Injecting and Brining Whole Muscle Meats

List of Topics on this page brining meats
Injecting Whole Muscle Meats
– – – Learn by doing… Make some Buffalo Bend Beef
– – – Getting Your Feet Wet
– – – Buffalo Bend Beef (Dried Beef Rounds)
– – – Making A Brining Solution
– – – Making Larger Amounts Of Dried Beef
Meat Curing: Notes On Brining Hams, Whole Muscles, And Poultry
– – – Mojo Naranja Agria
– – – The Difference Between Brining And Curing
– – – Varying Strengths We Need For Different Projects
– – – Recommended Brine Strengths In SAL Degrees
– – – Considerations In Brine-Curing
– – – The Duration And “Pickup” – (Time In The Brine)
– – – How much brine should you make?
– – – Timing Is Critical
– – – Salt Brine Tables for Brine at 60 F (15° C) in US Gallons
– – – A Summary


Injecting Whole Muscle Meats
Learn by doing… Make some Buffalo Bend Beef
For years, brine-soaking whole muscle meats to preserve them, was just about the only method used by home hobbyists. Often their centers would begin to spoil before the salt-cure penetrated the meat sufficiently, especially if the cut contained a bone. Worse, the unquestionable barriers of skin and fat allow only slow penetration of the curing agent. For smaller cuts of meat, simple brine soaking arguably may be sufficient and remains a widely used practice today by home ham makers. However, in curing larger hams or cuts of meat, the curing brine must be forced or injected into the cells of the meat to provide complete penetration within the short time given before spoilage occurs. Traditionally this has been done by curing solution being introduced through the main artery of a leg or ham and this “nature’s pipeline” literally distributes curing pickle to every cell including bone marrow. Perhaps you’ve purchased a brine injector with two different needles. The one with a slanted, sharpened end is the one to use for injecting an artery. The needle is usually 5-3/8 inches in length, 3/16 of an inch in diameter, and is made of chrome-plated brass.

Don’t confuse arteries (carrying blood to the animal’s cells) with veins, which return blood to the heart. Pumping a vein will simply not work as it collapses the vein and will not carry the brine solution. How do you know the difference? Veins are larger than and not as flexible as arteries.

Because an artery is sometimes hard to locate after an animal has been butchered, and since time equals money in a commercial operation, these days most often a curing solution is injected quickly into the flesh using a gang of needles. A variety of “stitch pumping” gang needles are available to commercial processors, but generally, we home hobbyists are “stuck” (no pun intended) with the second type “perforated” single needle that comes with your brine injector. It is usually 5-1/2 inches long, 3/16 of an inch in diameter and contains a dozen holes. This needle is withdrawn slowly as the cure is distributed throughout the meat.

Care must be taken not to “overstitch” the meat as it may become mushy as salt removes some protein. Only six to twelve percent of a muscle’s weight is injected into the meat while it soaks in the leftover brine. Recipe instructions usually carefully indicate the exact amount of brine to be used. Anyone can “give a piggy a shot” and injection pumping the ham is by far, preferred over simple brine soaking. Weighing brine cure is simple. Simply move the decimal point left one place as you weigh the meat. This gives you the 10% brine weight. If the item contains a shank or bone, be sure to inject them first with sufficient cure.

Getting Your Feet Wet

Why not begin by brine-curing a beef round. You may be asking yourself, “Now, what on earth would you have by curing a round”. Do you remember what curing does to pork? Prague Powder #1 and salt turn ordinary pork into gorgeous, tasty, HAM. Without sodium nitrite and sodium chloride, we wouldn’t have our favorite cuts of ham and all the wonderful casseroles and various dishes made from the stuff. Well, think about salt cured beef instead. Dried beef! I grew up on the stuff. There was always a dried beef, sourdough bread, and a sharp knife on the ranch kitchen table for any wrangler who happened by.

Buffalo Bend Beef (Dried Beef Rounds)

Don’t confuse dried beef with dried beef jerky. Dried beef is a large, fat-free, injection pumped, brine-cured, smoked, fully cooked, beef round, containing only fifty percent of its original moisture. It’s sliced paper-thin and is used for all sorts of recipes and great sandwiches.

