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~ Are most meats at the supermarket already brined with salt? If so, how do can you tell? ~

designparadise Dec 22, 2011 01:49 PM

~ Are most meats at the supermarket already brined with salt? If so, how do can you tell? ~

  1. c
    cacruden May 29, 2012 05:13 AM

    One of Heston Blumenthal's (chef/owner of The Fat Duck restaurant - 3 michelin stars) recommendations for roasting chicken at home is to first brine the chicken in a 6% brine (300g salt dissolved in 5 litres of water) solution overnight before roasting the chicken the next day. The reason for doing this is that with the brining solution (making sure not to over salt the solution) the chicken will retain it's liquid during roasting better making for a juicier roast chicken.

    I wonder if the supermarket is just using the brine solution to make their chicken seem like a higher quality by getting the process started for you :p

    16 Replies
    1. re: cacruden
      hotoynoodle May 29, 2012 06:54 AM

      you can honestly think big food companies like wal-mart have honorable intentions towards consumers? that's either adorable or scary.

      1. re: hotoynoodle
        tommy May 29, 2012 07:00 AM

        Walmart doesn't make the product.

        The food industry is interested in selling food. One of the ways they do that is by making it taste good. A saline solution makes for a juicier product. So people buy it. Pretty simple.

        1. re: tommy
          hotoynoodle May 29, 2012 12:14 PM

          walmart is notorious not just for how poorly it treats its workers, but for bullying suppliers. to maintain best-price supplier status, they must continue to cut costs after getting in the door. this leads to a ripple effect shoddier products and deteriorating treatment of employees by other companies.

          and to sandy's point, yeah, i'm guessing few shoppers actually read the label on their meat, just assuming it's all beef or all pork. they're shopping in crap stores because everything is super-cheap. that is their main concern. there has become a disconnect in this country between value and cost.

          1. re: hotoynoodle
            tommy May 29, 2012 12:20 PM

            If it's super-dirt cheap then the people shopping at Walmart seem to be getting quite a good deal. Win-win.

            1. re: tommy
              sandylc May 29, 2012 12:41 PM

              Not cheap enough, I'm guessing, to compensate for the product to be up to 20% added water and chemicals.

        2. re: hotoynoodle
          Cathy May 29, 2012 07:37 AM

          Walmart is a distributor. They distribute items that will make a profit for their company.

          Sysco is a distributor of products that make a profit. for their company.

          Office Depot is a distributor of products that make a profit for their company.

          All companies are in business to make a profit, not to lose money.

          The products that Walmart distributes are purchased by people who choose to make that purchase. This is the same with all businesses. People have the freedom to make that choice. If people did not purchase brine-infused products, companies would not make them and Walmart would not distribute.

          1. re: Cathy
            sandylc May 29, 2012 09:12 AM

            " If people did not purchase brine-infused products, companies would not make them and Walmart would not distribute."

            The vast majority of people who purchase this type of product don't read the label. They think that chicken is chicken and don't know/care to learn about different types/qualities of chicken and aren't interested in learning about it. They will buy whatever chicken Walmart puts in their cases and never know the difference. Therefore, Walmart will get away with anything they can regarding pumping up the weight (and APPARENT quality) of their chicken to cheaply decrease their cost, thereby increasing Walmart profits. Yes, this is why Walmart exists and is the basis of our economy, but this type of unscrupulous behavior needs to be called out. Profits for a large business = GOOD; achieving this through chicken-cheating= BAD.

            Also, there is a world of difference between "enhancement" of chicken by the processor and brining it at home; the simplest part of this being that overly LONG brining will produce mushy meat and flabby skin.

            1. re: sandylc
              tommy May 29, 2012 09:45 AM

              I don't think Walmart is brining chicken.

              1. re: tommy
                sandylc May 29, 2012 09:48 AM

                I just took the above examples. Now I'm curious - I'll have to go there and read their labels! If they are, I'll bet that they don't use the word "brine" - they'll just have tiny-print ingredients that shouldn't be there.

