View Full Version : Way OT- Brining Pork

09-16-2014, 11:47 AM
It is common practice to brine cure pork, and other meats I suppose. I've only done pork. Home grown pork is very dense meat, unlike the hams you buy in a store. If you read a ham label, they say something like "up to 25% water added". Anyway, I have used a brine syringe to inject the brine into the depths of the meat, and it works OK if you do it every day and inject a lot. So I was thinking, what if I got an old pressure cooker or pressure canner and drilled and tapped a fitting in the lid. Put. the meat and brine in, then pump it up with a few pounds of air pressure? Wouldn't that force the brine into the meat? Those pots can go up to 15 or so pounds for canning,so a few pounds doing this shouldn't overdue anything.

09-16-2014, 12:29 PM
As long as you keep the pressure valve operational, I don't see any danger to trying it.

You might do better if you pull a vacuum. I believe they put coils, etc. that are being "potted' in a vacuum chamber to get air out of the coils so the potting mix can penetrate. Undoubtedly somebody here knows a lot more about it than I do.

09-16-2014, 12:42 PM
Seems logical to me. Let us know how it works if you do try it.


09-16-2014, 01:28 PM
Not pressure, a vacuum. You cant force liquid from all directions into a wet mass. You can pull air and liquid from the mass with a vacuum though and replace what was pulled with the brine.

I just do a long wet brine with a mix of seasonings, course salt and "pink" salt (brining salt). JR

09-16-2014, 05:38 PM
What made me think of this, is don't they "pressurize" a vat to force the chemicals into pressure treated lumber? Isn't this kind of the same thing/principal?

JR, yes, pink, salt brown sugar, pepper, etc. A wide open field for brine mixes, but I do use the pink salt for protection.

brian Rupnow
09-16-2014, 05:44 PM
You really need to read this---
Grandmas pressure cooker—
When I was a kid, my family never considered itself poor. We always had some kind of clothes to wear, and we never went to bed hungry. My mother had 5 brothers and sisters, and consequently I had about three thousand cousins all close to my age. Every Sunday, we would all gather at Grandma and Grandpas little house for Sunday dinner.
Now as I said, we never considered ourselves poor, but that didn‟t stop us from dragging the odd thing home from the local dump, after a garbage run, that looked like it might still have some life in it.
This was about 1952, and the real „Must Have” cooking item that year was a “pressure cooker”---Why, you could put the toughest, scrawniest, old rooster into a pressure cooker, and after about 4 hours at 250 PSI it would be tender as a young chicken.—Only thing was, nobody in our family could afford to buy one.
My uncle made a “dump run” one Saturday, and there in the dump was an almost new pressure cooker. (These wear a big heavy aluminum pot about 16” in diameter and 16” high with a heavy lid which „dogged down” into place with clamps big enough to use on the watertight bulkheads in a submarine). The only thing missing was some little valve thingy on the lid, that had broken off.
My uncle quickly grabbed the pot and the lid and dragged it home to grandma. Now my uncle was a very handy sort of fellow, so before he gave the pot to Grandma, he whittled a nice hickory plug and pounded it into the hole where that little valve thingy had broken off.
Now Grandma, who was even poorer than the rest of us, (grandpa was too old to do much real work by then, and the government pension wouldn‟t buy much beyond a sack of potatoes and 2 plugs of Redman chewing tobacco)---she was ecstatic, to have an almost new “pressure cooker”.
Come Sunday morning she sent grandpa down to the chicken coupe with an axe to dispatch the toughest, oldest, meanest rooster and get him ready for the pot.
She plucked said rooster, and into the pot he went with some water and some salt and whatever else you use to cook a chicken (Hey, I‟m an engineer darn it, not a cook!!!) and set it on the back of the woodstove to simmer all day.
About 3:00 in the afternoon all the various aunts and uncles and cousins rolled into Grandmas little house, and the aunts were all proudly shown the “New” pressure cooker. They admired it, and even aknowledged what a clever fellow my uncle was to whittle a good plug that didn‟t leak any for that little part that had broken off the top of the lid.
Everybody was crowded into the little parlor, gossiping and yacking as familes at grandmas always do, and smelling the great smell of chicken cooking---by that time a bit of chicken laden steam was escaping around the edges of the lid.)
As the visiting went on, and the smell of cooking chicken and dumplings got even better, somebody looked out into the old summer kitchen and noticed that there seemed to be an awfull lot of steam coming out from around the edges of the lid on that pressure cooker, and that it (The pressure cooker) seemed to have taken on a life of its own, and was starting to jig around a bit on the top of the stove.
This was a bit alarming, so my uncle who had brought home the cooker was elected to go into the summer kitchen and shove the new cooker to the back of the stove, off the heat.
He made it as far as the archway going into the summer kitchen, when she BLEW!!! There was a deafening roar, the clang of a 16” aluminum lid ricoshetting around the kitchen, and a massive cloud of chicken laden steam swept out of the summer kitchen into the parlor.
Women were screaming, kids were bawling, and my uncle came flying out of the kitchen covered in hot water and chicken goo.
Everybody ran outside the little house, and when things calmed down a bit, and all the mothers done head counts of all the children, my poor uncle who was terrified (and only scalded a little bit) was sent back into the house to see what had happened.
Then we heard the laughter start from inside the house. We all looked at each other, thinking perhaps that the explosion had addled my uncles brains. He began shouting „Come in here---You gotta see this!!!”
So---We all filed cautiously back into the house, through the remnants of chicken flavoured steam,---and---There on the ceiling of the summer kitchen was our Sunday dinner!!!
SPLAT!!!----there was that poor old rooster, totally embossed into the ceiling, dumplings and all.
That “little thing” that had been broken off the lid was the SAFETY VALVE!!! When my uncle whittled the hardwood plug, he had unknowingly created a BOMB!!!
Needless to say, that is one Sunday dinner that I will always remember, even though it happened more than 50 years ago.---Brian

