Sunday, June 28, 2009

To Brine or Not to Brine....

Trouble with food that comes out dry and not flavorful as you would like. Try a brine.

A brine is simply a salt water solution but any liquid can be used as the base. Brines work by osmosis bringing seasonings and added moisture into the brined meat. I will often use a milk-based brine for fried chicken.

Basic Brine
4 cups water (or liquid combination of your choice)
1/4 cup kosher or sea salt
1 T freshly ground black pepper

Going beyond the basic, you can be as creative as you like. Chopped garlic is makes it's way in to the majority of my brines; 2-4 cloves is a good starting amount. Other favorites are whole peppercorn varieties and dried oregano and basil. Apple juice in the place of water is good for pork or chicken; I'll share a new recipe for a apple juice brine very soon.

Try a brine for your next meal dish; I think you will be very pleased with the results. Even if you overcook your food (use a meat thermometer to avoid this), it will still have the flavor of everything you put in the brine.

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