Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brine now and marinade later ;-P

Hey gang! I got an email from Ted in Menomonee Falls Wi. Ted was asking about brines and marinades. He wanted to know what was the difference between them and when to use each one.

To put it simply, a brine is water, salt and sugar and a marinade is an acid, oil and seasonings.

I'm no food scientist so I can't give you the scientific explanation as to why brining works. So I'll give you the Dude's version. Ready? Splish, splash your meats takin' a bath, all on a Saturday night. Rub a dub dub add you special rub and we'll be gourmet eatin' tonight.

Seriously, the salt, water and sugar combine and does something chemically to the meat. It makes the meat able to absorb and retain the solution. If you add different seasonings to the brine it will be carried into the meat adding extra flavor. The benefits of brining is that the meat will seem juicier and tender. You can slightly over cook brined meats without it drying out. Also, it seems like brined meat cooks a little faster.

When you go to the store, check out chicken. Look at the label. It may say 3% solution added or 10% solution by volume on the package or label. Look at some prepackaged ribs. It may say enhanced or something similar. The solution added to both is a brine with other seasonings.

What meat works best with brining? Usually lean meats. Turkey, chicken, pork (ribs, tenderloin, etc) or seafood work best.

Before I forget, if you brine, don't add any salt to your rub or seasonings after brining. Also, if you are on a reduced sodium diet I don't suggest you eat the brined food.

How about some...

Beer Brined Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops about 1 ½ inches thick
1 ¾ cups water
1 ¾ cups dark beer
3 tablespoons Kosher or Sea salt
2 ½ tablespoons mild molasses
2 teaspoons black pepper
4 cloves garlic minced.

To make the brine put the water, beer salt and molasses in a large bowl and mix well. Make sure the salt and molasses are mixed into the liquid.

Trim pork chops of excess fat and place into large resealable plastic bag. Pour brine over the meat, seal the bag and mix the brine and meat around to make sure the meat is covered in the brine. Put the bag into the fridge and let the meat soak over night or 24 hours.

Prepare grill with medium hot coals spread around a drip pan in the center.

Drain chops and pat dry. Mix pepper and garlic together and rub into the chops.

Place chops on grill over drip pan, cover and cook 30 minutes, turning once about half way through. Cook until the internal temperature is 160 degrees or the juices run clear.


My take on marinades in a couple of days.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

For all my Cubs friends.

I got this in an email and decided to share it with you. Yep, I'm a Southsider. Go White Sox!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pitmasters New Season

I received an email today. I checked it out and it is a legitimate request. As a matter of fact several of my competition BBQ friends have received the same letter. Here it is..

It's official. Our new format features FOUR different pit masters competing in EACH episode. We are looking to augment our cast from last season and welcome all interested cooks to throw their aprons in the ring. Send your audition tape/DVD, selling us on why you should be picked to compete against the best. To: Lindsay Freed c/o Original Media, 38 E. 29th St., 8th FL, NY, NY 10016. Or, you can email a file of your audition to bbqpitmasters@originalmedia.com. Send your ?'s there as well. Shooting schedule April 30th - June26th. Good luck and see you on the trail!

I wonder if I should send in a DVD or file. I'm a low level player on the contest circuit. Granted, we've done fairly well considering we only do 7 or 8 contests a year. I've competed in some of the same contests as Johnny Trigg. As a matter of fact he and Rod Gray (Pellet Envy 2009 KCBS Team of the Year) taught me a few things. I've competed against both of them.

Pat (the Dudette) is leaving it up to me to decide. Pat has stood behind me in every stupid thing I've tried since we got married many years ago.

If I decide to do it, what do I put in the audition video? Cooking? Just a bit about our team? What?

P.S. Yes Don, I'll live.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Went to Doctor!

Yes, I went to see the Doctor today. I had a 2:15 appointment, so I get there before 2, just in case she was running early. SILLY ME! I do the co-payment insurance card thing and went to sit down. I must have nodded off but I didn't think so at the time.

I heard my name called and went into the exam room. Her assistant asked the standard million questions. Then I was told that the Doctor was busy but I was next. Then I went back out into the waiting room. Maybe I nodded off and maybe I didn't. Finally I get into see the Doctor. That visit lasted maybe 10 minutes.

I walked out of the office about 2 1/2 hours after I went in. I see a parking ticket on my car. It seems I over stayed my metered time. I didn't think I was in the office waiting that long. That is why I figured I nodded off.

It was a double bummer day! A parking ticket and I get to go back to work tomorrow.

I want to thank my Entrecard friends for the get well wishes.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Sorry about not posting. I've haven't been feeling well the last couple of days. I will post soon. I promise