Brining Tips

Creating a simple brine with Holland House Cooking Wines can help turn ordinary cuts of meat into something delectable and juicy with a unique richness that will make your family ask for seconds. Our “flavor infusion” method is the ideal middle ground between hot-start and cold-start brines. Make your next meal memorable with a little planning and these simple tips.

Hot brines impart the best flavor, but can take hours to cool down before you can begin to brine. Cold brines are faster, but don’t impart enough flavor. Our “flavor infusion” combines the best of both methods: A small amount of richly seasoned brine is heated, cooled and stirred into the rest of the brine. That rich, concentrated flavor then infuses the poultry or meat as it brines. The result is tender, juicy meat with delicious wine overtones.

Get started with one of these great recipes:
Wine and Rosemary Infused Roasted Chicken
Marsala Brined Chicken with Orange Essence
Grilled Brined Chicken with Garlic and Thyme

What is brining and why do it?
Brining is a process of osmosis and protein denaturing via a high-salt liquid solution. Meat and poultry is submerged in the solution and chilled for a period of time. Brining makes lean meat and poultry absorb liquid and become juicier.

Hot- vs. Cold-Start Brines
There are two types of brining methods – hot-, and cold-start. Hot brines begin by boiling water with salt, herbs and aromatics to bring out the flavor of the seasonings. This concentrated solution is chilled for hours or overnight, then added to a larger amount of cold liquid. Cold brines are not heated, and often do not impart as much flavor as hot-start brines. Seasonings are simply added to the cold, or room temperature liquid.

Brining Times
Brining times depend on many factors, but are mainly determined by:

  • salt concentration
  • type of meat/poultry
  • cut or thickness of the meat/poultry

Using Salt in Holland House Brines

Brines rely on salt (sodium) to be effective. Always check the sodium content of the salt you use, as different brands contain different amounts of sodium. And read the Kitchen Tips on our recipes so you know how much salt to add to the brine; it is different for different recipes. Too much sodium will make the meat too salty. Too little, and the brine won’t work.

Brine vs. Marinade
In general, brines make meat/poultry juicier, while marinades tenderize. Marinades have acidic ingredients that tenderize, such as vinegar, lemon, pineapple, yogurt etc.

Beef and Brines
Beef is not typically brined, except to make corned beef. Tenderizing marinades are better for beef.  Try one of our World Harbors Marinades or search for a marinade in our recipe database.

Brine Containers
It is important to find the right container to fully submerge the meat/poultry. Even for smaller cuts of meat and poultry, a flat- bottomed, glass or plastic container with high sides (at least 4 inches) is ideal to accommodate four bone-in pork chops or a bone-in turkey breast. If you do not have the right size container, try using a small brining bag or an oven roasting bag. Follow directions on the bag and place filled bag in a large bowl or on a rimmed plate. Always place your full brine container in the refrigerator.