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I have been an memeber of the forum for quite a while and get on every once in a while for a little guidance. Well like a bad penny, here I am again. I have an ever lasting question that Okie and I have discussed, don't know if he remembers about it or not. The question is: How much tender quick do I put in a basic brine of, 1gal water,1C K Salt, 1C DB Sugar, + some spices that I like. This would be my basic brine that "I" like. I use it for Salmon and Pork. It's more a Salmon brine because of the spices I use, but it works well on the pork I am told by some of my customers. In addition to the original question of how much TQ do I use per gal (If you can do that) the other question is, can you brine too long? Here is the problem, I like to make up a gallon or 2 and use it for a couple of shoulders or a couple of salmon. All of this is now done without TQ. I vacuum tumble my salmon for 20 min, rinse, let dry for 30 min in my dehydrator @ 120 deg, smoke for 45 min in my cs150 @ 170 deg with no preheat. It turns out great everytime and my cutomers love it. My pork butts are brined for 4 days rinsed and seasoned with Mrs Dash Chipotle seasoning and cooked for 10 to 12 hrs, depending on ambient temp and humidity @ 225 deg. After all that, do I even need TQ and if so how much in the gal of brine do I put in. None of the product is ever out of the temp danger zone except for the cooking time, the drying time (for the Salmon) and the tumbling time for the salmon. When I tumble I bring the brine and salmon out of the frig at the same time so they are both @ frig temp, around 36 to 40 deg. If you have any idea what I am talking about, because of my writing skills, let me know what you think.
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Well, Wheelz, all I can say is "We going to have to work on you" Big Grin I need to get on more often, but it seems as soon as my feet hit the ground they don't stop until I'm back in the bed 18 hr later. I have learned so much from you guys by just lurkin, I think that's why the good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth, so we could lisen twice as much as we talk. RibDog thank for the info, I'm sure he will get back with me, he's good about that. Razzer Just one more thing before I go, the brining seem to keep the meat fresher longer and doesn't take on the taste in the frig if you keep for a while and they cook faster and stay more moist longer because the cells have more liquid in them, and last of all every cell has the flavoring you but in the brine because of the Osmosis thing. (This is for the one's that are newbies on the forum) I just read the next post down about the tenderloins very good. I do loins and brine them, try it sometime, they never dry out and chicken is the Bomb. Sorry Wheelz, Roll Eyes I just had to put my two cents in, see ya'll next year when I get on again.
Last edited by jr
Well,Smokin' is definitely the authority on brining.

I do a pretty good bit of brining,but since I'm not in the cold smoking temps for dangerous periods,I gave up on TQ years ago.

If you do a lot of cold smoked sausage,that is another discussion.

There are a few comp cooks that may brine pork butts for eight hrs,or so.

Brining pork for four days would be associated with canadian style,or pea bacon,or even the start of hams.

The buckboard bacon folks would go out that far,or more.

It seems salmon ,and poultry could be over brined easily.

It is easy to get mushy,or salty product.

Just a couple of thoughts.

Hope this helps a little.
It gets missed a lot, but I recommend not using TQ. A lot of the older recipes had it there for "food safety" reasons.

I haven't put TQ in my brines for about 5 or 6 years now, didn't like the taste.

Just keep the brine cold and you won't need it UNLESS you're trying to do a fresh ham, which is a different project all together.

That help?

Sounds good to me, but we do ours slightly different. I do not use water, but mix lots of kosher salt and db sugar at this ratio, 1 part salt and two parts db sugar plus 2 to 3 TBS of Penzey's pickling spices. I mix all of it together and pour out enough of the mixture on clear wrap that when placing one filet of the fish flesh down it will just cover the mix. Then place the second filet skin down on top of the first filet (skin to skin) and cover the second filet with the rest of the mix.

Wrap up the fish in the clear wrap, place into a shallow pan and refrigerate over night. Then we cold smoke or hot smoke the next day. Sometimes I place a weight on the wrapped up fish for brining and sometimes forget it - can't tell much difference. We use this for salmon and for large redfish, kingfish or Spanish mackerel and we don't brine grouper at all.

When smoking mullet, we only fresh salt and pepper before going into the smoker.

I generally agree with everyone else. I only use TQ as a cure and that at the concentrations on the pack, half oz per pound. As far as brines I use salt only or salt and sugar generally about 1 -1, or 1-2. Time depends on the thickness of the meat, always in a refer. There is a brine on the TQ package but I have never used it.

I have brined salmon in saturated salt, where it will keep virtually forever. Then freshen it in fresh water till it reaches the salt level I want. Smoke or cook in other ways. The high salt basically cooks the meat over time so it has a different flavor and texture, especially from hot smoked or kippered fish.

