawed or purchased fresh. Remove poultry from brine. Discard brine after use. If stuffing a bird, brine the poultry first. Cook immediately after stuffing.

To prepare a dry brine, measure 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, or seasoned salt for every 5 pounds of poultry. Additional aromatic ingredients may be added to the dry brine such as herbs, spices, citrus or garlic. Rub the dry brine mixture over the entire surface area of the poultry, place the poultry in a food-grade plastic bag, press out the air and seal tightly. For best results, refrigerate for up to 2 days and massage the mixture into the skin of the poultry every 8 to 12 hours. Remove poultry from bag, pat dry with a paper towel and cook to a safe internal temperature of 165 F.

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