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Brining raw meat before you freeze it?


Regina3000
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So I recently purchased two boneless pork loins, and I plan to cut them into chops and roasts and freeze them. I usually don't brine loin because I don't plan ahead enough, but since I need to cut these up and freeze them, I was wondering if it would be good to brine them before freezing? I'm thinking that if I do, all I'll have to do before cooking them is make sure they're thawed. I wouldn't use anything other than kosher salt in the brine.

 

Are there any good reasons not to do this?

Regina

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From my point of view it really depends on what you intend to do with then afterwards. Do you want to brine a whole pork loin ? Let’s say 2.5-3 kg, that‘ll take quite a while. If you „just“ want to make a roast / SV that thing I wouldn’t go through the trouble …

 

But - to answer your question - no, it won’t hurt the product.

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The recipe I have for pickled pork is from Red Beans and Eric, and is adapted from the recipe on the Camellia beans website. Before brining he suggests cutting pork shoulder into 1-2 inch cubes. After 7 days it is ready to use or freeze. He suggests that you freeze it in whatever size in convenient. I read somewhere else that when you take the meat out of the brine you wipe off excess marinade, and that applies to frozen pickled pork as well. I haven't tried freezing it yet, so I can't claim how well this works.

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Thanks, everyone!

 

I don't want to brine a whole loin, but rather individual chops, for eventual cooking on a grill or in a skillet. I think this will be a good thing to try.

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Regina

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So as I understand the science of brining, first you make a hypertonic saline solution.   Gradually diffusion through a semi permeable membrane increases the saline concentration inside the cell, and then water follows pulled in by on oncotic pressure.   
 

The net result is increased water inside the cells of the meat.   Water expands when it freezes.   This can result in cells bursting which is what sometimes causes frozen meat to be mushy.    More water = more bursting = more mushy.  Theoretically.

 

Haven’t done it so I don’t know what the real word results are.   I’ve eaten a bunch of pre-brined frozen meat things which were fine, I guess but there may be some tricks I’m not following.

 

long winded way to say I’m not sure, but trying on a small cut first is probably a good idea.   
 

I’d be interested in the results I buy and cut up Costco pork lions a couple times a year.

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" . . . some tricks I’m not following. "

also to question is:   "brined how?"  -  most/(?) commercially brined pieces are injected; time is money, so brining something for hours (like home methods) doesn't fit their budget.

 

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On 3/10/2022 at 8:52 PM, Katie Meadow said:

The recipe I have for pickled pork is from Red Beans and Eric, and is adapted from the recipe on the Camellia beans website. Before brining he suggests cutting pork shoulder into 1-2 inch cubes. After 7 days it is ready to use or freeze. He suggests that you freeze it in whatever size in convenient. I read somewhere else that when you take the meat out of the brine you wipe off excess marinade, and that applies to frozen pickled pork as well. I haven't tried freezing it yet, so I can't claim how well this works.

If the recipe states to brine for 7 days, I'd assume it's an equilibrium brine, so you shouldn't have to wipe off the brine when it's done because the brine will have the same salt concentration as the meat.  If you did a really strong brine where you only keep the meat in the brine for a few hours or a day, then yes, wipe it afterwards.

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25 minutes ago, KennethT said:

If the recipe states to brine for 7 days, I'd assume it's an equilibrium brine, so you shouldn't have to wipe off the brine when it's done because the brine will have the same salt concentration as the meat.  If you did a really strong brine where you only keep the meat in the brine for a few hours or a day, then yes, wipe it afterwards.

Two pounds of pork shoulder, cut in large cubes were brined, put in a zip lock bag and turned once a day. I have no idea if this was equalibrium at work, but I trust you!  I took out about a third of it. I did not wipe anything off the meat, cut away a little more of the fat and dropped the pieces into the bean pot shortly after the aromatics were added and the beans were simmering gently. Because I was out of ham stock I also added one smoked neck bone for additional flavor. The only liquid added was water (these particular smoked neck bones are pretty intense and the modest amount of meat that can be be taken off the bone after cooking is very smoky and succulent, and, surprising, not overly salty; I usually give smoked hocks, shanks or neck bones a brief rinse to eliminate excess salt.)

 

The meat and beans cooked for a little more than two hours, until the beans were well cooked. The 7-day meat infused the whole pot with a modest brininess. So the beans were smoky and briny and the brined meat was tender and tasty; something I don't think I have ever encountered before. It was really delicious. I suppose if you like a very briny tasting dish a little of the brining liquid could be added to the pot, or simply more of the meat, but I favor more beans and less meat. It also occurred to me that some amount of the brining liquid that's left over could be added to a mess of greens during cooking, although I don't boil greens.

 

The rest of the meat is still sitting in the brine in the fridge. I plan to freeze the meat in two separate portions after removing the chunks from the brine. Next time I make red beans and rice I will defrost a packet and see how that goes. FYI I have taken to using RG's Domingo Rojo beans exclusively for red beans and rice. I have also used Purcell Mountain's organic dark red kidney beans, which are good but not as good in my mind. When last in Atlanta I made red beans for my daughter and her husband and all I could find were Camellia. I wasn't wowed, but I suppose they are easily available and traditional in the south. At the end of this month I am headed back east and plan to have Domingo Rojo beans in my husband's suitcase. They're heavy!

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