How to Brine Meat

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by Elizabeth Coughlan

Do you despair when your Thanksgiving turkey has dried out, or your roast is tough and lacking in flavor? Brining could be the simple solution to your problems. Many people think of brining as a way of preserving meat or fish where it is soaked for days in a salt solution. With the advent of refrigeration, this no longer necessary. Today we use brining to give extra flavor and juiciness to meats and fish.

How does it work?

Meat loses approximately 30 percent of its weight during cooking. This moisture loss can be reduced by as much as 15 percent, by brining the meat before cooking. Brining enhances the juiciness of meat as follows:
*Muscle fibers in the meat absorb liquid during the brining period. *The dissolved salt causes some of the proteins in muscle fibers to unwind and swell. *The bonds, that had held the protein unit together as a bundle, break. *Water from the brine binds directly to these proteins when the meat cooks, giving a moist dish. *Any flavorings added to the brine will also be absorbed into the meat.

Brining Basics

1. Choose your container.