                1. re: sandylc
                  tommy May 29, 2012 09:50 AM

                  I mean to say that they aren't producers. They are retailers.

                  1. re: tommy
                    sandylc May 29, 2012 09:58 AM

                    But they choose what items to carry - it doesn't matter if they produce it themselves or not.

                    1. re: tommy
                      LauraGrace May 30, 2012 06:14 PM

                      tommy, you and others saying that retailers simply supply what their customers buy is a bit like claiming that the wedding industry only exists because of people's desire for massive weddings. It's much more complicated than that. It's a dysfunctionally symbiotic relationship, and the power is in the hands of the retailers. They're making the decisions about what we buy before we even walk into the store. When your options are limited from the start, how can you be said to be making a genuine choice?

                      When I ask my four-year-old niece if she wants to wear THIS outfit or THIS one, I'm not giving her genuine agency over her clothing choices. What I'm doing is giving her the illusion of choice so we can get out the door quicker. That's exactly what big retailers like Walmart do. They give their customers the illusion of choice, trumpet their low prices, and rake in the profits. Rather than using their powerful position in the worldwide food retail industry to influence producers to make products that are actually better for their customers, they use it to keep more and more people in the Standard American Diet that's killing them. Ain't capitalism grand?

                      1. re: LauraGrace
                        sandylc May 30, 2012 06:38 PM

                        Nicely put. People who are not terribly interested in every detail about food just want to buy whatever they can grab that looks familiar. Translation: Whatever the store chooses to stock, regardless of purity or quality.

                        1. re: LauraGrace
                          tommy May 30, 2012 07:40 PM

                          I actually find the free market grand.

                          1. re: LauraGrace
                            cacruden May 30, 2012 09:34 PM

                            Think you have it wrong there. Retailers are in the business to make money, and sell what the customer is going to buy in enough volume to make a profit. American customers don't generally demand quality, they buy based on cheapest price. Capitalism is grand, it is the customers that are the problem.

                            1. re: cacruden
                              LauraGrace May 31, 2012 07:16 AM

                              If you don't think Walmart and similar retailers are part of the problem with the way people eat in this country, than I don't think we're going to find any points of agreement.

                              I think genuine capitalism is pretty great, largely. I like a free market. But the way we do food in this country is about as far away from the spirit of the free market without actually leaving a technically capitalist system (and even in some areas not remotely capitalist -- unless you call the government price-fixing project known as US ag policy "capitalist").

            2. Kajikit Jan 1, 2012 01:29 PM

              They have to tell you if they are - unbrined chicken, for example, generally says something like '3% water by volume retained through processing' to make allowance for the water that stays in the bird after it's washed and wrapped. Brined/injected poultry goes up to 20%. Read the labels carefully and watch for 'enhanced' 'injected' etc. They'll 'enhance' anything they can get their hands on, but all that's really being enhanced is their pocket book because people are paying more money for less actual food!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Kajikit
                designparadise May 29, 2012 01:14 AM

                thanks, that helps

              2. linguafood Jan 1, 2012 11:11 AM

                FWIW -- whenever I get chicken breast, I prefer kosher. They are brined, stay juicy and flavorful, and I couldn't care less if some of my money is spent on saltwater. I care about the taste, and they are better than factory chicken (which I don't buy) or organic chicken breasts.

                Yes, I could brine the meat myself, but I'm lazy.

                2 Replies
                1. re: linguafood
                  coney with everything May 29, 2012 05:19 AM

                  but with kosher meat, you know (or at least are reasonably confident) that there aren't any mystery chemicals in the solution

                  Something like Kroger's "moist 'n' tender" pork, well, who knows what's in there? Maybe benign, but I'd rather flavor meat to my liking, not to Cargill's.

                  1. re: coney with everything
                    linguafood May 29, 2012 05:35 AM

                    Kosher chicken breasts are a) the only kosher product I buy and b) I don't buy supermarket meat that's brined in mystery solutions. Win-win.

