Brine Preparation: Order is Everything
When preparing brine, the order in which ingredients are added and mixed is one of the most important factors in ensuring a successful end product. We recommend that ingredients be added in the following order:
- COLD Water/ICE @ 0° C to 2° C – Why? Most functional ingredients, especially the phosphates works best at lower temperatures. Processing temperatures should also be kept low in order to help ensure food safety and to maximize product shelf life.
- Phosphates – Why? Phosphates are not suspended in a brine solution, like soy or flavourings, but actually dissolve, similar to the salt. This will happen optimally if nothing but the water is present, because the specific gravity of the water is lower than if, for example, the salt had already been dissolved. Be sure to agitate well!
- Soy, and ” Concentrate-based flavours”, other proteins such as California Ham Spice, Myogel – Why? These will disperse much easier at this stage as their protein content ( particularly in soy isolate or concentrate) will not be affected by the presence of salt. ( Remember, you haven’t added the salt yet!)
- Salt – Why? At this point, all of the ingredients whose dissolution/dispersion would be negatively impacted by the presence of salt if have already been added.
- Remaining Seasonings and Flavours – Why? These will suspend in the brine, with the only requirement being even distribution, ensured by constant agitation.
- Sodium Nitrite / Curing Salts – Why? These are reactive, and lose their efficacy when dissolved in a brine relatively quickly, so the less time between brine preparation and injection or tumble, the better.
- Sodium Ascorbate, Erythorbate, Ascorbic Acid – Why? These are highly reactive ” Cure Accelerators” that will reduce the potency of the cure over the course of mere hours. These should always be added last, and as close to the end use as possible.
One final tip: A functional brine should never be stored in a cooler overnight for use the next day, as a large degree of the functionality will be lost. The same chemical processes that occur in the meat after injection are already occurring in the brine when it’s mixed! It is very import to keep the brine agitated, and the temperatures as low as possible throughout the injection process.
To the best of our knowledge, the above information is accurate and reliable, and is offered solely for consideration and assistance without any warranty or guarantee.