Newbie question about marinading pork before smoking

Discussion in 'Sauces, Rubs & Marinades' started by osbornj2, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. Yes, always

    0 vote(s)
  2. Yes, sometimes

    0 vote(s)
  3. Not usually, but maybe occasionally

    0 vote(s)
  4. Heck no, not ever!

    0 vote(s)
  1. Just curious if most folks marinaded pork butts / shoulders before smoking? If so - for how long? (overnight or 2-3 hours)

    Also - is there a difference between a marinade and a brine, or is this simply word choice? Brine, to me, always conjures up an image of a salty bath.

    Thanks so much! Appreciate the insight!
  2. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    sometimes i brine a butt for 2-3 days. i don't think a couple hours would do anything.

    i just use salt, sugar n maybe some peppercorns in water.

    i've marinaded chicken in italian dressing, again, 2-3 days.
  3. Thanks! I came across a recipe that called for marinading overnight in apple cider (along with spices, etc). What are your thoughts?
  4. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds good to me.....cider a little more natural than plain apple juice perhaps.

    "Apple juice and apple cider are both fruit beverages made from apples, but there is a difference between the two. Fresh cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse particles of pulp or sediment. It takes about one third of a bushel to make a gallon of cider.

    To make fresh cider, apples are washed, cut and ground into a mash that is the consistency of applesauce. Layers of mash are wrapped in cloth, and put into wooded racks. A hydraulic press squeezes the layers, and the juice flows into refrigerated tanks. This juice is
    bottled as apple cider."
  5. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    apple cider sounds good, but if i was doing it, i'd do more than overnite.

    cider has enow acid you may not wanna marinade for over a week,because the meat might get mushy. but  i

    think you'll enjoy it more if you give it some time.

    i can give you an example based on cure.  cure travels into meat at the rate of 1/4'' / day.

    if cider is the same it will take 2 days to get into the top 1/2'' of meat.

    if i was gonna do it overnite, i'd inject some marinade into the center of the meat.

    an injector is nice to have.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
  6. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  7. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    sqwib, never what?
  8. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    I vote for injecting everytime over a marinade as far as pork and beef goes. For poultry, I love brining.
  9. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    How was that chicken suze?
  10. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    On topic. I don't brine butts. They have plenty of moisture. I do sometimes brine loins though just for kicks. I don't like anything that isn't ham or Canadian bacon to be hammy though. I always brine poultry. You need to be careful about injecting large muscle meats if you are not using cure. You want to make sure you will be able to get through the danger zone in the required time. I don't advocate injecting pork Butts unless you are using cure or cooking at 350 or something. I will marinade occasionally but not as a rule. Chicken thighs I always marinade and wings I always inject.
  11. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sorry I was answering the poll question ... Do you marinade or brine pork butt prior to smoking?

    I checked off.... Heck No Not ever

    Then Replied Never

    To be more accurate (IMHO)
    • I never brine Butts or Picnics, there's no benefit if shredding especially if adding a finishing sauce
    • I always brine Pork loins 48 hours if they are to be sliced for cold sandwiches
    • I don't brine loins anymore if they are to be used for Hot Sandwiches, no need.
    • I brine whole turkeys
    • I never brine chicken
    • I inject Chicken wings only
    • I marinate chicken quite often
    • I marinate tougher cuts of meat like LB often
    • I marinate Fish
    • I marinate Jerky
    I have tried injecting and don't care much for it, except for these!!

    Marinade Vs. Brine (IMHO)

    Brine is a solution of salt and spices that works by osmosis (adds a bit of flavor, salt and moisture to the meat)

    Marinade is a flavoring that is usually used as a tenderizer and to flavor the meat and sometimes applied after the cook.


    Sorry for the confusion Guys.
  12. tigerregis

    tigerregis Meat Mopper

    A marinade is used to MARINATE. There is no such verb as 'marinade'.
    Sorry,it just drives me to drink(thanks) when a meat forum butchers English.
  13. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

  14. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    timber, the chicken in italian dressing was good, but next time i'll  marinate 4-5 days.

     gotcha, sqwib.

    you know, i've been doing things backwards. for 7 months i've been studying brines, cures, rubs, etc.

    just recently i started studying the flavor profiles of  different woods. these are so subjective that lists from others are little help.

    everyone like different woods.

    i stumbled upon hickory which was the taste i'd been searching for.

    for me, using hickory is more important than how i prep the meat. it's my fav spice.

    i'll keep testing other woods just to learn.

    osborn, do try different woods.
  15. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I am glad you figured that out suze. I agree on the marinade, longer is better unless you inject. I do that if I am short on time. Only wings and thighs usually though. I bet it's a little better now you got your AMNPS? I'm considering it, what do you think?
  16. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    timber, my traeger has always given little smoke taste. using the tube or maze  makes such a big difference it's like night n day.

    i am convinced these things are a great buy. i now have the tube for the pellet grill n the maze for the MB.

    i bet you'll love one. i won't smoke without one.

    avoid my initial mistake. tell tood the type of smoker you have n he'll give you the best smoker for your needs.

    i'm impressed with his pellets too. the hickory i tried was from him. i got a 20 lb bag n will get more, even tho they are pricey.

    i haven't tested the sawdust burners cause i'm happy with pellets.
  17. Thanks for all the great info so far! So, it seems that it certainly won't "hurt" the meat to marinate (with a "t" !! [​IMG]) with apple cider, even if does not greatly benefit or enhance the finished flavor.

    Based on your experiences, it seems then that the wood itself will play a far greater role in the flavoring (esp for pulled pork).

    This is good stuff! I appreciate your time and sharing so far, and am looking forward to even more responses...
  18. bishgeo

    bishgeo Smoking Fanatic

    Myron's book has a great butt injection,
  19. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just saw this. I am sure its not always, but it seems it always. I always rub pork with brown sugar just before putting on the smoker. Sugar goes from crystaline state, to liquid. Then with the smokers heat it caramelizes encapsulating the meat in a sweet sugar sheath. I think it helps hold the moisture as well as the spices rubbed on prior to the sugar on/in the meat. Its kind of like a M&M with its candy shell, melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

    Bigger pieces of pork, I rub and wrap two days ahead of the cook. No, I don't use mustard or even EVOO, I massage or rub the spices in. I do not apply salt or sugar. because of their dehydrating abilities. I save them to apply just before placing the meat in the smoker.

    I do not believe that brining adds moisture, it only allows the fluid mobility of flavor enhancors into the meat, injection is the same although without the osmosis.

    If I marinate, its beef, big beef where injection would also work great. I marinate small meats, or slices or cuts that need the flavor heavily enhanced becasue it just not a good piece of meat. Its the type meat I wouldn't normally cook without a disclaimer. LOL

    Something to think about, do you taste the smoke (wood)? or is it the aroma that makes your mind think you taste it?  Just something to ponder. Remember Smoke was not originally applied as a "flavor modifier", it was a way to keep the bugs away from fresh meat.
  20. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    um, foam, i think taste has been established to include the sense of smell, so aroma = taste.

    i love the taste of hickory but that's probably the aroma.

    when my nose is stuffed up, i hardly taste anything.

    i definitely like your idea of  caremelizing brown sugar on the outside.

    i'm not sure i can tell if a butt is moister when i brine. some salt does seem to migrate inside tho. just the right amount.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015

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