                2. s
                  sandylc Dec 30, 2011 03:55 PM

                  MOST of the groceries in my area have ingredients on the labels of at least some of their meat. I know that two chains even put this "enhanced" meat in their "butcher" case. Target stores even "enhance" their BEEF!!!! It is actually hard to find un-"enhanced" pork around here. A good deal of the chicken from Hormel is "extra tender". Our family calls this fuel-injected.

                  I am not interested in buying something by weight which has been made heavier with a bunch of stuff that I don't want put in my food. From a taste standpoint, it makes the meat mushy and unappetizing.

                  Back to how you can tell - meat should never have any ingredients on the label!

                  1. w
                    wyogal Dec 30, 2011 06:53 AM

                    No. and like everyone said, read the label.
                    and what's with the anti-fat attached sentiment? "loose meat" is what, exactly? And why buy meat pre-sliced? What's the deal?

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: wyogal
                      porker Dec 30, 2011 07:16 AM

                      We're working on that....

                      1. re: wyogal
                        Harters Dec 30, 2011 07:35 AM

                        ""loose meat" is what, exactly?"

                        I think it was me who first used the phrase. It's what, in the UK, we'd say about the meat on a supermarket butchery counter - as opposed to the wrapped or packaged meat that you get in the chiller aisles.

                        1. re: Harters
                          linguafood Dec 30, 2011 09:33 AM

                          So this person might be British? Well, that explains everything about wanting to boil meat.


                          1. re: linguafood
                            sunshine842 Dec 30, 2011 09:42 AM

                            Lingua, that was too easy.

                            (Harters, she doesn't mean it.)

                            Loose meat, to someone from the Midwest, is the filling for a sandwich served on a bun -- hamburger (mince) fried with tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, onions, and some barbecue sauce -- a first cousin to a sloppy joe.

                            1. re: linguafood
                              Harters Dec 30, 2011 10:03 AM

                              No, no, no, my dear lingua. There is a world of difference between someone using a British phrase and being British. Nicht wahr?

                              1. re: Harters
                                linguafood Dec 30, 2011 10:16 AM


                                1. re: linguafood
                                  Harters Dec 30, 2011 11:10 AM


                              2. re: linguafood
                                porker Dec 30, 2011 06:55 PM

                                I read through this thread a coupla times now. How do you know about designparadise's penchant for boiling meat?

                                1. re: porker
                                  acgold7 Dec 30, 2011 07:09 PM

                                  By the other threads he/she has started.

                                  1. re: acgold7
                                    porker Dec 30, 2011 07:23 PM

                                    Has he/she ever followed up on these threads?

                                    1. re: porker
                                      acgold7 Dec 30, 2011 09:57 PM

                                      Sort of, but in a very baffling way.

                                      1. re: acgold7
                                        porker Dec 31, 2011 07:43 AM

                                        Based on this thread, I'd wholeheartedly agree.

                          2. Chemicalkinetics Dec 29, 2011 06:04 PM

                            Most meat which are packed in a seal plasic -- yes.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              janniecooks Dec 30, 2011 12:45 AM

                              Do you mean to sat that meat that is purchased at the meat counter in one's local grocery, packed on a foam tray and wrapped in plastic is brined? Or are you referring to the cryovac packaging? Please clarify your statement, because in either case what you stated is NOT what I see at my local market. If meat is brined the label CLEARLY STATES that the meat was brined. If there is no statement about brining on the label there is NO ADDED BRINE.

                              There is no consipracy to market meats that have been brined, but keep it a secret from the consumer. Regrettably Wal Mart and apparently Safeway find it necessary to sell only or mostly "flavor-enhanced" meats, but that is by no means common. But most importantly, the label tells all.

                              1. re: janniecooks
                                Chemicalkinetics Dec 30, 2011 12:57 AM

                                Most of the pork tenderlion meat I found in these packages:


                                have salted water added to them. Yes, they are labeled. I didn't say conspiracy.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  PommeDeGuerre Dec 30, 2011 01:07 AM

                                  Appears to be three cryovaced pork loins. Pork loin can be very lean, so I would understand the brining as long as it is clearly labeled, though it is not my preference to purchase pre-brined meat.

