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Problems with Cook's Illustrated Magazine's recommendations about brining

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Problems with Cook's Illustrated Magazine's recommendations about brining

Bruce | Jul 28, 2002 08:50 PM

Has anyone else run into this problem? I have now ruined two meals, one with shrimp, another a roast, after scrupulously (I think) following Cook's magazine's recommendations about brining these items. The staff at Cook's seems to recommend brining with an almost religious fervor (supposedly to improve texture in shrimp, and also to compensate for the lack of fat in post-modern pork--what's next, that this will cure corns?), but the only results that I have had were foul, over-salted shrimp and roast, both tossed into the garbage.

Again, I think that I very particularly followed the directions given, including that I rinsed/washed/dried the food items after brining. I used kosher salt (for purity) and non-reactive vessels for holding the food during the brining. Am I doing something wrong? Is there some trick to the shrimp and meat in the midwest that I should know about? (I look at the labels to check for "prebrining" by the meat companies, and I did not to my knowledge use food products that were "enhanced" by corporate saline injections.)

I have seen other advice given by Cook's which I regard as questionable (adding hickory chunks to smoke ribs or pork during the *entire time* that they are slow-cooked for bar-b-q, for example), and I hereby will regard their promulgation of brining "cum grano salis"--unless somebody else can enlighten me about my own possible errors.

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