Brining Pork

Discussion in 'Pork' started by papajoe8, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. In a recent thread GrillDad mentioned brining his pork butt before the smoke.  I am still a beginner and I mentioned that I had read a bunch about brining my birds.  The result with my chicken was fantastic.  I haven't read much about brining pork.  I believe pork butts are generally fatty enough to keep the meat moist and tender, so is this just done for flavor as a substitute for an overnight rub?  What are people's opinions/experience with this?  Sounds like a fun way to alter the flavor and maybe get a new result.

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  2. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Papa Joe....I have noticed that too.  I never brine my pork.  I have learned that brining turkey is wonderful.  I have tried it with some chickens too.  I am going to hold out and not brine my pork. But...that is just me!

  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey papa joe brining is good for changing the flavor profile, but is not needed for creating moist bbq. I do not brine my chicken, but I do brine my turkeys. Not because I am worried about them drying out, but because I want a different flavor profile. I do add a rub to my turkey as well. For pork if you wanted a different flavor brine it. Be cautious on what you use though as you might end up with more of a hammy flavor, rather than the pork flavor.
  4. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for asking that question. As usual, someone else's question taught me a lot.

    You got to love reading the posts on this forum.

  5. grilldad

    grilldad Fire Starter

    Yah. I was just surfing YouTube and saw this guy drine his butts so I just thought I would try it. Im not sure how an overnight rub would get the flavors deep in the meat. It must have something to do with the acidity of the apple juice and vinegar. However on a pulled pork the hole thing gets mixed up so it shouldn't matter anyway. Before now i've only done brines for turkeys that im going to deep fry. I think for my next butt I will do a overnight rub.
  6. ps0303

    ps0303 Meat Mopper

    I've always rubbed down my pork butts the night before.  It does create a gooey type of exterior as the sugars and salts create it from the natural juices of the meat.  Does it make a difference, I don't think so. 

    I'm beginning to look at smoking from the eyes of these smoke house restaurants.  I have yet to find one that ever rubs their meats down 24 hours before a smoke.  Nor do I find any of them that does a brine on their meats, including chickens.  So I am beginning to figure that if professionals do it a certain way, it must be good or at least the proper way of doing things. Now granted some of it is probably personal taste, but heck, these places are making some darn good eats.
  7. sabato domenica

    sabato domenica Fire Starter

    I have brined pork with great results. I would add it as another step and not skip the rub. I agree with PS0303 about the rub. 

    The science behind brining is that it keeps moisture in, it's not like an injection, although certain ingredients can add much flavor. Apple cider or juice in the brine is good for pork, along with the requisite salt and sugar. I also add lemon zest, thin lemon slices, thin onion slices, chopped garlic, peppercorns , it's based on a brine from Stephen Raichlen.

    Too long a brining period can lead to saltiness. I think 4 hours is enough.

    Have Fun !!!
  8. I brine pork and poultry. I like the flavor it brings deep into the meat. I don't rub or let sit overnight. I don't think it penetrates enough to make a difference. I also don't inject.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  9. sabato domenica

    sabato domenica Fire Starter

    Injecting Turkeys and Chickens really pays off. I take beer, some vinegar, and some of my dry rub, mix it up, inject. It imparts a great deal of flavor into the meat. Last week I smoked a nearly 14 pound turkey: brined, injected, butter basted under the skin, and dry rubbed. Smoked over a pan of apple juice using apple wood chunks. 

    I would do that again!!!
    mibbq likes this.
  10. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I brine if the loin will be sliced thin but really is a matter of getting a little salt throughout the loin giving it that deli taste, however if your going to slice in chops or steaks for dinner brining isn't really needed for loins but does help. Sorry for the long post, could not find the link to my post.

    Loins are dense and need to sit in the brine long enough to get a little penetration but not so long you end up with Canadian bacon.

    I'll never ditch the brine if slicing thin.

    my last brined loin

    Brined and Pit Cooked Loin Hot Pork Sammies

    • Whole Pork Loin cut in half
    • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt per gallon
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons garlic
    • 1 tablespoon Oregeno
    • 3 whole Carrots,
    • 1 large Onion
    • 6 Bay leaves
    • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
    • 4 sprigs of Thyme
    • 2 sprigs of Rosemary
    • Brine for 48 hours



    • Fat is trimmed then seasoned with my Philly style rub and Montreal steak seasoning
    • Fat is cubed and added to the drip pan with a half quart of brine, a quart of fresh water, and the strained brine ingredients.
    • Fat can be trimmed prior to brine, just leave a little of the fat on especially if slicing thin for sandwiches.