In the old days when salt was used as primarily a preservative, the Department of Agriculture generally went with 10% salt by weight. Now with my smokette, freezer etc. I am generally between 2% and 4% depending on meat and/or sugar in the cure.
Well I guess that confirms my question about TQ. I guess I was right all the time. Wink I never use it either but thought I would shake the tree and see what fell out. Big Grin As for the ratio of 1:1, does anyone think you can ever over brine with this ratio? And is there ever a point at which you are being counter productive, meaning the cell is as full of water and seasoning as it's going to get and at that point you are just soaking for the fun of it. Confused It seems to me that is what you are looking for, too maximize the cell with moisture and seasoning at which point you cook, of course the weight of the product comes into play. Most of the time I am brining shoulder around 6 lbs or so. The four day brining seem to be working but I may try to back off a day at a time to see if there is a point at which it makes no difference. As for the mushy part, I think it may take part when you get the brine too strong for the weight of the product and it starts to destroy the cell making it mushy,so to speak, does that sound posable? I know Tom had it right when he said that it is critical with fish and chicken. I think it's because of the density of the meat. Roll EyesMy head is starting to hurt.
Just one more thing and I'm out of here,Jerry can you expound on this a litte more:In the old days when salt was used as primarily a preservative, the Department of Agriculture generally went with 10% salt by weight. Now with my smokette, freezer etc. I am generally between 2% and 4% depending on meat and/or sugar in the cure.
Is a cure and a brine the same, or is the difference the about of salt/water/sugar and time, that the product is put into? Can there ever be a point where the osmosis takes place but doesn't cure just add's flavor?
I better go now, I'm starting to babble and I'm out of chips. If anyone can make any sense out of this then your a better man than me.
Rodale put(s) out a book called "Stocking Up" In there are a lot of recipes for curing meat. Somewhere I found an old paper manual put out by our Government in the 1940's I think. Anyway since pure government stuff is in the public domain, a lot of that meat curing information was pretty much word for word. How much older the 10 percent goes I would imagine about a century.

Anyway, I use dry cures whenever possible, by weight, not tablespoons etc. (Kosher salt has different volume than pickling salt). The dry cure then is somewhat independent of time and more forgiving. It can only get so salty because that is all the salt you use.

With fish you can use a dry cure also but the salt and sugar will pull out water from the fish, but the same ratios will still apply.

With brining, the time in the brine is dependent on the concentration of the brine, the time in the cure, the thickness of the meat, and whether you got stuck in traffic or something, before you could get home. Therefore, it is much more difficult to really know how much salt you have until you are all done.

I'm just starting to try to do a Prosciutto with a pork loin, 3 percent salt, in my extra refer (non automatic defrost), for a couple of months or more to dry. Maybe for Christmas I will have something really great, or??? Roll Eyes
Jerry, do you have a reciep for this, or just doing it off of the top of your head? This is a dry brine, isn't it? I've only dry brined once and that was some Salmon fillet's that were from Sams', and can't remember how they turned out, salty I think. I am very interested in dry brineing, is there a good source for info other than the Forum? Do the same rules apply, as far as the Osmosis goes? It seems when I did it, it involved a great quanity of salt, and I don't remember any spices involved, just salt and sugar. As you can see I have a lot of question Roll Eyes. Well guess I'm on the hunt again, check ya later. Let me know if there is any good info out there and keep in touch.

Just one Note: Hey Okie, if you read this did you get my pic's?
I saw something on some channel and they were in a place that made Prosciutto, they started out just rubbing skin on fresh hams with sea salt. I don't know if they said how much. I think it took almost 9 months from start to finish.

Anyway I took the full cryovac loin, and opened it up on a rack in full hotel pan, the next day I rubbed it with 3% by weight kosher salt, wrapped in plastic for 24 hours, just cause. Removed the plastic wrap, there was really no free liquid, which I suppose I thought the salt might cause it to loose moisture. That's where it is at now except I turn it every couple of days. When it gets dry enough that it seems pretty dry, I would guess 3 months, I will probably cut it in the middle and begin tasting to see if it needs more salt, or what. The salt should be completely penetrated in about a month. Some directions are on the box of Morton's Sugar Cure, which I use for bacon. This is just plain salt however.

I think country (Virginia?) Hams are bagged to keep off the flies, and just let dry in the free air, but I don't have bags, nor the facilites to make any for a loin. I would probably use more salt this way however.

The 3 percent is about as low as I have gone, when salty done and penetrated all the way through it is not all that salty by my taste. I've never had a problem with mold or anything, but I doubt I would serve it to guests until I tried it a few times myself. As long as it gets plenty of air there is no problem with botulism, if you keep it below 40 degrees other bad things should not appear.

I would not try this with a auto defrost refer. I had one plugged in with a remote thermometer I checked periodically. When it when into the defrost cycle, the box would heat up to the mid 50's. My manual defrost is always sub 40 unless the door is opened, most of the time sub 35.

I hope this helps. Cool

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