It has become more and more apparent that lots of people have misconceptions, misconstrued, or disbelieving views in the whimsical nature of Chemistry and the physicality, process and preparation of food or PPPF. I'd like to make this thread about the introduction, debate and general discussion about manipulation of food and how it can be effected or changed through preparation, cooking, storing or anything in between.
Sources are need to counter a point/opinion. Personal experience and wisdom is not shunned but Existence of God is not a solid fact.
For my first trick I want to talk about brine. What is its process? What is actually happening? How will it effect certain meats in certain preparations.
What is the optimal brine solution, for how long, for which meats, how many hours/days.
Personal Question: Should I brine meat that is about to be made into beef jerky? Or marinade?
Brining makes cooked meat moist by hydrating the cells of its muscle tissue before cooking, via the process of osmosis, and by allowing the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked, via the process of denaturation. The brine surrounding the cells has a higher concentration of salt than the fluid within the cells, but the cell fluid has a higher concentration of other solutes. This leads salt ions to diffuse into the cell, whilst the solutes in the cells cannot diffuse through the cell membranes into the brine. The increased salinity of the cell fluid causes the cell to absorb water from the brine via osmosis. The salt introduced into the cell also denatures its proteins. The proteins coagulate, forming a matrix that traps water molecules and holds them during cooking. This prevents the meat from dehydrating. - wiki
Now lets take into consideration:
1)A Normal Saline solution is at 0.9% NaCl, which is the adequate hydration for the body.
2) A brine solution is at >5%
3) How does salt travel via osmosis (to a less saltier thing, when osmosis is literally the travel of only water from a less saltier solution to a more saltier solution which is dehydrating the less salty meat) through an only water permeable membrane?
How is the salt magically traveling through and inactive NaCl pump in an dead slab of muscle, how do you know the concentration of salts within the cells to determine which is the more isotonic? (taste it) HOW are denaturing proteins, (where denaturing is the process of the wound proteins unwinding breaking down into the sum of its parts) somehow creating a matrix trapping within the protein when the water is moving away and not toward the protein. Coagulation requires more then just a salt solution and is usually helped by decreasing temperature and agitation (beating eggs and sugar or cream and sugar, but what happens when you beat eggs and salt?)
so brine water is clearly the more isotonic solution, than LIVING muscle mass in Humans. (The reason why i bring up the "living" and "human" parts is because first living cells are a more abundant in nutrients such as salts then the dead. 2 humans have much saltier diets than our other mammalian friends. So our poultry and beef and swine are typically a less saltier composition then that of 5% making the salt water the more saltier solution.
So how does brine work? It works because the salt water initially dehydrates the cells thus making space once the entirety of the solution equalizes with the meat, then salt water is trapped within the crevices of the meat and is sealed when the use of flash heat is used to sear and inflame thus sealing the meat from letting the brine out.