    • Placed on the pit at 225° - 250°


    • Probed after the first hour.

    • Smoked at 240° until an internal of 137° - 140° (pork is safe at 145°) carry over heat always brings my loins up to safe temps.
      The first loin comes off after 2 hours and is foiled and wrapped in a towel.


    • The second loin comes off a half hour later and is foiled and wrapped in towels... this is why I half the loins, one end always cooks quicker than the other end.


    • Both Loins are Foiled toweled and rested about half an hour.


    • Drippings are strained then run through a sieve. this will sit in the refrigerator until the next day.



    • The towel is removed from the loin and is placed inside a baking dish then placed into the refrigerator.


    • Meanwhile the gravy is defatted then put on very low heat.


    • The next day the pork loin is removed from the refrigerator and taking to the slicer
    • The loins are unwrapped




    • The loins are sliced paper thin


    • I tested a slice every inch or so while slicing to check for brine penetration, I was pleasantly surprised the flavor was throughout.



    • Slices are bunched up during slicing. (This will be used for Hot Pork Sandwiches)


    The gravy is tweaked with jarred gravy until a desired viscosity and flavor is reached.

    I always test the gravy before mixing, because If the flavor from the drippings is not where I want it I will usually split the drippings in half and add the jarred gravy then slowly add back the rest of my drippings.

    Sorry no pics in the gravy.
    bpc684 likes this.
  11. grilldad

    grilldad Fire Starter

  12. sabato domenica

    sabato domenica Fire Starter

    SQWIB: yum yum yummm, fantastic. All great ideas and methods.

    Only thing that I see wrong in the picture is Kingsford. It's just my personal choice but I would never use briquettes and I would use real hardwood lump charcoal of any other brand.

    as Dennis Miller would say, "But hey, that's just me."
  13. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That looks like perfect pure pork paradise!


  14. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't use charcoal, I'm a stick burner. Those bags were given to me by chef Jimmy when I adopted his New Braunsfel Offset.
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The most Expensive space in a restaurant is Refrigeration. Most Rib Shacks and small BBQ Joints only have one walk-in to store all the meat for the week. Rubbed and resting meat takes up space an additional 24 hours and Rubbed and Resting Meat ain't making the man any MONEY! Check out Diners, Drive-ins and Dives...Most DO Brine Poultry. And whether it is for the Show or they have the space there are quite a few that at least claim to Rub and Rest, over night Pork Butts that are going to be Smoked into Pulled pork. Don't forget it is much more interesting and keeps the show moving to show the Pitmaster mix a Rub and go directly into the Smoker. Most of the Comp Circuits Inspect meat to verify the meat Has Not been Pre-rubbed, Marinated or Injected before the Comp starts...You can Bet your Last Dollar that given the choice most of those guys would use some time,at least 24 hours before the comp, to squeeze as much flavor, tenderizers, liquid and moisture retaining Phosphates into the meat as they can! Whether that is Rub, Brine and/or Inject, it is done because it Works making the meat have a better texture, tenderness and more flavor. In the last 20 years there has not been a single piece of Poultry in my home or the many restaurants I have worked, not mention all the Chicken Chains, that has not seen and over night soak in a Brine...JJ
  16. I am fairly new to smoking so I have only made one set of chickens. They were brined and ended up tasty and moist. My wife doesn't like too much dealt so I cut it back from 1:16 as seems to be the standard to 1:32. I also added 1:16 brown sugar. It may have been less effective due to the lower concentration of salt but the chickens were not salty and still had a great result. I brined overnight with the same simple recipe for some birds later today. I am just practicing trying to get a uniform result before tweaking the brine/rub. I don't think I would do poultry without the brine unless it was a last minute decision. It was just too good.


    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 4
  17. Wow, I learned a lot from this thread! I have never brined pork but will try. I do like to brine turkey but to tell the truth, I have never brined anything else.

    Thanks for all the info Joe, SQWIB and everyone else!

  18. After reading about brining pork loin, I think I have to try it myself this week!


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