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Wet Brining Vs Dry Brining

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In this article we'll talk about wet brining vs dry brining and how that all works in a “sciency” sort of way without making it overly complicated.

Let's define the two types of brining:

Wet Brining – soaking meat, chicken, fish, etc. in a solution of salt and liquid and possibly other less-essential ingredients to add flavor and more moisture. This solution is made up of a ratio of 1 gallon of liquid (usually water) and 1 cup of kosher salt.
Dry Brining – Applying salt to the surface of meats to add flavor to the inside and to help lock in the moisture that is already present. Kosher salt is usually added at a rate of ½ to 3/4 teaspoon per pound of meat
It's easy to understand that adding salt to meat whether it's part of a solution or added directly to the meat will add flavor to that meat. Salt has been used in various forms for as long as the world has been around to flavor food and make meat, leaves, vegetables, roots, etc. taste better.

And, of course, salt has also been used as well for preservation of foods, especially before the advent of modern refrigeration, but that is fodder for a separate article.

In my experience, wet brining works best leaner and more delicate meat such as poultry, fish and seafood. Dry brining works best for fattier and more robust cuts such as beef, pork, and lamb. This would also include wild game such as deer, elk, etc.

Both types of brining are interchangeable though and can be used on any type of meat and only practice will tell you which you will prefer on various types of meat.

Let's talk about how brining works via denaturing..

Denaturing is what happens when salt comes into contact with meat. The salt causes the protein strands in the meat to unwind. When this happens, moisture gets caught between these strands. After a while the protein strands change their structure, tangle with one another and the moisture is trapped inside.
Why is this important? Because during the cooking process, moisture is forced out of the meat. With all of that extra moisture trapped inside the protein strands, the moisture is not forced out quite as easily.

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In wet brining tests, pieces of meat such as chickens or turkeys will gain weight during the wet brining process. When cooked side by side with non-brined pieces that are of a similar size and weight, the brined test subjects will end up heavier than the non-brined subjects.

This extra weight is water that got trapped and the heat was not able to force it out of the meat during the cooking process. This means it's extra juicy when you cut into it.

We don't have to use science to know this. Brined turkeys, chickens, etc. are noticeably more juicy than ones that have not been brined. The science just proves what we already knew was happening.

While we are on the subject of wet brining, be sure to use glass, stainless steel or plastic to do your brining.. in essence, non-reactive containers. If you happen to use a zip top bag, do yourself a favor and just set it down in a large bowl or pot before placing it in the fridge in case of leakage.

To make a wet brine, add 1 gallon of liquid to a plastic, glass or stainless steel container. Add your salt and stir for a minute or two until the salt dissolves. If you're using water, it will return to clear letting you know that the salt is dissolved.

What about adding sugar and other ingredients to the brine?

Lots of folks add sugar to the brines and I've been known to do it myself from time to time. It doesn't really help the brine process in my opinion but it does add a little something to the flavor and can even help the browning on the outside of the meat. I prefer brown sugar but you can use white sugar, turbinado, or other sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, etc.

Other ingredients such as beer, herbs, spices, hot sauce, flavorings, etc. can be added at will. There is some science that says these things don't penetrate deep into the meat like the saltwater does but it does influence the flavor and I highly encourage experimentation in that regard.

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Be sure to write down what you add then if it turns out amazing, you can repeat it. If it turns out not so good, you have a starting place for modifying the recipe to make it better next time.

If you want to see a few wet brine recipes that I use for poultry, check them out here. These also work for fish and seafood.

Types of Salt

You keep seeing the word Morton's coarse “kosher salt” in this article and in all of my brine recipes and if you're not familiar with that, it's just a coarse type of salt that I use for brining because it has large flakes and dissolves easily.

I also use it in most of my other cooking as well but for a different reason, because Morton's coarse kosher salt is flaked, it sticks to foods a lot better than other kosher salts which are more granular.

It is important that you use the correct ratio of salt to liquid so if you do decide to use a different type or brand of salt, make sure you measure by weight instead of volume. You are looking for 230 grams of salt.

This is not as important in small amounts but once you start using a cup at a time for brining, it's necessary because of the varying density between brands and types of salts.

For example: 1 cup of table salt weighs about 288 grams while 1 cup of Morton's coarse kosher salt weights 230 grams. Huge difference there and it just has to do with the size of the granules and how closely packed together they are.

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Table salt has tiny granules and they pack together tightly. This is why you can fit so much more table salt in a given space than kosher salt which is made up of larger flakes that have a lot of space between each piece.

I have been using 1 gallon of liquid with 1 cup of Morton's coarse kosher salt in my brine recipes for decades and it just works perfectly every single time. If you're using a different type of salt, that's ok just make sure to measure it by weight instead of volume when making your brines.