Use beef “rounds” and trim away any excess fat. The beef and brine should be kept near 38 degrees Fahrenheit as possible and the curing solution should not exceed eight percent of the round’s weight. If the brine is much below 38°F., the meat will not pick up the cure readily. If it is much above 38° F., the meat may begin to spoil. Following injection pumping, allow the rounds to soak in leftover brine for ten days at this temperature for proper curing. Finallly, remove the meat and soak it in fresh icewater eight hours, changing the water every few hours.

Remove the rounds and allow them to drain and dry, packing them tightly into a cloth stockinette bag. Hang the stockinette in a pre-heated smokehouse for twelve hours at 100 degrees F. with the draft wide open. Raise the temperature to 125 degrees for another twelve hours with thin hickory smoke being introduced. Reduce the heat to 115 degrees and terminate the smoke. Allow the meat to shrink up to forty percent of its weight (not size) at this point, ideally in an atmosphere of 75% humidity at about 55°F. When the moisture drops below 85 Aw it will be safe to consume. Use a very sharp knife and slice it paper-thin as you use it.

Making A Brining Solution

How much salinity is recommended? A favorite 40° SAL brine in many recipes is made by adding a pound of salt to one gallon of water (see brining chart). Thus the formula for ten pounds of beef rounds in ½ gallon of liquid requires ½ pound of salt.

How much brine should you make? Again, “The amount of brine should equal about forty or fifty percent of the weight of the meat being cured”. You don’t need a barrel-full of brine to cure one chicken. Simply use enough brine to equal one and a half times the chicken’s weight.

How strong does it have to be? The FSIS limits the in-going nitrite limit in immersion, pumped, or massaged products to 200 parts per million. This is achieved when 120 grams (4.2 ounces) of Cure #1 is added to one gallon of water. One gallon of brine (according to the ol’ timers adage) will accommodate 20 pounds of meat. This means that ½ gallon of brine will be sufficient for 10 pounds of beef round. Here’s the arithmetic:

One gallon of brine cure (with 120 grams of Cure #1) is enough liquid to treat 20 pounds of meat. So, if you are brining 10 lbs. of meat, you need to only use about half a gallon of brine.

0.40 x 10 = 4 lbs of water (1/2 gallon)
[1 gallon weighs 8.33 lbs.]
Therefore, one half gallon of brine will sufficiently brine 10 lbs. of meat in the proper container.

2. Making A Curing Solution

Recipe #1 “Buffalo Bend Beef Curing Solution”
(Curing-Brine For 10 lbs. Beef Rounds)

4.17 lbs of water (1/2 gallon)
60 grams (2.1 ounces) Cure #1
227 grams (8 oz. or ½ lb.) salt
90 grams (3.2 oz.) sugar

Making Larger Amounts Of Dried Beef

On our ranch, we made a lot of dried beef and we did so in huge batches because tucked far back in the mountains, we couldn’t run to a grocery store for a couple of pounds of meat. We butchered an entire steer and much of it was preserved as dried beef, sausages, etc. for use later on. Consequently we made 5 gallons of brining cure at a time.

Recipe #2 “Buffalo Bend Beef Curing Solution”
(Pickling Brine For Making 100 lbs. Of Dried Beef)

5 gallons water @ 38 degrees F.
595 grams (1.3 pounds or 21 ounces) Cure #1
2.27 kilograms (5 lbs. or 80 ounces) un-iodized salt
1 pound sugar

Notes: While injecting the brine, remove the perforated needle slowly. Don’t use too much heat in the smokehouse or a hardened pellicle will form, not allowing moisture to escape. You must not hurry the process using more heat. Dried beef shrinks up to 40% yet retains 50% of its moisture. Keep it refrigerated.

This is great stuff for making sandwiches if you’ve done it correctly and followed the instructions to the letter. In a grocery store, this stuff costs a fortune – if you can find it at all. Why not try it and take some photos to post. You might just discover another “favorite” recipe for preserving beef.