09-16-2014, 07:21 PM
That was funny, I can picture it, I grew up in a similar way, my parents had a small holding and raised pigs, chickens etc, it was next to a railway, it was called the Neath and Brecon railway, whenever I hearted the chuf chuf of the coal trains past I used to run to the fence and wave to the drivers, they always whistled, when I came back my old man would ask " did they whistle", oh yes, when I was older and a bit more adventurous I sneaked down the embankment to the line to look at the tracks, right in front of me was a big sign WHISTLE !, all was revealed, anyway, dad used to go down the embankment at night with a sack, and fill it with coal from the side of the track, odd I thought, it turned out the drivers were shovelling it out the side of the train, at Christmas the train would stop the driver and fireman climbed the embankment and we're presented with a side of bacon, turkey, chicken etc, bacon and eggs of a coal shovel was nice too!
The dump wasn't far away, always a source of usefull things!, now folk are returning to the recycle way of living, after all it's a waste to waste waste

09-16-2014, 07:35 PM
For some chili I'm making I just did up a batch of beef chunks in a bath of Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter (beer). In my recently previous home I had a gas burner stove that could be adjusted infinitely and fine tuning the cooker was a snap, but here we have electric burners that seem to have a mind of their own. My pressure cooker alternately would spray steam (turn it down) then spray beer droplets (turn it up). This went on for about an hour. When I depressurized the cooker and opened the lid the beer was gone and the beef was stuck like asphalt to the bottom of the pot. Plan B: warm up some left over spaghetti.

