Friday, February 23, 2018

Thaw Your Meat In Brine

Last night, I got home from work and had to take the Catican Guards out on maneuvers. If I didn't, the chihuahuas would lose their minds and a manic chihuahua is considered by many to be a weapon of mass distraction. My wife was comforting my mother at the nursing home and wouldn't be back for another hour. My mom is mending nicely, by the way.

We had nothing thawed for dinner and noms were my job.

I found a boneless ribeye we had in the freezer and immersed it in brine to thaw. These days, I've been trying this set of recipes for brine. For a long time, I've thawed meat in water when I'm in extremis like I was last night, but recently I switched to brine. I figured the meat would thaw faster in a salt water solution and while the brine wouldn't have a long time to work, it would have to do some good.

I let it thaw for an hour, but it was a thick steak and that wasn't quite enough, so I poured the whole thing into a large skillet and warmed it on the stove. Home by this time, wife kitteh joked that I was going to serve her boiled steak, but I was careful to keep the heat low and not let the water get above touchably-hot.

The result was quite satisfying. Because I used a salt and brown sugar brine, I didn't season the steak at all. The meat came off the grill properly salted. I foolishly added a little bit of salt once it was on my plate, but not enough to ruin the thing.

I came to the conclusion that brine is like a tea. There are recipes for brine with all kinds of things in it like white wine, garlic powder, thyme and so on. I didn't use any of those recipes nor did I shotgun one, but I started to wonder if I couldn't pre-mix a brine in the morning and let it stew all day before putting meat in it when I got home. Of course, that would require thinking ahead, so it's all a laughable fantasy. Still, I can dream, can't I?

I think it was still frozen at the very center, so once I seared and marked the outside, I put the lid back on my Weber kettle and ovened the steak on indirect heat for about 15 minutes. That's a tricky bit of business as too long results in shoe leather meat. This time, I guessed correctly.


tim eisele said...

On the one hand, I agree that brines and marinades can make for really tasty dishes, and I can understand why they are used.

The problem, though, is that it pains my frugal soul to make them up, use them, and then *throw them away*. Even though I tell myself, "hey, salt and sugar are unbelievably cheap, don't sweat it!", it is still hard.

K T Cat said...

Me, too! When I pour 1/3 cup of salt into the water, I cringe.

ligneus said...

Growing up in the war as a kid with rationing and all I learned frugality early, hate throwing away anything but never thought about salt that way! It really is so cheap.
Will keep brining in mind for future use.

ligneus said...

So here's something silly from my department of useless information. The Food Ministry in the war were always giving out advice on using leftovers and other recipes, also some 'propaganda' for want of a better word, little things like this:

Dear beloved brethren,
Isn't it a sin,
To peel a raw potato
And throw away the skin.
The skin feeds the pig,
The pig feeds you,
Dear beloved brethren
Isn't this true?

Aren't you glad now that I comment here!

K T Cat said...

ligenus, you are a treasure!