Best Wishes,


Meat Curing: Notes On Brining Hams, Whole Muscles, And Poultry

Someone once asked me, “Why do you cure meat… is it sick?” If you’ve ever barbequed a “fresh” (not cured), rear leg of a porker, you know that it is sensational prepared in just a little hickory smoke, brushed with Cuban “mojo” (pronounced “mo-ho”) sauce, and served with just a touch of mustard when it’s done. This is high temperature (above 200°F.) “cooking” and any accompanying smoke, although it cuts off oxygen, is part of the process and is certainly desired. Smoky flavor is incredible. So why do we take this same “fresh” rear leg only, soak it in a brine of salt water with sodium nitrite added, (being sure to inject deep muscle and along the bone), allow it to “cure” several days, soak it in fresh water, cook it slowly in water that doesn’t quite boil , and then call it “ham”? And just why is the front leg called a “picnic”? All this inconvenience adds up to a unique flavor that human beings call “ham”, even when a front leg or another cut is being used. If the process includes “drying” the meat to a point below Aw 0.85, it even becomes more stable for a longer period of time. Italy is known for its brine-cured, air-dried hams covered with black protective coating of hardened molasses. However, brining ham is usually done to add juiciness and flavor in addition to “curing” it – protecting the meat from pathogenic bacteria. The brining process may also assist in the destruction of any possible trichinella spiralis, a live, nematode infectious worm. Will salt alone destroy this threat? The answer is no. To eliminate the organism, the salt content would have to be unpalatably massive. This is where the cooking step becomes effective whenever making a “boiled” ham, and where the drying step takes place while making a dry-cured ham. Oh yes, and by-the-way… “boiled ham” is never boiled. El DuckO must have named it centuries ago, when he was just a kid. Here’s a grrrrrrreat mojo sauce. I can’t remember where I stole it!

Mojo Naranja Agria
½ cup olive oil
10 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 cup lime juice (or 2/3 cup fresh sour orange (Naranja Agria) juice-if you can get it)
1/3 cup water
1 tspn. cumin
½ tspn. oregano
1 tspn. salt
½ tspn. black pepper
3 tblespns. Chopped cilantro (fresh)
*Cook the garlic slightly in the oil over medium heat. Add the remaining ingredients except the cilantro, and bring the sauce to boil. Remove the Mojo from the heat and add the cilantro.

The Difference Between Brining And Curing

Did you know that whenever you cook a ham, up to 30% moisture loss takes place? It’s true, even if you cook it in water. Brining solves the problem somewhat. If you first soak the ham in salt brine (before cooking), the loss of moisture may be reduced to only 15%. A salt brine also reduces and dissolves some of the meat’s proteins, turning them into liquid included in the exudate.

If a chef “brines” a chicken overnight then bakes or barbecues it the next day, does the brine need to contain sodium nitrite? No, because of the high cooking temperatures involved – in a short period of time, only a brining solution is needed. However, if the same chicken is smoked the next day, involving hours being cut off from oxygen and lower temperatures, it absolutely must be “brine cured”, that is, soaked in a salt brine containing sodium nitrite. Why? It’s because bacteria are cut off from oxygen, multiply in the “danger zone (40°F to 140°F), and have a nutritional source. This “curing brine” must be mixed precisely following FSIS specifications. (See post on “Curing and Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite”). The only drawback to salt and nitrite cure is that it darkens the color of the meat it cures. For this reason, most commercial manufactures of meat products today, add a host of chemicals including ascorbates and erythorbates. There yet remains some controversy about the addition of these items (see my post on erythorbate).

Did you know that adding a small amount of sugar to your salt brine, gives ham a wonderful flavor? It also helps to modify proteins in the progression of water-binding and diffusion. It makes“heavy” brine, increasing the salinometer degrees (strength). However, sugar should be added to brine only if it is to be refrigerated, as warmer temperatures induce fermentation and the spoilage process begins. Years ago, large, whole rear-leg hams were commercially brined up to six weeks. Of course, unless specific procedures were followed, such as removing slime from the surface of the meat, and bacteria-gathering foam from the liquid, the meat spoiled during the curing step. It was (and is) vital to inject the cure along the bone to prevent “sour”. Today, things have changed quite a bit with modern innovations such as the “stitch pump”.

Varying Strengths We Need For Different Projects

Remember, there is no all-inclusive, all-purpose brine. A solution’s strength is entirely up to the sausage maker. However, there are some practical applications with the use of salt and many recommended strengths have been made by experienced sausage-makers for a variety of reasons. For instance, it has been found that generally, poultry (being more delicate), is best when brined in a solution of only 21° to 25° SAL. On the other end of the scale, fish are usually brined in a solution of 70° to 80° SAL. What about pork and beef? Anywhere from about 40° to 70° SAL is effective. A brine of 40°SAL is most popular because the formula is so simple to remember (one pound of salt to one gallon of water).