                            2. d
                              designparadise Dec 29, 2011 04:31 PM

                              Thank you!! But, at least for me, I am NEVER buying whole or half meat again! :) Just going to buy "loose meat" or presliced meat at fair price. NEVER buying anything with fat already on it.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: designparadise
                                porker Dec 29, 2011 04:49 PM

                                Just curious, what do you mean by "NEVER buying anything with fat already on it."?

                                1. re: designparadise
                                  linguafood Dec 29, 2011 04:58 PM

                                  Please define "whole" and "half" meat. Also, since you're so in love with *boiling* meat, you might want all the fat you can get on that piece, unless you like chewing on leather.

                                  1. re: designparadise
                                    PommeDeGuerre Dec 30, 2011 01:05 AM

                                    If you want to pay someone three bucks a pound to rip the delicious skin from your chicken, have at it.

                                    1. re: designparadise
                                      Harters Dec 30, 2011 01:52 AM

                                      Can't understand why you are "Never buying anything with fat already on it". Fat is an important part of the cooking process for many meats and is the key to flavour. You don't have to eat it.

                                      1. re: Harters
                                        porker Dec 30, 2011 06:47 AM

                                        ~ I'm trying to figure this out myself...~

                                      2. re: designparadise
                                        hotoynoodle Dec 31, 2011 08:34 AM

                                        meat naturally contains fat. that's why it's delicious! what are you talking about?

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                                          porker Dec 31, 2011 12:32 PM

                                          ~ I'm still trying to figure this out myself...~

                                      3. h
                                        Harters Dec 23, 2011 03:36 AM

                                        It may depend on where in the world you are, of course. Where I am, packaged meat would be required, by law, to state if salt had been added. It's an important protection for the consumer as, otherwise, you wouldnt know how much water you were buying along with your meat.

                                        Loose meat, at the butchery counter, is unlikely to have salt added (except, say, bacon and sausages, where salt is inherent in the preparation process). So, that's where I'd buy chicken for instance - I want to spend my money on chicken, not chicken and salty water.

                                        1. j
                                          janniecooks Dec 23, 2011 12:40 AM

                                          Very few meats at the supermarket are already brined with salt. Read the label. If there is added saline solution or brine the label will clearly state so. Despite popular believe, very little poultry has added brine. Poultry labels often have some text about water retained from the chilling process, but that is not technically added brine or water.

                                          The exception to the above is meat from Walmart. I believe most, if not all, their meats and all their poultry have added brine or some sort of solution, because they believe their customers prefer it that way.

                                          39 Replies
                                          1. re: janniecooks
                                            bitchincook Dec 29, 2011 05:34 PM

                                            The Safeway where I shop routinely "enhances" its regular skinless-boneless chicken breast with salt water. You have to pay extra to get chicken that has not been pumped up that way. They are also offering less and less meat that has been cut by the butcher in the store. Instead, they have stuff in bags or sealed packages from factories. I am therefore spending more and more of my grocery dollars at another market that has an on-site butchering operation and offers no "enhancements."

                                            1. re: janniecooks
                                              Kelli2006 Dec 30, 2011 02:13 AM

                                              The water/brine also adds to the weight of the meat and increases the cost at little cost to the producer. Why would you want to brine a steak when the very best steaks have been dry aged for 2+ weeks?

                                              That is one of the many reasons why I refuse to buy any fresh meat from Wal-Mart, but I will occasionally buy a package of hot dogs or pre-packaged sausage such as Bob Evans or Johnsonville.

                                              1. re: Kelli2006
                                                tommy Dec 31, 2011 08:39 AM

                                                Who is selling brined steaks, other than kosher places?

                                                1. re: tommy
                                                  Kelli2006 Dec 31, 2011 12:22 PM

                                                  Most of Wal-Mart's fresh meat is "enhanced".

                                                  1. re: Kelli2006
                                                    tommy Dec 31, 2011 12:23 PM


                                                    ETA: Good God, they do have enhanced beef. But I don't see why this is a bad thing necessarily.

