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Feb 19, 2011 11:26 AM

Brining for dummies

So I went to three sites for the perfect proportions of salt, sugar, and water (plus their recos for add ins like peppercorns, bay leaf etc.)

I used 6C water, 1/2 C salt, 1/2 C brown sugar. Boiled it ( not too long either so I wouldn't lose volume), then added in the salt and sugar, and simmered until dissolved. cooled it and then added pork loin. let it sit for 4 hours.

It sucked. Where did I mess up?

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  1. I brine regularly and have had much success with it. I've also done side-by-side comparisons with brined vs. non-brined pork and the brined had by far more flavour.

    Can you tell us on what sucked about it? Texture? Flavour?

    What kind of salt did you use? Each kind of salt measures differently. Coarse Kosher is best for brining. If you use regular iodized salt use quite a bit less than Kosher. Did you allow it to cool enough (meaning cold from the fridge)?

    It is recommended to brine pork loin for 12-24 hours (or even longer depending on the brine concentration) so perhaps you did not brine it long enough.

    Perhaps this article will help. I realize it is 1998 but the information still holds true.

    1. I think you used too much sugar. Cook's Illustrated recommends 2 tablespoons Kosher, 3 tablespoons Diamond kosher or 1 tablespoon table salt per pint of water and only 1 tablespoon brown sugar per pint. They also recommend 1 hour of brining per pound but not less than 30 minutes or more than 8 hours. When brining multiple items, time is based on one item. For example, use the weight of 1 of 4 pork chops being brined. You could also use 3 tablespoons of soy sauce per pint.

      With 6 cups of water, you should have used 3 tablespoons of kosher salt and 1.5 tablespoons of brown sugar. I also think you probably let the meat soak too long. Now, I have used much stronger brines than this but I usually don't brine the meat more than an hour or so.

      I would brine a turkey a lot longer.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Hank Hanover

        Oh My God.......... I completely over salted then.....Please laugh because I am ...I added a 1/2 C of salt to 6 C water......HA ! No wonder it SUCKED. Sorry for dely in reply.. I was travelling and eating take-out ( blah)

        1. re: dundy

          Duh - I totally missed that in your post! That definitely IS too much salt. Try brining again - it is so worth it.

          1. re: chefathome

            No I agree I like it when it works I've just come to realize more that it is a less intense thing than I thought in terms of salinity and time

      2. Wow! I have never killed a thread so completely and quickly before.

        I guess there was nothing left to say after my last post.