If you are racing the clock to cure a ham before it begins to sour, a brine of 75° SAL is not out of the question. All things considered, a stronger brine may be used for a shorter period of time, while a weaker brine takes longer to effect the same result. Why do we bother to measure the strength of the brine each time we make it? In a nutshell… consistency! We like to be able to predict the outcome and be sure of its unvarying success time after time.

Recommended Brine Strengths In SAL Degrees:
Poultry 21° SAL to 25° SAL
Pork And Beef 40° SAL to 70° SAL
Fish 70° SAL to 80° SAL
*Note: A brine of 40°SAL is most popular because the formula is so simple to remember (one pound of salt to one gallon of water).

Let’s take a look at some favorite brine-cures. When you have made a few brine-cures and used them, you’ll no doubt develop a favorite. Everyone does. You’ll soon learn how exactly how much time a project needs in the brine to produce the best results. You must allow enough curing time for the curing agent to completely penetrate the meat and “cure” it, while not allowing too much time, or your project will taste too salty. With a little experience, the final product will be perfect. Here are a few recipes from some known sources.

The USDA “Poultry Brine” (21°SAL)
1 gallon water
¾ cup salt (219 gr. Non-iodized

Our fellow-member, South-African Parson Snows, a well known sausagemaker, recommends his brine of 22.5° SAL.
“Snows 22.5° SAL”
1 lb. salt
16 lbs. water
Or… one part salt to sixteen parts water.

And of course, the one I grew up with…
“Rytek Kutas’ 25° SAL”
2-1/2 gallons water
1 lb. salt
½ lb. of Cure #1 (contains 0.465 lb. salt)
¾ lb. powdered dextrose

And last of all, everyone’s favorite… because it’s so dog-gone easy to remember! If you use it for poultry, 90 minutes in the brine is plenty.
“ETR-40” (Easy To Remember) Brine-Cure 40° SAL
1 gallon water
1 lb. salt

Considerations In Brine-Curing

Now, let’s have a look at the conditions we can limit or control during the brine-curing process. In the following considerations, which would you suppose would be the most important? Please review the list and think about the answer. Again, which is most important and why? Now, can you think of one condition we cannot control? What is it?

• The size of the meat (An 18 pound ham takes longer to cure than a 12 pound ham).
• The salt content (The higher the content, the faster the curing).
• The moisture content of the meat. (See below)
• The temperature of the cure and meat. (The higher the temperature, the faster the curing).
• The amount of fat in the meat. (The higher the amount of fat, the slower the curing).

Which is most important? Is it the amount of fat? No. Although fat will not “cure” because nitrite will not act upon it, the flesh of a ham will be penetrated from the lean side.
Is the most important item the size of the meat requiring more or less time? No. We can always make more brine and increase the brining duration.
Is the moisture content of the meat the most important factor? No. If the meat is cured properly, the moisture content will take care of itself.
The answer is the temperature of the cure and meat. Why? Again, the ideal temperature is 38°F with a variable of only two degrees higher or lower. If the temperature becomes warmer, spoilage may begin, while temperatures below this point will delay or retard the curing process and even impede it at a certain point.
It’s interesting to note that when curing with sodium nitrate during the dry-curing process, (where the cure is simply rubbed onto the meat [or placed into comminuted meat]), the procedure must be done at higher temperatures where lactobacilli and pediococci bacteria may react with sodium nitrate to become sodium nitrite, and finally nitric oxide (not to be confused with nitrous oxide), the actual curing agent.

The Duration And “Pickup” – (Time In The Brine)

The process we cannot control is the “pickup” volume. We may increase the speed (rate) of curing by adding chemicals and heat, but ultimately, the assimilation (volume or amount of absorption), is determined by nature. The simple truth is we may use stronger brine for less time, or we can use weaker brine for a longer period of time, to achieve the same effect. Is there a universal brine? No, there cannot be one. The strength of nitrates and nitrites themselves do not vary. It is the amount of sodium nitrite added to a sodium chloride (pink salt) carrier that makes a cure stronger or weaker in comparison to others used in various countries around the globe. Discussing the variable duration (brining length of time), would be futile without a consistent-strength sodium nitrite additive in a constant brine strength.

