Injection Brines for Meat Products
Condiments, sauces and dressing can provide a lot of flavor to the surface of a meat, but if what you really want is to obtain a juicy and tasty meat, the solution is obtained through Injection.
Many times it has happened that when cooking meats (specially in the oven or grilled), at the end it gets very dry and loses its characteristic meat flavor, this happens because during the cooking process the meat loses its natural water content by evaporation, which produces as a result, a harder, drier meat without its proper favor and the texture that we love.
If we analyze the nutritional composition of a common meat, we will realize that 75% of its weight is water (see Table I) so every effort tending to maintain this water through the cooking process, has become a an important matter for the Food Industry.
Table 1: Chemical composition of a common muscle of an adult mammal (1).
Through meat Injection it is possible to introduce components such as spices, fats and oils or large molecules into the meat muscle without any problems, thus diversifying the gastronomic offer.
Fundamentals of Meat Injection
Marinate and meat Injection are based on two important principles: diffusion and osmosis.
Once the muscle is injected, the principle of diffusion indicates that all solutes (especially molecules such as salt or sugar) will flow naturally from a place of higher concentration (intermuscular brine) to a place of lower concentration (muscle cells).
At the same time, the osmosis process also occurs, since there is a greater gradient of water outside the cells than inside, which is why water also flows naturally within them.
Once these phenomena have occurred, ionized molecules such as salt cause the proteins to denature or lose their natural conformation, increasing the interaction between them, forming a matrix that captures and retains moisture. Once the meat is cooked, this matrix gels and forms a barrier that keeps the water inside the muscle, preventing it from leaving while the meat is exposed to high temperatures. This explains how we can obtain juicy and well seasoned meats at the end of the cooking process (see image I).
Image I: Meat Injection process. Own elaboration.
It is for this reason that many housewives as meat processors are using this technique. The Chilean Food Sanitary Regulation define this process and the correct way to label the percentage of marinating used. In this sense, beyond what the authority dictates, we must have awareness and responsibility at the appropriate injection levels.
This is a process is very easy to perform, but there are many variables that should be known and controlled when executing this procedure in a productive line, some of these variable are:
– Injection yield
– Water loss control after Injection
– Strict temperature control throughout the process to prevent microbial growth
– Depending of the subsequent packaging and storage, the appropriate rest time must be controlled.
TaglerFood has more than 20 years of experience in the design of meat injections brines, which has let us to develop solutions adapted to any type of meat and the different preservation/processes and /or packaging techniques.
Our offer includes brines for:
– All types of meat and meat cuts
– Fresh refrigerated meat
– Frozen meats
– Cooked meats
We are looking forward to advise you in the correct use and preparation of brines and on how to make the process more efficient and with better final results.
(1) MiniReview. Meat: An overview of its composition, biochemical changes and associated microbial agents. International Food Research Journal 18(3): 877-885 (2011).