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for jadecat9 and anybody else who might be listening...

Here's the secret on brine: 1/2 cup salt to 1 gallon liquid.

Even if you're not going to need much, just plan to make a gallon. It's cheap.

Start out with 1/2 gallon of flavorful liquid. I went with 3 pints of apple juice and 1 pint of maple syrup, but you could as easily use a half-gallon of juice and a cup of dark brown sugar. Put in 1/2 cup salt. Season with a dozen or so whole peppercorns and whatever herbs you like (I used about 1 tbsp of an "herbs de provence" blend).

Bring to a simmer, ensure all salt and sugar is fully dissolved and take off heat. Let cool and add 1/2 gallon (4 lbs, actually) of ice to the warm brine.

How much brine you need depends more on your container than how much meat you're doing. There's a lot of wing-it involved here, and a lot of flexibility. Put the meat in your container, and pour in enough brine to cover it. Ziploc bags make for very efficient vessels. Let it soak. The rough advice for chicken is 1 hour/lb, for pork up to 4 hours/lb. Shrimp does well in a brine too, say 20 minutes to a half hour.

Save any un-used brine if you wish.

Pull the meat out of the brine. Quickly pat it dry with some paper towels and get it into/onto your cooking vessel and cooking. If you don't, its own weight will start forcing out the brine.

Dump used brine; it's not good for anything I know of.

The rest is down to what you're doing. For roast pork loin, set a meat thermometer to alert at 160 degrees. That's around medium-done, which is good for pork loin. Let it roast. Pull it out when the thermometer beeps and rest it for at least 10 minutes, 15 would be better.

Oh, and remember...

Veggies need wedgies 'cuz meat can't be beat!

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
rebecca817
Dec. 22nd, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
Okay, I made the mistake(?) of going out to your link....that's silly. But the brine you suggested sounds good enough that I'm going to use it on a pork loin I bought this morning. Right now, I've got a large pork roast going in the slow cooker with spaghetti sauce (for seasoning) and chicken broth with some carrots and celery. I'm going to make scalloped potatoes to go with it along with some green beans. Sure is nice to cook and enjoy it.
dinogrl
Dec. 22nd, 2007 11:38 pm (UTC)
Meat makes me sick, but that was funny.
bovil
Dec. 23rd, 2007 12:31 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, the brine technique doesn't do any good for vegetables, mushrooms or tofu; it's pretty much guaranteed to make soggy veggies. Mushrooms and tofu require really intense marinades.
gamingkitty
Dec. 23rd, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
My brother swears by brining turkeys, but the one time I tried it all I got was a salty turkey. Your explanation makes more sense than his, though, so I might try this again.

The turkey I get from work every year is only 10-12 pounds, but that's still larger than my stockpot. Anyone know if one of those jumbo-sized ziploc bags (the ones sold for packing away clothes and the like) are brine-tight?
bovil
Dec. 23rd, 2007 06:19 pm (UTC)
Get one of those 5-gallon plastic buckets from Home Depot, or get a cheap cooler that's about the right size.

If you soak too long, you will get salty turkey. If you pull the turkey out and let it sit, all that nice juice will come out and you will get salty turkey.

There's a Good Eats episode on turkey (I think) that should have more detailed advice.

Edited at 2007-12-23 06:33 pm (UTC)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )