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 :)
Category: Featured Articles
About the AuthorAs a Certified Baker (CB) and a long-time foodie, Alan owned a full line retail bakery with 20+ employees for many years. He was trained and apprenticed by a second generation Master Baker who was the original owner of the shop. He bought it when the owner retired, and ran it for 11 years before selling. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Business Finance and, in addition to cooking, enjoys sailing, gardening, woodworking, hunting, and anything that seems interesting at the moment. He's currently cooking, writing his own food blog, taking part in the Pee Dee Food Show, and enjoying life. His most recent venture is "Rebel Pie", an authentic Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant located near Timmonsville. Learn more about Alan through his Contributor page under the About tab.
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