Why it Works: Brining
Soaking meat in salt water has been done for thousands of years to preserve meat. Salt pulls the water from meat and stops bacteria from making it go “bad.” How then, can soaking meat in salted liquid make meat juicier? It’s all in the timing. Soaking meat in a mild salt solution relaxes the protein in the meat. Water in the brine then has a chance to work its way between the proteins. This liquid becomes trapped inside the meat and serves as your insurance policy against drying out the meat during cooking. But caution is advised. Soaking meat for too long or in too strong a salt solution will dry your meat out. Stick with about 1 cup table salt for every 2 gallons liquid and do not leave meat in brine more than 12 hours unless the recipe directs you to do so.