With that said, we must begin somewhere. So, we soon learn that an accepted example has been set up as something called a… Rule Of Thumb (For The Amount Of Cure#1 In Brining Solution):
Again, for immersion, pumped, or massaged products, the maximum IN-GOING nitrite limit is 200 ppm., set by law. This is achieved when 4.2 ounces of Cure #1 is added to one gallon of water. The nitrite pickup rate in this formula is 150 ppm. Just right! It is actually a weak brine of only 16° SAL. This produces a good brine strength for poultry. In other words, in 8.33 pounds of water (1 gallon), 120 grams (or 4.2 ounces) of Cure #1 must be added to achieve the “pickup” within legal limits. This is much more cure than is added to comminuted sausage. Note the volume amount in 4.2 ounces is 20 teaspoons or a little more than 6 tablespoonsful. Needless to say, if a person is making 5 gallons of curing brine, say for a large amount of meat (up to 100 pounds of rounds for dried beef), one needs to add a whopping 595 grams (21 ounces), yes… that’s 1.3 pounds of Cure #1.

A more sturdy brine of 25° SAL can be made easily for brining poultry simply by adding an additional pound of salt to the formula. The nitrite pickup rate in this formula remains 150 ppm. As you may be able to see, a liquid must retain an incredible amount of salt to reach 70° or 75° salinity.

How much brine should you make?
There’s a simple ol’ timer’s adage that reads, “The amount of brine should equal about forty or fifty percent of the weight of the meat being cured”. In other words, you don’t need a barrel-full of brining cure to baptize one duck! So simply use enough brine to equal one and a half times the duck’s weight. However, if I were going to brine cure a “big” duck like El DuckO, I would first weigh him. Let’s say he weighs about 250 lbs. I would have to find a suitable container to hold 125 pounds of brine (50% of his weight). Shucks, I have the perfect container – the bear trap I dug in my back yard! I’ll just fill it with 125 pound of salt water and lasso him when he walks by! Danged ol’ rabid duck, anyhow! I’ll pickle him overnight.

Timing Is Critical

To make a point, allow me to move away from ham for just one minute and consider SawhorseRay’s favorite recipe – brined turkey! (See his posts from yesterday 4/27/15). Some time ago, I persuaded Sawhorse Ray to begin using 7-Up (the soft drink) with salt for his turkey brining. I heard that Ray went nuts over the stuff, painted his tonsils, mounted his horse, shot up the town wearing his Superman cape, and was run out of town on a rail!

This method has a couple of things going for it. First, the brining process is unique and incredibly moist in that salt entering the cells alters the protein structure. However, in turkey brined less than six hours, meat may be dry when cooked. In turkey brined more than 24 hours, the texture will become mushy as the salt begins to break down interior muscle fibers. Chickens and turkeys naturally contain some salt and lots or water, which coexist in a happy balance until we yahoo yellin’ sausage wranglers throw it off. Nature restores order (called “equilibrium”) by moving water to the surface where it dissolves salt. Doesn’t this cause the meat to dry out? You bet it does! This is where correct “timing” comes in on our part.

Second, the 7-Up treatment gives the meat, not only added benefits to texture, but to flavor as well. This is due to a modification in the sugars held by proteins.

However, if we cook the bird that has been brined for merely three hours, the cooked product is drier than if we hadn’t salted it to begin with. Yet, if we cook the bird after six or more hours of brining, the results change entirely. By that point, the exterior salt had pulled so much water to the surface that the balance of the salt concentration had changed. To “restore equilibrium, the water simply changes directions, flowing back into the meat, but this time the salt “goes along for the ride” although it is dissolved. You may ask if other compounds or spices can be introduced into the meat by this method. The answer is yes, … IF… the flavoring agent is water-soluble. These include sugars and salts, black and cayenne pepper, chili powder and paprika. If the compound is ‘fat-soluble’, such as capsaicin in peppers, it won’t work.

Yup pards, you’ll just have to take my word for it… 7-Up or Sprite will kick your turkey’s butt all over the kitchen then right up on your dining room table! It is unique. Just ask Sawhorse Ray. However, the “timing” in the formula is essential to the recipe.

