Brining, and Marinating
| People are always on the
lookout for new and interesting ways to prepare old standards
like chicken and turkey. Several methods have become popular in recent years.
These involve the use of a liquid to change or improve the flavor, taste, tenderness, or texture of poultry.
Various liquids can be added to poultry by several methods
such as injection, marinating, brining, or basting. Consumers
can purchase raw poultry products that have already been marinated,
basted, or brined.
The verb "marinate" means to steep food in a marinade.
A marinade is a savory acidic sauce in which a food is soaked
to enrich its flavor or to tenderize it.
According to Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, "Marinades
began as simple brines for preserving fish. The word marinade
stems from the same root as the word maritime. In modern usage,
a marinade consists of a cooking oil, an acid (vinegar, lemon
juice, wine), and spices. As the food stands in the mixture,
the acid and the oil impart the savory flavors of the spices
to the food. The acid also has a tenderizing action."
The acid in marinades causes poultry tissue to break down. This
has a tenderizing effect. The breaking down of the tissue also
causes the poultry to hold more liquid, making it juicier. Too
much vinegar or hot sauce in a marinade can have the opposite
effect, causing the meat to be stringy and tough.
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The verb "brine" means to treat with or steep in brine.
Brine is a strong solution of water and salt. A sweetener such
as sugar, molasses, honey, or corn syrup may be added to the
solution for flavor and to improve browning.
The salt has two effects on poultry, reports Dr. Alan Sams,
Executive Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A & M University. "It
dissolves protein in muscle, and the salt and protein reduce
moisture loss during cooking. This makes the meat juicer, more
tender, and improves the flavor. The low levels of salt enhance
the other natural flavors of poultry."
Dry brining is an easy alternative to traditional liquid brining methods. The technique seasons the meat with salt
and spices without the use of a liquid salty solution.
This two day process, completed in the refrigerator in a food-grade plastic bag, drains moisture out of the poultry,
creating a flavorful brine, which is then reabsorbed into the meat without adding additional water.
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The verb "baste" means to moisten meat or other food
while cooking. Melted butter or other fat, meat drippings, or
liquid such as a stock is spooned or brushed on food as it cooks
to moisten it. A bulb baster can also be used to drizzle the
liquid over the food. Basting adds flavor and color, and prevents
poultry from drying out.
Consumers can purchase raw poultry products that have already
been marinated, basted, or brined. These products have been
injected or marinated with a solution containing butter or other
edible fat, broth, stock, or water, plus spices, flavor enhancers,
colorings, or other approved ingredients. If you see terms such
as "basted," "self basted," "marinated,"
or "for flavoring" on a raw poultry label, a solution
has been added during processing — up to 3% by weight
for bone-in poultry and up to 8% by weight for boneless poultry.
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Marinating. Whole poultry
or poultry parts may be marinated by completely immersing the
poultry in the marinade. To help infuse the marinade into
the poultry, you may use a fork to make random holes in the meat. A needle-like
injector may also be used.
Poultry can be refrigerated for up to 2 days in a marinade.
For easy cleanup, use food-grade plastic bags for marinating
and discard the bags afterwards. Food-grade plastic, stainless
steel, or glass containers may also be used to marinate food.
Cover poultry while marinating it in the refrigerator. Don't use
marinade from raw poultry as a sauce unless it is boiled first
to destroy bacteria. If stuffing poultry, marinate the poultry
first. Cook immediately after stuffing.
Brining. To prepare a brine solution
for poultry, add ¾ cup salt to 1 gallon of water, or
3 tablespoons of salt per quart of water. For best flavor, use
sodium chloride–table salt. Add sweetener if desired.
Place brining solution in food-grade plastic, stainless steel,
or glass containers. Totally
submerge poultry in solution and store covered in the refrigerator.
For best results, refrigerate at least overnight. Poultry may
be left in the refrigerator up to 2 days after thawed or purchased
fresh. Remove poultry from brine. Discard brine after use. If
stuffing a bird, brine the poultry first. Cook immediately
To prepare a dry brine, measure 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, or seasoned salt for every
5 pounds of poultry. Additional aromatic ingredients may be added to the dry brine such as herbs,
spices, citrus or garlic. Rub the dry brine mixture over the entire surface area of the poultry,
place the poultry in a food-grade plastic bag, press out the air and seal tightly. For best results,
refrigerate for up to 2 days and massage the mixture into the skin of the poultry every 8 to 12 hours.
Remove poultry from bag, pat dry with a paper towel and cook to a safe internal temperature of 165 °F.
Basting. If basting poultry while it is roasting,
remember that each time the oven door is opened, the oven temperature
is lowered and additional cooking time may be needed. Always
use clean utensils to avoid cross-contamination.
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General Poultry Preparation Information
Safe Cooking. Set oven temperature
no lower than 325 °F. Whole poultry and parts are safe cooked
to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured
with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the
innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of
the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may
choose to cook poultry to higher temperatures.
For optimum safety, do not stuff whole poultry. If stuffing
whole poultry, the center of the stuffing must reach a safe
minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
Storing Leftovers. Remove any
stuffing and cut whole or large pieces of poultry into small
pieces. Refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers within 2
hours of cooking. Use leftover poultry and stuffing within 3
to 4 days, or freeze these foods. Reheat all leftovers thoroughly
to a temperature of 165 °F.
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April 15, 2011