                                                    1. re: tommy
                                                      porker Dec 31, 2011 12:31 PM

                                                      Beef, Pork, Chicken, cold cuts, eggs, and spam.

                                                      1. re: tommy
                                                        Kelli2006 Dec 31, 2011 12:51 PM

                                                        The best beef has been dry aged 2-3 weeks to remove water because water doesn't add flavor, so why would you want meat that has had extra water and salt injected into it?

                                                        Injecting fluids into beef covers up many sins and boosts the weight of the product to add to the profit at little cost to the producer.

                                                        1. re: Kelli2006
                                                          tommy Dec 31, 2011 01:19 PM

                                                          The process of dry-aging is much more complex that simply the removal of water, and it's not done to just remove water.

                                                          Having water (which exists in most things that you eat) in meat can lead to the impression that it's juicier (try putting some water in ground beef for a hamburger, or brining a pork chop, or chicken, or turkey, or duck). And of course, salt is a flavor enhancer.

                                                          Whether or not dry-aged beef is "the best" is simply opinion. Some people don't like it at all.

                                                          1. re: tommy
                                                            hotoynoodle Jan 1, 2012 06:19 AM

                                                            so you're ok with paying extra for saline water inside your meats? you wouldn't rather marinate or season the meat yourself? you wouldn't rather be sure the product is absolutely fresh, vs. having a bunch of junk masking the true flavor?


                                                            Here’s Wal-Mart’s explanation to the Hartford Courant:

                                                            "Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters told me that all its case-ready beef (packaged at the processing plant) is “enhanced with a maximum 12 percent solution of water, sodium phosphate, salt, and natural flavorings. "

                                                            an anecdotal observation from a shopper who wrote to the walmart ceo:

                                                            Ham………….contained……23% solution
                                                            Chicken Breasts.contained……15% solution
                                                            Pork Roast……contained……12% solution
                                                            Ground Round….contained……15% solution
                                                            Chuck Roast…..contained……11% solution
                                                            Beef Fillet…..contained……20% solution

                                                        2. re: tommy
                                                          janniecooks Jan 1, 2012 01:35 AM

                                                          It's bad because 1) the consumer ends up paying, on a per-ounce basis, an exorbitant dollar price for what is essentially salt water (the brines add up to 25% to the weight of the product, and 2) being brined, the meats are excessively high in sodium, and there are other additives as well.

                                                          1. re: janniecooks
                                                            tommy Jan 1, 2012 07:22 AM

                                                            Pay what you want. If it's too excessive brine yourself. No one is forcing you to buy the product.

                                                            1. re: tommy
                                                              Steve Jan 1, 2012 07:38 AM

                                                              "No one is forcing you" could be added to every post on this site. It is meaningless in the context of an opinion-based website.

                                                              I don't buy meat from Walmart, but I am happy to know to avoid it in the future because I don't want to pay meat prices for water. I tried adding water to hamburger once based on a suggested recipe. I thought it was a bad idea, and after trying it I have an even lower opinion of the practice.

                                                              1. re: Steve
                                                                tommy Jan 1, 2012 07:49 AM

                                                                Maybe I'm just crazy and prefer to try a product before coming up with reasons to not. Especially arguments like "you're paying for water" or some unsubstantiated "exorbitant dollar price." You're paying for water when you buy anything. There's water in beef. There's water in asparagus. Perhaps there's a new all-jerky diet with which I'm not familiar.

                                                                One poster doesn't want to spend more for water. Another poster is OK with beef that has had water removed (and will pay more for less water). Neither seems to address how the process could actually be beneficial.

                                                                I don't buy meat from Walmart either. I'm happy to be able to afford anything I want, and to be able to try different food products before forming opinions.

                                                                1. re: tommy
                                                                  sunshine842 Jan 1, 2012 08:23 AM

                                                                  Yes, all food products contain water - it's a natural component of all living things.

