Brine Your Meats For Increased Moisture Retention

brine

I am excited to write this, I have been planning it for a couple weeks, and have worked on it for the past two days. What I will be conducting in this article and video is an experiment to see how much more moisture can be added to pork and poultry with a simple brine of water and salt. To see a more thorough discussion of the topic, I recommend watching the video below. If you want the cliff notes, please keep reading.

For this experiment, I selected 10 chicken drumsticks, and broke them into two groups: the brined group, and the unbrined group. Below are the weights of each drumstick:

Brined:
#1: 118 grams
#2: 107 grams
#3: 152 grams
#4: 154 grams
#5: 119 grams

Unbrined:
#1: 141 grams
#2: 139 grams
#3: 138 grams
#4: 133 grams
#5: 106 grams

Since the unbrined will only be weighed after cooking now, we will revisit their information down the road.

 

After a 19hr brine in a solution of 3/4 gallon of water and 1/3 cup sea salt, I weighed the brined group again, after patting the outside dry:

Brined:
#1: 126 grams (6g difference)
#2: 113 grams (6g difference)
#3: 161 grams (9g difference)
#4: 165 grams (9g difference)
#5: 126 grams ( 7g difference)

You can clearly see that the brine has forced both moisture and salt into the muscle, but the salt is mostly negligible. This of it as adding about 1/2tsp of salt per pound of meat. There is an average of 7.4 grams added to each drumstick.

Next, I cooked them in a 350 degree oven on a 350 degree pizza stone for 21 minutes, after reaching an internal temp of 160 degrees. Here are the results, by weight, weight lost, and percentage of total weight lost:

Brined:
#1: 109 grams (9g loss)
#2: 99 grams (8g loss)
#3: 146 grams (6g loss)
#4: 150 grams (4g loss)
#5: 107 grams (8g loss)

This leaves us with an average of 7g lost per drumstick after cooking, for a total average weight of 5% lost per drumstick.

Next, the unbrined group:

Unbrined:
#1: 127 grams (14g loss)
#2: 130 grams (9g loss)
#3: 126 grams (12g loss)
#4: 120 grams (13g loss)
#5: 98 grams (8g loss)

This leaves us with an average loss of 11.2 grams per drumstick, for a total average weight of 8.9% lost per drumstick.

Check out my notes below.

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This clearly demonstrates that brining can not only give you the best meats you’ve ever made, you can completely change the way you cook your meats, with minimal work added. Thanks for reading, I’ll catch you beautiful folks next time, on LBEB Kitchen.