|Anonymous 01:56, 24 February 2024 (EDT)
|Science and Food. Those two subjects, alone, open this article up to a ton of wizardry and Necronomicon level sorcery. Because of this it may, or may not have a lot more information and blogging before it will be considered finished. Depends on just how deep I feel like going. Stay tuned.
This may seem kind of weird, but I save back Pickle Juice from the jarred pickles, olives, pepper rings, and other pickled foods that I buy. Why? It's great brine for lean meat like turkey, chicken, and pork. Muh momma used to do this for her fried chicken and nobody could ever figure out what that zingy background flavor this brining method produced.
I don't save it back all of the time, but when I know that I will need to pump up the flavor in normally dry, bland food, this is a good go-to method. Also, since most people just pour the juice down the sink after they eat their pickles, it makes me feel like I am saving the environment by not adding unnecessary vinegary green liquid to the water table.
What To Do?
Buy pickles. Buy pepper rings. Buy pickled onions. Buy sauerkraut. Mankind has been pickling just about everything for over four thousand years, so you can probably find a billion different items that are pickled in a brine, are in a jar, and are located in the condiments aisle at your local grocer.
Most jarred pickles and other items come in a brine that will basically last forever if you keep it in the fridge. After all, it's just water, vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, sodium benzoate (which is a preservative), alum, and polysorbate 80.
They sometimes use the food color "Yellow Nº 5" to give their pickles that traditional pickle juice color. Using pickle brands with this ingredient will give your protein a delightful greenish tinge. Try it on shrimp and freak your friends out.
Once you have purchased your pickles and other brined foods, eat them and enjoy them. Do not throw the jar full of juice out. Find some larger vessel and save back that liquid. Most chain grocers have a large "store brand" jar of huge dill pickles on the bottom shelf of the pickle section. They are always really cheap. Usually like 6 or 8 bucks for a huge jar of those old "deli style" brand of pickles.
These types of pickles are usually not very tasty, but you aren't buying the jar for that. You are buying the jar to save your pickle brines over a period of time. Also, most of the time, the jar's mouth is wide enough to squeeze a roasting chicken into the jar. Now you have a self contained brining vessel.
Brining adds moisture, making it the best choice for lean proteins. Salt in the brine not only seasons the meat, but also promotes a change in its protein structure.
In cooking, brining is a process similar to marination in which meat is soaked in a salt solution (the brine) before cooking. Brining makes cooked meat moister by hydrating the cells of its muscle tissue before cooking and by allowing the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked.
The whole process is even better when you use lacto-fermented pickle juice. Tons of benefits with this sort of juice. I should, one day, make an article about lacto-fermentation and how I am an expert with it because I used to run and maintain waste water treatment plants. I probably will, and that article will also mention how I enjoy yogurt.
So you have brined your lean protein for an indeterminate time...and yes, this is an indeterminate time because brining depends on the surface area, weight, protein type, and other intangibles. You are going to have to experiment with your pickle juice and your protein.
Now that you have figured out your favorite process, what are you supposed to do with it?
Well, you can cook it just the way it is. Pickle juice brining acts as a marinade on its own.
Or, you can go several other ways. Baking, sautéing, poaching, grilling, roasting, or slow cooking all benefit from this type of brine process. The best cooking process is probably smoking, but that is another article.
As I mentioned above, my mother used to brine her chicken this way, prior to battering it and frying it. It is said that Chik-Fil-A brines their chicken sandwich meat prior to frying, but that has been debunked. However, that does not mean cooks out there don't use the method to copy-cat the signature flavor of the restaurant.
- Here is some meathead's recipe: https://eatthegains.com/chicken-marinated-in-pickle-juice/
- If you make your own pickles, your results will work as well. http://fermentationpodcast.com/pickle-juice-uses-leftover-brine/
- https://www.americastestkitchen.com/cooksillustrated/how_tos/5804-brining-meat <--this link is now behind some sort of pay wall.
- You wouldn't brine shrimp for 24 hours. That would leave it a mush.
- Which I am too lazy to write.
- Or is it debunked? https://kitsunerestaurant.com/does-chick-fil-a-soak-their-chicken-in-pickle-juice/