                                                                  BUT -- "enhanced" meat has ***added*** water -- along with a lot of salt and all kinds of other things that an awful lot of us don't add to our meat anyway....

                                                                  So paying for something that I *know* is 6-15% water and stuff I don't add to meat anyway is really not on my list of things I'm going to do any time soon.

                                                                  And I have tried Walmart meat -- two words: salt lick.

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                                    hotoynoodle Jan 1, 2012 08:42 AM

                                                                    i live in new england, where the sea offers up some of the best scallops in the world. you can buy "dry" or "wet" scallops.



                                                                    "Wet scallops are commonly treated with Phosphates which is a preservative. When scallops are soaked in phosphates, they absorb water making them weigh more and thereby costing you more. (Take in mind, that you are paying for added water.) The absorbed water evaporates during cooking and, in turn, shrinks your scallops leaving them smaller, dry and somewhat tasteless. Furthermore, the added water does not let scallops brown properly during cooking. It is generally easy to discern treated scallops as they will usually appear snow-white in color."

                                                                    in market, these wet scallops are sitting in a pool of white cloudy liquid, so easy to spot, even for a novice.

                                                                    this treatment may add up to 25% more weight to the food. sure, they come from the ocean and their meat is a very high percentage of water. do i want to pay even MORE for added water? not to mention preservatives?

                                                                    the "solution" injected to walmart meats is just that: extra water and preservatives. this is not about enhancing flavor. only maximizing profits with inferior products.

                                                                    you sometimes play devil's advocate in odd places, tommy.

                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                      tommy Jan 1, 2012 08:45 AM

                                                                      "you sometimes play devil's advocate in odd places, tommy."

                                                                      Yeah, I have this weird desire for critical thinking.

                                                                      1. re: tommy
                                                                        hotoynoodle Jan 1, 2012 08:52 AM

                                                                        i don't equate critical thinking with simple contrariness.

                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                          tommy Jan 1, 2012 09:01 AM


                                                                        2. re: tommy
                                                                          sandylc Jan 1, 2012 10:46 AM

                                                                          Tommy, our food industry already adds things to the food supply that shouldn't be there. I don't want to buy a chemistry experiment, I want to buy fresh, real meat without mysterious additives.

                                                                          Pre-"brining" meats causes the texture to be mushy in a very unappealing way. When someone brines meat at home or in a restaurant, the brining time is MUCH shorter than in packaged meats - often only 30 minutes for smaller cuts. This is to avoid breaking down the meat to an unpleasant pudding-like consistency.

                                                                          We all love to pick on Wal-Mart, but Target is doing the same thing. Other chains regularly do this to pork and chicken, but so far around here they are at least leaving the beef alone (unlike Wal-Mart and Target).

                                                                          1. re: sandylc
                                                                            hotoynoodle Jan 1, 2012 11:38 AM

                                                                            my rule of thumb is not to buy my food in the same place i can buy snow tires.

                                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                              acgold7 Jan 1, 2012 11:39 AM

                                                                              Then you're missing out on some of the best food in the country, at Costco.

                                                                              1. re: acgold7
                                                                                hotoynoodle Jan 1, 2012 01:20 PM

                                                                                there is no costco near enough to me. i generally am only cooking for two, so the cost of gas simply doesn't justify driving and joining.

                                                                                for cheese and yogurts i get great values at trader joe's. meat i buy from butchers i frequent. regular, old-school butchers. they don't sell lawnmowers or underpants. for the offal-bits, i shop in asian markets.

                                                                              2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                sandylc Jan 1, 2012 11:52 AM

                                                                                Sam's Club baking yeast is amazing, at 1/8 the cost of supermarket yeast. They also have a wonderful Aged Irish Cheddar for a great price. EV Olive Oil is also a bargain. Most of the other food is terrible - especially the meat. Food shopping is a treasure hunt these days.

