Juniper & Bay Brine

All Purpose Juniper & Bay Brine Photo: Tim Elwin

All Purpose Juniper & Bay Brine
Photo: Tim Elwin

This is my go to brine that i always have a jar of in the fridge. I use it for most meats; Pork Belly or Shoulder, Whole Chickens or Breasts, Turkey, Beef Brisket (for Corned Beef) etc. Anything that might dry out or takes a long time to cook can use a brine like this. 

I would also highly suggest you invest in a Meat Injector/Syringe ($10-$20) as it dramatically reduces the amount of brine needed as well as reducing the time required for brining. Why? well a standard "soak" version of brining needs 2+ days to get into the centre of the meat (depending on the thickness) so if you inject it directly into the centre, job done! It also means that you can keep the skin dry which is needed for crackling etc.

Ingredients

  • 4 Litres Water
  • 1 Cup Cooking Salt
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 60ml Pineapple Juice or ¼ Cup White Sugar
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons Juniper Berries
  • 1 Teaspoon Whole Peppercorns

Method - Brine

Heat all of the ingredients on a medium-high heat in a medium sized pot and stir until the salt and sugar has completely dissolved and it hits boiling point. Remove from the heat and cool to at least 5°C before using.

Brined Pork Belly using Meat Syringe Photo: Tim Elwin

Brined Pork Belly using Meat Syringe
Photo: Tim Elwin

Soaking Method

Place your meat of choice into the brine and put something heavy on to of the meat to keep it fully submerged (a heavy plate will do the job). Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-3 days turning at least once halfway through. 

Once brined, throw away the brine and cook your meat as you would. 

Injection Method

Place 2 cups of the brine in a bowl (this is so you don’t contaminate the rest of the brine with raw meat. Using a meat syringe, suck up the liquid and in a methodical method, inject the meat in 1 inch intervals from the side. Whilst pushing the syringe, pull the needle out at the same speed.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before using. 

NOTE: Keep any excess uncontaminated brine in a jar in the fridge for up to 6 months. 

© Tim Elwin 2014