Salt Brine Tables for Brine at 60 F (15° C) in US Gallons
Column 1 = Salometer Deg. °
Column 2 = % Salt by Weight
Column 3 = Lbs. Salt Per Gal. Of Water
Column 4 = Lbs. Salt Per Gallon Of Brine
Column 5 = Lbs. Of Water Per Gallon of Brine

0_____ 0.000_____ 0.000_____ 0.000_____ 8.328
1_____ 0.264_____ 0.022_____ 0.022_____ 8.323
2_____ 0.526_____ 0.044_____ 0.044_____ 8.317
3_____ 0.792_____ 0.066_____ 0.066_____ 8.307
4_____ 1.056_____ 0.089_____ 0.089_____ 8.298
5_____ 1.320_____ 0.111_____ 0.111_____ 8.292
6_____ 1.584_____ 0.134_____ 0.133_____ 8.286
7_____ 1.848_____ 0.157_____ 0.156_____ 8.280
8_____ 2.112_____ 0.180_____ 0.178_____ 8.274
9_____ 2.376_____ 0.203_____ 0.201_____ 8.268
10____ 2.640_____ 0.226_____ 0.224_____ 8.262
11____ 2.903_____ 0.249_____ 0.247_____ 8.256
12____ 3.167_____ 0.272_____ 0.270_____ 8.250
13____ 3.431_____ 0.296_____ 0.293_____ 8.239
14____ 3.695_____ 0.320_____ 0.316_____ 8.229
15____ 3.959_____ 0.343_____ 0.339_____ 8.222
16____ 4.223_____ 0.367_____ 0.362_____ 8.216
17____ 4.487_____ 0.391_____ 0.386_____ 8.209
18____ 4.751_____ 0.415_____ 0.409_____ 8.202
19____ 5.015_____ 0.440_____ 0.433_____ 8.195
20____ 5.279_____ 0.464_____ 0.456_____ 8.188
21____ 5.543_____ 0.489_____ 0.480_____ 8.181
22____ 5.807_____ 0.513_____ 0.504_____ 8.174
23____ 6.071_____ 0.538_____ 0.528_____ 8.167
24____ 6.335_____ 0.563_____ 0.552_____ 8.159
25____ 6.599_____ 0.588_____ 0.576_____ 8.152
26____ 6.863_____ 0.614_____ 0.600_____ 8.144
27____ 7.127_____ 0.639_____ 0.624_____ 8.137
28____ 7.391_____ 0.665_____ 0.649_____ 8.129
29____ 7.655_____ 0.690_____ 0.673_____ 8.121
30____ 7.919_____ 0.716_____ 0.698_____ 8.113
31____ 8.162_____ 0.742_____ 0.722_____ 8.105
32____ 8.446_____ 0.768_____ 0.747_____ 8.097
33____ 8.710_____ 0.795_____ 0.772_____ 8.089
34____ 8.974_____ 0.821_____ 0.797_____ 8.081
35____ 9.238_____ 0.848_____ 0.822_____ 8.073
36____ 9.502_____ 0.874_____ 0.847_____ 8.064
37____ 9.766_____ 0.901_____ 0.872_____ 8.056
38____ 10.030____ 0.928_____ 0.897_____ 8.047
39____ 10.294____ 0.956_____ 0.922_____ 8.038
40____ 10.558____ 0.983_____ 0.948_____ 8.030
41____ 10.822____ 1.011_____ 0.973_____ 8.021
42____ 11.086____ 1.038_____ 0.999_____ 8.012
43____ 11.350____ 1.066_____ 1.025_____ 8.003
44____ 11.614____ 1.094_____ 1.050_____ 7.994
45____ 11.878____ 1.123_____ 1.076_____ 7.985
46____ 12.142____ 1.151_____ 1.102_____ 7.975
47____ 12.406____ 1.179_____ 1.128_____ 7.966
48____ 12.670____ 1.208_____ 1.154_____ 7.957
49____ 12.934____ 1.237_____ 1.181_____ 7.947
50____ 13.198____ 1.266_____ 1.207_____ 7.937
51____ 13.461____ 1.295_____ 1.233_____ 7.928
52____ 13.725____ 1.325_____ 1.260_____ 7.918
53____ 13.989____ 1.355_____ 1.286_____ 7.908
54____ 14.253____ 1.384_____ 1.313_____ 7.898
55____ 14.517____ 1.414_____ 1.340_____ 7.888
56____ 14.781____ 1.444_____ 1.368_____ 7.878
57____ 15.045____ 1.475_____ 1.393_____ 7.867
58____ 15.309____ 1.505_____ 1.420_____ 7.857
59____ 15.573____ 1.536_____ 1.447_____ 7.847
60____ 15.837____ 1.567_____ 1.475_____ 7.836
61____ 16.101____ 1.598_____ 1.502_____ 7.826
62____ 16.365____ 1.630_____ 1.529_____ 7.815
63____ 16.629____ 1.661_____ 1.557_____ 7.804
64____ 16.893____ 1.693_____ 1.584_____ 7.793
65____ 17.157____ 1.725_____ 1.612_____ 7.782
66____ 17.421____ 1.757_____ 1.639_____ 7.771
67____ 17.685____ 1.789_____ 1.668_____ 7.764
68____ 17.949____ 1.822_____ 1.697_____ 7.756
69____ 18.213____ 1.854_____ 1.725_____ 7.744
70____ 18.477____ 1.887_____ 1.753_____ 7.733
71____ 18.740____ 1.921_____ 1.781_____ 7.721
72____ 19.004____ 1.954_____ 1.809_____ 7.710
73____ 19.268____ 1.988_____ 1.837_____ 7.698
74____ 19.532____ 2.021_____ 1.866_____ 7.686
75____ 19.796____ 2.056_____ 1.895_____ 7.678
76____ 20.060____ 2.090_____ 1.925_____ 7.669
77____ 20.324____ 2.124_____ 1.953_____ 7.657
78____ 20.588____ 2.159_____ 1.982_____ 7.645
79____ 20.852____ 2.194_____ 2.011_____ 7.633
80____ 21.116____ 2.229_____ 2.040_____ 7.621
81____ 21.380____ 2.265_____ 2.069_____ 7.608
82____ 21.644____ 2.300_____ 2.098_____ 7.596
83____ 21.908____ 2.336_____ 2.128_____ 7.586
84____ 22.172____ 2.372_____ 2.159_____ 7.577
85____ 22.436____ 2.409_____ 2.188_____ 7.584
86____ 22.700____ 2.446_____ 2.217_____ 7.551
87____ 22.964____ 2.482_____ 2.248_____ 7.542
88____ 23.228____ 2.520_____ 2.279_____ 7.532
89____ 23.492____ 2.557_____ 2.309_____ 7.519
90____ 23.756____ 2.595_____ 2.338_____ 7.505
91____ 24.019____ 2.633_____ 2.368_____ 7.492
92____ 24.283____ 2.671_____ 2.398_____ 7.479
93____ 24.547____ 2.709_____ 2.430_____ 7.468
94____ 24.811____ 2.748_____ 2.461_____ 7.458
95____ 25.075____ 2.787_____ 2.491_____ 7.444
96____ 25.339____ 2.826_____ 2.522_____ 7.430
97____ 25.603____ 2.866_____ 2.552_____ 7.416
98____ 25.867____ 2.908_____ 2.570_____ 7.409
99____ 26.131____ 2.948_____ 2.616_____ 7.394
99.6__ 26.289____ 2.970_____ 2.634_____ 7.385
100___ 26.395____ 2.986_____ 2.647_____ 7.380

