Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

Posts Tagged ‘Brining’

Barbecue University™

What Is Brine? and How to Make It

What Is Brine? and How to Make It

When it comes to keeping foods moist on a smoker or grill, few techniques rival brining. A soak in a saline solution (which is what brine is) makes turkeys tender and succulent and pork chops plump and moist. Add a curing salt (like sodium nitrite) and brine gives pastrami its pinkish color and poultry or ham its umami richness. So, how does brining work? Muscles consist of long, bundled fibers. Moisture loss is inevitable when you hot-smoke or grill meat....

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Home-Smoked Pastrami, Part 2

Home-Smoked Pastrami, Part 2

Photo by jeffreyw via Creative Commons. Recently we told you about the fascinating history of pastrami. (Hint—it involves camels, geese, and beef navels.) This time I’m going to reveal the 8 steps to pastrami nirvana, complete with my fail-proof recipe for pastrami you cook like barbecued brisket. The only other thing you need is mustard. The meat: The traditional cut for pastrami is beef navel—a rectangular muscle richly striated with fat from the underbelly of the steer and typically...

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In Praise of Pork Shoulder, Part 2: Season It Like You Mean It

In Praise of Pork Shoulder, Part 2: Season It Like You Mean It

Photo by David McSpadden. In Part 1 of this series, we gave you tips on buying pork shoulder, sometimes called pork butt, even though it has nothing to do with a hog’s hindquarters. Now you’ll learn how to coax the most flavor from this indispensable hunk of meat. When it comes to seasoning pork shoulder, remember that a faint heart never won a poker—err, porker—game. You have options: Rub: We Americans use rubs with greater imagination and with a freer...

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Battle of the Birds: Brining vs. Injecting

Battle of the Birds: Brining vs. Injecting

The contentious mid-term elections might be over, but American households are grappling with another controversy: Should this year’s Thanksgiving turkey be brined, injected, both, or none of the above? Like skillful politicians, let’s start by trying to find common ground. I think we can all agree that a lot of turkey comes to the table dry. So dry that it takes a generous, what-the-hell pour from the gravy boat to make it palatable. The reason is anatomical: the modern turkey is a large,...

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The Science of Brining

The Science of Brining

Photo of brined turkey by Flickr user austinmatherne Believe it or not, brining is a hotly debated topic. (Does the barbecue world ever agree on anything?) Some people swear by it, while others scoff at the effort and time it can take (as little as 15 minutes or as long as several weeks). But nobody can dispute this: Brining makes meat juicier. Why? It’s in the science. Lean meats, like chicken breasts, pork chops, shrimp, or fish fillets, trip up many...

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Barbecue University™

The Secrets to the Best Thanksgiving Turkey Ever

The Secrets to the Best Thanksgiving Turkey Ever

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Especially when it comes to turkey. In our collective quest to find an antidote to the dry birds of Thanksgivings past, most of us have tried—at least once—a number of unconventional cooking techniques. Draping butter-soaked cheesecloth over the breast, for example. Or awkwardly flipping the bird from back to front and front to back as if it were a restless sleeper in the oven. Roasting the turkey in a buttered paper grocery bag....

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