For all brine recipe, I recommend using 1 gallon of water with 230 grams of salt (preferably Morton's coarse kosher salt) but other salts will work as long as the weight is correct.

Need to double the recipe? Still works the same, just double the liquid and double the weight of the salt.

Unlike wet brining poultry, the salt is added directly to the meat. We're not adding extra moisture to the steaks during the dry brining process but that doesn't mean it doesn't end up more juicy.

Salt is added to the top of steak, chops, etc. at a rate of ~½ teaspoon per pound of meat. I often go a little higher than this and use closer to ~¾ teaspoon per pound although I don't generally measure. Once you've been doing this for a long time you start to get a little intuition about how much salt to use.

Here' the coverage that I generally use using Morton's coarse kosher salt.

After just a few minutes, the salt begins to pull moisture to the surface of the meat.

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That moisture dissolves the salt and becomes a salty solution (it makes its own brine in essence).

Here's that same steak after only 1 hour. Most of the salt is dissolved and the top of the steak has puddles of brine all over it.

Eventually that salty brine gets reabsorbed back into the meat. This entire process happens over the course of  a few hours.

The salt from that brine then causes this same denaturing process to happen in the steak and that reabsorbed moisture gets trapped between the protein strands.

During cooking, just like a chicken or turkey, a dry brined steak ends up with more retained moisture in the end than a non-dry brined steak due to the trapped water that cannot be forced out easily.

Pretty cool, eh?

You may have noticed that I placed the steaks on a rack inside of a pan. I do this to allow air to flow all the way around the steaks while they dry brine and often I will just cook them on that same setup to allow the smoke good access all the way around as well.

Seasoning the Steaks During Dry Brining

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Want to season the steaks as well as dry brine? No problem as long as your rub or seasoning is very low on salt. I often use my original rub and Texas style rub during the dry brining process since they are very low on salt. Back in the day, I use to do this as two separate processes where I would dry brine first and then season right before the meat went on the smoker but nowadays, I do the dry brine and seasoning at around the same time and get equally great results.

The perfect scenario is to salt the meat and wait about 5-10 minutes for the juices to start coming to the surface. Now you can add your seasoning to the meat and it will stick to the surface with no need for a binder such as oil, mustard, etc.

One Side or Both Sides?

Often I will dry brine both sides of a thick steak (¾ inches thick or more) but it does require a little more hands-on time.

Dry brine the first side, place it in the fridge for 2-4 hours then remove and dry brine the 2nd side or another 2-4 hours or overnight. When you do this use a lighter coverage than you do when you're only doing one sided. This will ensure that both sides of the steaks or chops end up equally juicy and flavorful.

I have not done a side-by-side test on “one side” vs. “both sides” on thick steaks but it is something that seems to work well for me.

Have questions or comments? Post them below.

Smokeology,Beef,Featured Recipes,Poultry,Brining

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By: Jeff Phillips
Title: Wet Brining Vs Dry Brining
Sourced From: www.smoking-meat.com/wet-brining-vs-dry-brining
Published Date: 04/24/21

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Strip Steak Tacos Recipe – How to Cook New York Strip Steak Tacos

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Strip Steak Tacos Recipe – How to Cook New York Strip Steak Tacos

Strip steak makes an excellent meat for fajitas. These fajitas are easy to prepare and require little clean-up. The steak is already seasoned, so you don't need to marinate it before cooking. You can even freeze it for 30 minutes before you start cooking it.

If you plan on frying or baking the steak in tortillas, you should first marinate the steak before you begin cooking it. The marinating process will make it tender. Also, top sirloin steak is more tender than bottom sirloin. You can also purchase beef tenderloin, but it is more expensive than the other cuts.

First, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers. Cook until they are soft but not browned. Once they are soft, add the steak and stir-fry until it is no longer raw. Remember that the steak doesn't need to be cooked all the way; it will finish cooking when you add the vegetables.

Strip steak is a great option for fajitas because it has a great flavor and is easy to cook. Whether you want to use it in a taco or as part of a fajita, strip steak is easy to prepare. You can grill it to your liking and then serve it with grilled vegetables. You can even add your favorite toppings to it.

Once the steak has been marinated, you can cook it on a hot grill or cast iron skillet. For medium-rare steak, you should cook it for about four minutes per side. If you don't have a large enough skillet, you can cut the meat into thin strips.

In addition to flank steak, you can also use skirt steak for fajitas. Skirt steak is tougher than flank steak and requires more time to cook. It is also tougher to chew, but the flavor is more intense than that of flank steak. It can be served with grilled vegetables, salsa, and cilantro.