A Summary:

A BRINING solution is simply water with a specific amount of salt added to it to change the protein structure of meat. There is no “standard” strength, but some recommendations are made. Poultry brines seem to work best at about 20 degrees SAL. Red meats are usually brined in solutions much higher in saline concentration as high as 70 degrees SAL. Fish are sometimes brined for only an hour in a concentration of 80 degrees SAL.

If a bird weighs more than three pounds, it should be PUMPED and BRINED to insure complete penetration and distribution before spoilage bacteria begin taking their toll. Ten to fifteen percent of the bird’s green weight is the amount of brine (in weight) to pump into the bird.

For poultry, the FSIS recommends a brining solution of 5.55% or 21degrees on the salinometer scale. This solution is made using ¾ cup of salt added to a gallon of water. If you’re only making a quart of the stuff, just add 3 tablespoons of salt to a quart of water. This concentration is considered to be a “medium” concentration and it is very popular for poultry.

Rytek Kutas used brine just a little stronger at 25 degrees SAL for poultry. This is a brine concentration of 6.5% and is made in larger volumes by adding 2 lbs. of salt to 5 gallons of water. He also added a pound of Cure #1, (making the brining solution a “curing solution”), along with 1.5 lbs. of powdered dextrose for flavor. The saline concentration in this brine is considered to be “medium high”.

To shorten the time of brining, some people have used a 40 degree SAL brine solution of a salt concentration of 10.71%. This is a “high” concentration for poultry and the time in the brine should be limited to a matter of hours rather than days.

Best Wishes,

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