Best container for brining?

Discussion in 'Fish' started by tpc74, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. tpc74

    tpc74 Fire Starter

    What is the best or recommended container for brining?

    I made some smoked salmon for fathers day and it turned out excellent considering how little time I had to do it.  The hardest part was coming up with a good container for the brine. 

    What I ended up using was a very large plastic bowl with a lid that we use for salads sometimes, and then using a bowl to weight the two pieces of salmon I had down into the brine.  This worked but didn't seem very elegant of a solution and I think it could be better.

    Would it be better to pour the liquid into gallon bags?  Assuming there was room so that the fish would be better submerged?

    What do you all use for your liquid brining methods?
  2. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    A food grade plastic bucket, or better yet go to a restaurant supply, they have some nice food grade containers in many shapes and sizes.
  3. tpc74

    tpc74 Fire Starter

    But what do you do to weight the fish so it doesn't just float on top of the brine? 
  4. I was ready to suggest the exact same thing.

  5. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Get a food grade bucket at your local grocery store that has a bakery...should be free..

    Weight it down with a baggie half full of water..
  6. tpc74

    tpc74 Fire Starter

    Thanks for the tips/suggestions.
  7. arnie

    arnie Smoking Fanatic

    I use a 5 gallon food grade bucket if I cannot get whatever I am brining to fit in a Ziploc bag.

    If you use a Ziploc bag you use less brine, just make sure you squeeze out all of the air in the baggy
  8. tpc74

    tpc74 Fire Starter

    Well the brine mixture I am made comes out to be about 1/2 gallon or so.  Is it wrong or bad to spilt it up into multiple baggies if I can't get it all into one?

    Say I take one large fillet and cut it into 4 smaller pieces.  Should I make enough brine for that and split it between baggies, one piece per baggie?  Or do something else?
  9. Ziploc makes 2-gallon double zip bags - though they are hard to find in most supermarkets around here. They work for most everything I've brined except turkeys. For turkeys, I use a food grade container that I got from Sam's bakery for free. It had been filled with butter creme icing for cakes. I put the gel pack freezer blocks in clean ziplock bags and put them in the bucket with ice water. We have an 'extra' refrigerator that I can put the bucket in for longer periods if I need to.

    Ziplocs take less brine or marinade than any other method I've tried. Be careful with them, though, because it is easy to burst the zipper open if you put too much solution in with whatever you are treating. Also, if you get anything into the locking channels, it tends to undo the seal. As was mentioned, you should get all the air out before sealing them. I prefer heavy-duty bags because the zip seal seems to hold much better and the bags are less likely to be punctured.
  10. tpc74

    tpc74 Fire Starter

    Wouldn't a baggie hlaf full of water just float?  I mean I guess I will have to try it, seems better than my bowl method as weight, just seem wierd lol.
  11. I use 3 gallon ziploc's and put them in a cooler of ice overnight. I would use a food grade bucket if I had the space in a fridge to keep it cold overnight.
  12. terry colwell

    terry colwell Smoking Fanatic

    You can always buy a actual Brining Croak from the Sausage Makers web site. Its a heavy croak just for brining.
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    tpc, morning....  I use a food grade plastic container that fits my adult beverage fridge.... for stacking meats, I found plastic screens in the hobby dep't at wally world.... I use them for spacers for the cure/brine to circulate between the layers...  about $3... and a zip bag on top to hold it all under the brine.....   Dave

  14. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Your fish market receives their fish in plastic tubs with lids. They look like 10" X 15" X 6" Tupperware containers and are stackable. These get tossed and they will usually give them to you free. They take up a lot less space than a five gallon bucket, you won't have to move fridge shelves around...JJ
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  15. tpc74

    tpc74 Fire Starter

    Thanks for the help all. :)  I ended up using a rubbermaid food storage container, and ziploc baggies with water for the weighting.  It ended up being the perfect size for what I was doing.  I will make a thread with pics later.
  16. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have cured whole turkeys in the fridge before by emptying out one of the bottom crispers.  As long as it doesn't have any cracks (take it our and fill it with water first) it is a perfectly good food grade bucket; place the meat in it, cover with brine and weight it down w/ half-full baggie (squeeze the air out of it first).  Works like a charm!
  17. arnie

    arnie Smoking Fanatic

    I wouldn't think that would be a problem   [​IMG]
  18. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    tpc, morning..... If the brine mixture you made was based on the total weight of the meat and water, dividing it up into different containers will make the brine uneven between each piece, UNLESS, your divide up the  brine in ratios the same as the meat ratios....  As an example :  If you had 10#' meat and 10 Cups brine..... You could divide 3#, 3#, 4# meat and 3 C, 3C,4C brine respectively...... that would be OK......  Dave
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  19. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yep, where they say, just take it home and wash it our with a bleach compound(1:10 ratio) and if you do a lot of brining, do as Rabbithutch says, use a little in a large zip bag the rest of what's left in your spare reefer.

    No-doubt you'll be doing a lot of Chickens this Summer.

    Have fun and...

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