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Thread: Measuring ice water for brine.

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    brianh's Avatar
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    Measuring ice water for brine.

    Going to cure a picnic ham. Following Steven Raichlens recipe which calls for 2 quarts hot water followed by 3 quarts ice water. What does ice water really mean? Heavily iced water? Mostly melted ice? Ice takes up more space than water so i would think this could make a difference.

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    daveb's Avatar
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    I use a 4 qt cambro (or other container) fill 1/2 way to x with ice, add water to x. Make sure you can weigh it, metric is easiest. The important part here is to have a water to salt ratio (by weight) that will allow brine to work. The ice just helps it get cold faster. Someone here likely knows the ratio off the top of their head (5% salt to water comes to mind).

    Edit: Chefs Steps has a convoluted way of getting to the same answer. https://www.chefsteps.com/activities...ibrium-brining
    Older and wider..

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    JohnnyChance's Avatar
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    I always start with half the amount of total water hot. Disolve salt/sugar/etc. Add some ice, whisk it in until dissolved, top with more ice or cool water depending on temp of the brine until there is no ice, the brine is cool and the appropriate volume is reached.

    In the recipe you are using, I read ice water as heavily iced water. The difference overall in the volume of ice and water if you got the ratio wrong should be pretty insignificant in the long run.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

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    Senior Member DamageInc's Avatar
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    I hate it when recipes use volume instead of weight.
    Don't drink out of ornamental ponds in Tiergarten. You will get sick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DamageInc View Post
    I hate it when recipes use volume instead of weight.

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    brianh's Avatar
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    Yeah, me too. I guess most "regular" people don't go by weight. But what regular person is making ham from scratch, heh. Thanks for all your input. I'll do heavily iced water.

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    brianh's Avatar
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    Also, amazing ribs has a basic ham brine here: http://amazingribs.com/recipes/porkn...uring_ham.html

    His recipes are usually decent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brianh View Post
    Going to cure a picnic ham. Following Steven Raichlens recipe which calls for 2 quarts hot water followed by 3 quarts ice water. What does ice water really mean? Heavily iced water? Mostly melted ice? Ice takes up more space than water so i would think this could make a difference.
    You're over-thinking it. It doesn't matter, because the goal is to create 5 quarts of "cold" brine before you add the meat to it. I'm not sure where you're reading the recipe, but on his Barbeque Bible website, he says to bring 3 qts to a boil, make the brine, then add the 2 qts of ice water to the boiling water and put the whole thing in the refrigerator. When it's cold, and you can interpret that any way you want because the only goal there is to avoid cooking the meat by putting it in hot brine, add the meat.

    The only reason for boiling the water is to make the salt dissolve easier, and the only reason for the ice water is to cool down the hot water more quickly. It ain't rocket science.

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    I usually weigh out (or google the weight) water and just calc the weight of ice needed after dissolving the stuff. All it does is allow you to use less energy heating and cooling as well as save on time.

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    If I need 6 qts of brine I boil 3 qts and all the salt sugar etc. I put that in a 18qt container and start adding ice a scoop at a time while whisking, by the time you put enough ice in to come up to the 6qt mark the water will be room temperature and the ice will be melted. And if the ice isnt melted and you are only at 5 qts, add room temperature water till its at 6 qts and the little remaining ice will not impact volume,

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