                                                                              3. re: sandylc
                                                                                WILLOBIE Jul 6, 2012 07:54 AM

                                                                                Our big grocery chain is Hy-Vee. They introduced pumped beef a few years ago to compete with Walmart, but it now occupies a small part of their wrapped meat section and none of their butcher shop section which features Amana USDA choice beef. Their chicken has retained water but they offer MDA Smart Chicken which is air chilled with no retained water. However, and this is a big "however" for an Iowa chain, they have absolutely NO unpumped pork. All they sell is "Hormel, Always Tender" which is 12% brine. For every dollar per pound, you are paying 1.136 for the net weight sans water.

                                                                                1. re: WILLOBIE
                                                                                  cacruden Jul 6, 2012 09:00 AM

                                                                                  The chicken contains 12% brine solution, or the chicken was brined in a 12% solution? There is a considerable difference. I would not expect them to weigh the chicken before and after and then calculate the increase in weight all to put 12% brine on the packaging unless they really have to legally (I am guessing that they are only legally required to tell you salt added). Brining is an age old process to enhance tenderness of meat by doing two things: 1. The chicken immersed in brine solution will retain some of the brine; 2. (more importantly) it will dissolve or denature some protein which will help the chicken retain moisture during cooking. Most people will just buy a chicken take it home and cook it without giving much thought to the cooking process and will end up with a more dried out chicken meat..... for them a brined chicken will of course end up tasting better since it will be juicier and more tender. It is not a new process, and as far as I am concerned as long as it is labelled - then let the consumer choose. Don't know why this one gets people's knickers in a knot.

                                                                                  1. re: cacruden
                                                                                    tommy Jul 6, 2012 10:09 AM

                                                                                    I love it when math comes together.

                                                                        3. re: tommy
                                                                          Harters Jan 1, 2012 08:33 AM

                                                                          The benefit of selling meat with injected water is entirely one for the retailer. It pumps up the weight that you buy by the pound/kilo. That is why they do it. It is a scam - unfortunately one that is legal in most countries.

                                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                                            tommy Jan 1, 2012 08:44 AM

                                                                            You seem to be speaking from a position of authority. Where have you read that a saline solution does nothing to alter taste/juiciness? Seems counterintuitive, since the process adds salt and liquid.

                                                                            1. re: tommy
                                                                              hotoynoodle Jan 1, 2012 08:53 AM

                                                                              please see my paste above, regarding the downsides of "wet" scallops.

                                                                              injections indeed alter "juiciness", allowing even more liquid to leach of the protein during cooking, drying it out.

                                                                              1. re: tommy
                                                                                sunshine842 Jan 1, 2012 09:08 AM

                                                                                It doesn't necessarily add juiciness -- with ground beef, 'wet' scallops,, and chicken, the water is squeezed out of the meat as the muscle tissue contracts on the heat, leaving you with a pan full of water and the meat.....this increases the salt concentration, as when the water evaporates, it leaves you with more salt (and other crap) per pound than when you bought it. (the water also tends to leave the meat waterlogged ad strangely-textured, not juicy). Since they're already adding a pretty good addition of salt (and other crap), increasing the concentration of those things just leave you with a piece of meat that tastes mostly of salt (and other crap) and only distantly a piece of soggy, waterlogged meat.

                                                                                Biggest issue is -- why would you willingly cough up your hard-earned money KNOWING that 25% of the weight is just water? This equates to a 25% markup to purchase the same weight of meat...why would you do that, especially when since you're buying NON altered meat at what works out to be a 25% discount, brine ONLY what you want to brine (because really, who brines steaks?) - and you remain in control of what salt (or other crap) ends up on your plate.

                                                                                Would you pay good money for a cocktail that's watered down by 25%? (before adding ice, of course) How about the convenience mart down the street starts watering down all of its fountain drinks by 25%...how long do you think that will last?

                                                                                1. re: tommy
                                                                                  Harters Jan 1, 2012 09:33 AM

                                                                                  "You seem to be speaking from a position of authority"

                                                                                  Indeed so.

                                                                          2. re: tommy
                                                                            janniecooks Jan 2, 2012 08:33 AM

                                                                            True, no one is forcing the consumer to buy. Personally I prefer to add my own post-slaughter additives.

