Have you ever wondered why no one ever talks about cooking a turkey except around Thanksgiving and Christmas? Have you ever heard someone rave about a juicy pork chop they ate, and lament their own ability to duplicate the results? (maybe that someone was you?) Have you ever shyed away from cooking really lean proteins like shrimp, turkey, chicken breast, and pork chops because they always seem to turn out dry and leathery? If so, I’ve got just the tip for you….don’t whine, brine! :)
Brining is the simple process of soaking that lean protein in a salt water solution to enhance it juiciness and tenderness. Of course, severely overcooking any meat can cause a dry, inedible dish; but brining first can drastically improve the juiciness of a properly cooked protein.
You can add other ingredients such as sugar to a brine, but they typically just function as flavor enhancers. It’s the salt that functions to tenderize and moisten. It’s basic science which causes the salt to break down the proteins and allow them to absorb moisture before cooking, which in turn allows more moisture to remain after cooking.
For the true foodies and more inquisitive minds, click here to see a more in depth article on the hows and whys, along with a table of guidelines for brining different meats.
Well, it’s time to get cooking. Just remember, if your pork chops are dry…don’t whine…brine! :)
See ya next week for another Tuesday Tip :)
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