Strip steak is a higher-end cut of beef. It is made from the short loin subprimal and comes with the backbone, but the backbone is usually removed. The more marbling, the higher the quality. As a result, strip steaks are one of the most expensive cuts of beef.

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How to Prepare Crusted Steak With Lemon Butter Steak Sauce

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How to Prepare Crusted Steak With Lemon Butter Steak Sauce

Crusted steak is a popular dish at steakhouses, which is easy to make at home. You can grill or bake it, depending on your preference. First, you need to bring the steak to room temperature. Then, mix the crumbs with herbs and sprinkle them over the meat. Cook the steak until it is cooked to your liking.

When cooking steak, use a thermometer to check the temperature. The internal temperature should be at least 150°F. You can also add sea salt, if you want to. Continue to cook the steak until it reaches a perfect medium rare or well-done level. When you're finished cooking your steak, you can move it to the cool side of the grill away from the coals. It'll finish cooking slowly over gentle heat, ensuring that it is just right.

After heating the steak, prepare the butter. You'll need it for the final crust, which helps with the magic char. If you don't like butter, you can use beef tallow or butter alternatives. You can also brush the steak with melted butter on one side, then the other side. Remember to turn the steaks every few minutes to achieve the final crust. If you're not careful, you may end up with a burnt steak.

Peppercorns are also an essential ingredient for the crust of the steak, as they add additional flavor and texture. Crushed peppercorns can be crushed using a rolling pin, mallet, or spice grinder. You can also include tomato or balsamic vinegar to the mixture. If you have a conventional grill, you can use this method to cook steak on it.

If you're looking for an easy way to prepare a steak with a crispy crust, you'll want to try a Parmesan Crusted Steak. The combination of spices, herbs, and cheese in this recipe transforms the steak dining experience. Serve it with grilled vegetables and a glass of red wine to make the most out of it.

Another easy method for preparing a crusted steak is by using blue cheese. It adds a bit of texture to the steak and also helps bind the ingredients together. It also pairs well with balsamic-glazed caramelized shallots, which add a nice balance of flavors.

To prepare the steak crust, you first need to make sure you have a skillet large enough to accommodate the steak. After that, you can place the steak in the oven for a few minutes to get the bottom part of the steak hot. Once it reaches the desired temperature, it should rest for about five minutes before serving.

When preparing a steak crust, you should always consider the cut of beef you're using. It's important to choose a cut with the right fat and lean meat. You may also want to make the steak as thin as possible to reduce the risk of it being overcooked.

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Hawaiian Steak Recipe and Houston’s Hawaiian Ribeye Recipe

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Hawaiian Steak Recipe and Houston's Hawaiian Ribeye Recipe

Hawaiian steaks are made with tender slices of beef, juicy pineapple, and sweet mini peppers. These ingredients are marinated and grilled until tender. Hawaiian steaks can be served with potatoes, fresh vegetables, and a simple salad. If you're looking for a fast and easy dinner idea, Hawaiian steak kabobs are a great option.

To make Hawaiian steaks, you'll need Hawaiian seasoning salt. This seasoning mix contains ‘alaea salt, garlic, onion, and ginger powder. It's best if you apply the seasoning mix to the steaks at least 20 minutes before grilling. You can use Hawaiian seasoning salt for steaks, chicken, fish, and vegetables. Just remember to apply it liberally.

Hawaiian steaks can be cooked using a grill or on a barbecue grill. This method results in a juicy center and charred edges. The meat is best grilled in Hawai'i. Once you've cooked the beef, it can be stored in an airtight container for three to four days.

To prepare Hawaiian steaks, start by marinating the steak. You can use soy sauce, pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, and garlic. Then, pour the marinade over the steaks and let them marinate for at least a day. You can also make the compound butter ahead of time and use it to cook the steaks.

Before grilling the steak, you should season it well on both sides. Heat a cast-iron pan on medium-high. Cook the steak for about two minutes on each side. Once finished, remove the steak from the grill and refrigerate it. Once the steak is cool, remove the excess fat.

To grill Hawaiian steaks, heat up a grill to medium-high or high. Grill the steaks until desired degrees of doneness are reached. The internal temperature of the steak should be 130F for rare steaks and 140F for medium-rare steaks. After the steaks are ready, you should transfer them to a cutting board and cover them with aluminum foil. Let them rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

The meat used in Hawaiian steaks is usually made from Spam, which is widely mocked on the mainland. It's also served with pineapple. Spam is eaten in about a third of U.S. households and was the winner of a state fair recipe contest. One Hawaiian state fair recipe even turned Spam into a nacho burger.

Did you miss our previous article…
http://amazinghamburger.com/cooking-tips/pork-chop-with-mushroom-sauce-for-pork/

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