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Why Use A Brine?

The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the venison is brining. What does that mean? Today we are smoking venison! As a hunter I eat what I shoot and today's venison is the last piece in the freezer. That would be an issue but tomorrow I'm allowed to hunt again to today venison is on the menu.

Venison is a hard meat to cook as a joint, not that it is heatproof or anything but it is lean, very lean so to cook a venison joint you really need to do some preparation work first. This is why this piece is currently brining in my fridge, this is also why a 'low and slow' method such as smoking it for four hours or so on my Pro Q Frontier is a great method of cooking it.

Todays post is about the brine, not the cook, you can see the results of that on The BBQ Shack page later. The purpose of a brine is twofold, the main purpose is to soak the meat in a salty solution to add salt to the meat which in turn traps moisture and keeps the meat tender whilst cooking. The second function is to add flavour, would seem rude not to whilst you have it soaking!

So how do you make brine? You can buy brining solutions (coming to a BBQ Shack near you soon) or they are simple enough to make yourself as it is essentially water plus salt, sea salt or rock salt NOT table salt (in fact, never EVER use table salt in cooking, it's shite stuff). The brine I made today consisted of:

  • 450ml warm water

  • One pot beef stock (yes dissolved in said water)

  • A large pinch of chili salt

  • Half a tablespoon of sea salt

  • Splash or Worcestershire Sauce (obviously)

  • A tablespoon of soy sauce

  • A dash of sesame oil

All this was mixed into the warm water then I added two large ice cube to cool it down, don't add warm anything to cold meat. As it cooled I made up a vacuum bag long enough to hold the meat and the brine and placed it all in. I did take some of the air out of the bag before sealing but you have to be careful of fluid getting into the vacuum machine so I didn't push my luck. Taking some air out allows me to fold the bag over so that all of the brining mixture is covering the meat when I stand it in a takeaway tub (any tub will do) and place it in the fridge.

Ideally this would be done the night before but if you're an idiot like me and forgot to get the venison out of the fridge in time a few hours will have to do, trust me it will be better than not doing it at all. Plus whilst the BBQ is heating up later I will inject some of the brine into the meat with my Pro Q Meat Injector (guess where you can but them) so that there is enough moisture in the meat whilst cooking.

Yes I will put rub on the venison, I will give it a coat of Miso Paste a) as a binder and b) to add more umami flavour and then use the Angus and Oink Moomami rub to give it a flavour boost. Is all of this necessary I hear you cry. Well some people have tried venison and didn't really like it and they reason they didn't like it was because it was dry, not fat no flavour. Add moisture and enhance the flavour and you too will become a fan of venison and may even one day be like me, kill it, cook it then eat it!

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