                                                                            1. re: janniecooks
                                                                              sandylc Jan 2, 2012 10:48 AM

                                                                              I agree with the concept that no one is forcing you to buy anything - many here have pointed this out (maybe even me; I don't remember! ha)

                                                                              The problems with this:

                                                                              1. Many people don't know the difference. They don't read labels, they just pick up what's available and cheap at their neighborhood store. These are not discriminating consumers regarding taste, quality, or health.

                                                                              2. Because of number one, grocers/producers decide that since so many people are buying crap, crap is what people want. Thus, they produce even more crap. If you ask a food producer to improve the health/quality of their products, they will give you the line that they are fulfilling consumer "demands".

                                                                              3. Because of number two, I have to drive further and search harder every year to find real food to buy. Oh, and did I mention pay more?

                                                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                                                janniecooks Jan 3, 2012 12:33 AM

                                                                                Sandy I agree wholeheartedly with all your points. The whole trend is troubling, reminiscent of, or just a slippery slope on the way to, adulterated foods in the name of profits a la China in recent years. Short of not giving such retailers our custom, what could or should we as consumers do, those of us who prefer fresh meat with no additives?

                                                                                1. re: janniecooks
                                                                                  sandylc Jan 3, 2012 12:13 PM

                                                                                  Well, that's the scary part. In order to stop the slide mid-slope, we have to convince more people to buy real food. If the choices are truly consumer-driven, then we need more consumers on the right side. It sounds great to say, "they can just buy that crap - I know better and I'll buy the good stuff", but in reality the people who are buying the crap are supporting the crap industry and even helping it to grow. This is why the icky food industry is threatening to eclipse the real food industry. So, education and conversations are our allies.

                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                    melpy May 29, 2012 09:39 AM

                                                                                    So true. It was amazing how fast pink slime affected the practices of stores. If only the rest of the issues could be remedied.

                                                                2. re: janniecooks
                                                                  hotoynoodle Dec 31, 2011 08:33 AM

                                                                  i suspect this has more to do with the abhorrent quality of factory-farmed meat they sell. the brine masks the flavors of cow and pig anguish.

                                                                  1. re: janniecooks
                                                                    porker Jan 1, 2012 11:37 AM

                                                                    poultry is cooled (chilled) shortly after slaughter. One of the easiest ways is to submerge in cold water, and yes, some water is retained. Another method is air chilling, simply pass the carcass through a cold room.
                                                                    In a previous life, I had to decide which chicken supplier to deal with. Long story short, when cooked in a charcoal rotisserie (I tested each side by side), I preferred the wet-chilled birds. I'm not saying wet-chilled is generally better than air-, just that in this one application, for me, the wet-chilled gave better results.

                                                                    1. re: porker
                                                                      janniecooks Jan 2, 2012 07:44 AM

                                                                      I have no problem with wet-chilled birds, in fact that's all that can be purchased in most supermarkets as the birds sold there are factory-produced. Water retained from the wet-chilling process is normal, and the label usually states an approximate percentage of retained water. Contrast this with the practice, wide-spread in Walmart, and now apparently in Safeway and Target, of injecting some sort of brine or "flavor-enhancing" solution. This too is clearly stated on the label and I only raised the water-retention issue to contrast it with the practice of brine-injected meats.

                                                                  2. w
                                                                    Wiley1 Dec 22, 2011 07:13 PM

                                                                    Or if it says "seasoned" ? You see a lot of that.

                                                                    1. f
                                                                      ferret Dec 22, 2011 02:05 PM

                                                                      Meats that are vacuum sealed are more likely to have something added but as acgold7 said, it will say so on the packaging. The cuts of meat that are store-wrapped or in the butcher's case are not generally tinkered with.

                                                                      1. a
                                                                        acgold7 Dec 22, 2011 01:52 PM

                                                                        Most, no. Poultry and Pork, sometimes. In the US the label must say if there is a solution added. Look for the words "Solution," "Basted," "Added" or "Injected."

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