SALT-LESS BRINES FOR MEAT
Brining meat is a great way to tenderize and flavour meat. Traditionally it's done with salt, but did you know it can be done with balsamic vinegar? Perfect for those on a low-sodium diet!
Be careful of what kind of vinegar to use. DO NOT use a strong vinegar like white distilled! The acidity in vinegar is very important to break down the proteins in meat, but brining requires the meat to sit in the liquid for a longer time. Balsamic vinegar has an acidity of 4-6%, which is much better for this purpose.
When brining, the amount of liquid and time required depends largely on the size and weight of the meat. The meat must be submerged in the liquid and kept cool. Smaller pieces of meat like steak might take 3-6 hours, but whole roasts could take 12 or more hours!
Make sure you have a large enough container to completely submerge the meat. Brining bags are available and can help for larger pieces of meat, like turkeys. You may have to double or even triple the recipe to get enough liquid to entirely cover the meat. Keep the meat cool while brining - make some room in that beer fridge!
Remember to pat the meat dry after removing from the brine and before cooking. This will seal all of those juices and flavours into your meat.
Here's a couple of our family's favourites...
1 cup Olivia's Mango or Peach White Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup orange juice
3 cups water
1-2 cinnamon sticks
3-4 whole cloves
1 cup Olivia's Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar
4 cups water
Sprigs of rosemary & thyme
1 cup Olivia's Montreal Maple Dark Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup cranberry juice
3 cups water
Sprigs of thyme
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup Olivia's Chocolate Dark Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup strong coffee
2 cups water
1 orange cut into thin slices
1 onion cut into thin slices