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Mar 30, 2013 07:31 AM

Brine percentage?

Anyone sure how to characterize the brine percentage of this brine (taken from Alton Brown's corned beef recipe)?

2 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 pounds ice (website below suggests that this equals 1 quart melted)

So, 3 quarts water to 1 cup (Morton) kosher salt?

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  1. Does Brown specify brand of kosher salt? Morton's is denser than Diamond, which makes a considerable difference. The 3:1 is correct as far as the water goes. Also, if you have never brined before, be forewarned that if you use all cold water, you'll have a devil of a time dissolving the salt. I always boil a quarter to a third of the water to dissolve the salt, then add ice/ice water to chill it before proceeding.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      Brown, uncharacteristically, does not specify kosher salt brand. After snooping on the internet and also actually weighing a cup of Morton Kosher salt on my so-so scale, it appears that it weighs about 8 ounces. (I saw reports ranging from 7.25-8.25 ounces). Diamond is a bit over 5 ounces, which reminds me of the rule of thumb which I always forget which brand goes where: you need roughly half again as much Diamond by volume to equal a given volume of Morton.

      Anyway, I'll try to answer my question, but as a onetime English major, would prefer backup. 3 quarts of water is 6 pounds (96oz). 1 cup morton kosher is .5 pounds (8oz). A half pound goes into 6 pounds 12 times. 96oz divided by 12 is 8. Does that mean an 8% brine? Interesting that the brine would be notably weaker with Diamond, more like 5%?

    2. Technically ... quarts are a wet measure and and 1 cup salt is a dry measure so they aren't the same. I suppose you could measure in weight. 8.33 pounds or 133 ounces per gallon of water. 1 cup Morton Kosher is 10 ounces so the ratio the recipe calls for is 6.6 to 1 water to kosher salt.

      Ok... I'm through being pickyunish. The brining ratios that I am familiar with is:

      Table Salt 1 cup per gallon 1/4 cup per quart
      Kosher Salt 1 1/2 cups per gallon 6 Tbls per quart
      Diamond Kosher 2 cups per gallon 8 Tbls or 1/2 cup per quart

      My calculation would be 3/4 cup or 18 Tbls Morton Kosher salt for 3 quarts water.

      I believe Alton is using a "heavy" brine because he is corning. Using his recipes ratio would be 1 1/2 cups Morton Kosher salt for 3 quarts water.

      1. are you making a turkey? I find wet brine to be messy so this year I rub with thyme, pepper and 1/3 cup kosher salt onto a 7kg turkey 36 hours before roasting and put the salted bird back in the fridge. no sloppy brine and lots of compliments.