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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Cider Brine

We recently tried a fun, autumnal experiment down at the Sizzle Grove headquarters (a.k.a. at Nick's house): brining meat in a mixture of apple cider, cider vinegar, water, salt, and spices.  The result came out... not too cidery tasting actually, but incredibly delicious and pastrami-like from the peppercorns and fresh garlic thrown in there.  Our meat of choice, as usual, was spare ribs, though this would be great with pork shoulder, pork loin, or even beef brisket.

Here's how we recommend you judge how much liquid you need, as that greatly depends on the container you're using and the meat you're using:

1. Wrap meat in saran wrap.
2. Place wrapped meat into container.  Make sure there's a decent amount of room above the meat to the top of the container.
3. Fill container will cool water, until meat is just covered.
4. Drain water into a large measuring cup.
5. Note the volume, and divide by half.  The brine requires equal parts water to cider, plus splashes of other stuff.

Now here are the INGREDIENTS:
Slightly less than half water (ice will be added later)
Half apple cider
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Lots of salt (1 cup salt to each gallon of liquid)
Brown sugar (half as much as the salt)
2-3 cloves garlic, quick smashed
A few slices of onion
1-2 tsp whole peppercorns
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
A few sprigs of rosemary

1. Mix all ingredients except rosemary together in a large saucepan.  Bring to a light boil.
2. Slowly add ice until mixture becomes room temperature.
3. Place meat into container, weaving rosemary around it.
4. Pour brine over meat, making sure it's well covered.
5. Place a lid on the container, and store it in the fridge for 24 hours.
6. Lightly rinse meat to get off excess salt.  Barbecue until awesome.

**We cooked our ribs completely naked after brining.  Before we foiled them for the last 1.5 hours of cooking, we drizzled them with honey and spices.  It was awesome.**

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