brian Rupnow
09-16-2014, 07:48 PM
Bobslad---And you need to read this---

Blowing Up the Railroad

When I was a kid about 10, my parents and I were visiting one of my dads old WW#2 army buddies (This was about 1956). The fellow had a son Dennis, about my age. Dennis' father had one of those red rubber explosive torpedoes that clamp to the railroad track to signal train engineers. The train was supposed to come by in about an hour, so we all snuck down through the long grass and clamped it to the railroad track to see if we could get the train to stop. (Yeah, I know---crazy !!!) Us two boys and our dads (who were drinking a few beers they had brought with them) layed in the long grass and waited------and in about 30 minutes along came one of those little motorized carts with a section gang (about 4 or 5 men) riding in it. Both our fathers were horrified, because they weren't intending to blow up a pied. (Thats what everybody called them---pieds.) Anyways, the pied hit the torpedo, and it exploded---Hell of a bang---Big cloud of smoke------Lifted the front wheels of the pied about 2 foot off the rails, and when it came back down it wasn't on the rails anymore---one wheel was outside the rails, and one was riding on the ties between the rails. It shook and jumped, and all the men fell off onto the tracks. Mind you --it wasn't going very fast. Nobody sustained any major damage, other than a few bumps, scratches, and near heart attacks. My dad and Dennis' dad swore us boys to secrecy, and we all slunk away quietly and never told a soul.---I hope the statute of limitations on "Dam foolishness railroad terrorism" has ran out by now.----Brian

Brian Rupnow--2007

Rws---My apologies for screwing up your thread. I won't post anything else.

09-16-2014, 08:16 PM
No problems, don't worry. This is my second hobby. Make sure you have the nitrite "pink salt mix" with the ratio of water correct. Jab a lot of holes with a fork, Throw it in a bowl, Put a weight in a zip lock bag on top to keep the meat submerged while in the fridge for a week or more and you will have a wonderful ham. Same technique for corned beef. Smoke the corned beef for 10 hours at low heat and you got Pastrami.
This book will teach you everything you will ever need to know http://www.sausagemaker.com/71200greatsausagerecipesandmeatcuringbyrytekkutas. aspx
Enjoy another hobby!


09-16-2014, 08:52 PM
While I have never brined a ham (done lots of turkeys & chickens though). I've salt/sugar cured ham & bacon in the past. I suspect you could brine a ham by placing it in a fairly strong salt solution and keeping it at about 40F for while, like several weeks. If I was going to try this I'm make the brine taste distinctly salty and then keep it cold.

If salty enough and kept ant a low temperature there won't be any spoilage.

09-17-2014, 01:05 AM
First thought is why ruin a good pressure cooker by drilling a new hole in it. Most already have at least one hole already drilled and taped just waiting for the 1/8 NPT fitting of your choice. Second thought is the previous comments about vacuum instead of pressure are right. And lastly if you really want dense and salty try dry curing. Nothing better than a good dry cured ham.

good luck


09-17-2014, 05:59 AM
Apologies too, I remember rubbing salt into the bacon, would this do the same?, I'm not an expert by any means, I don't eat meat myself as all the Sunday lunches of pork I ate were pigs I had got to know personally

Old Hat
09-17-2014, 11:30 AM
Be sure and let us know if your house is set upon by black hellecopters
after posting about modify~ing said house~hold cooking item.

I don't know where the pendulum realy hangs on net surveylance.:confused:

09-17-2014, 11:58 AM
One thing for sure, since there is pork in the pot, I won't be troubled by Muslums.

09-17-2014, 03:09 PM
If you ever watch Iron Chef, where they only have 1 hour to cook a whole bunch of mostly disgusting food... To Marinate.. Pull flavor
into meat quickly, they bag it and hit on a vacuum thing.

So I'm voting for vacuum not pressure.

On the brining.. I've only ever played with turkeys... I've had slim to no luck in wet brining them. Get a little bit of flavor near the outside
of the meat, and a nasty rubbery skin. So I gave up...

Then I tried "dry brining", Just putting some salt on the skin and letting it sit for a day or two.. That salt sucked right into the meat..
The skin on the turkey came out fantastic and crisp, the meat was tasty... Second turkey, I gave her a second helping of salt a day into
the process... That turkey meat was actually too salty.

09-17-2014, 05:40 PM
chicken coupe

Ah- the elusive two-door chicken.

09-17-2014, 06:24 PM
Be sure and let us know if your house is set upon by black hellecopters
after posting about modify~ing said house~hold cooking item.

I don't know where the pendulum realy hangs on net surveylance.:confused:
I've had enough black choppers hovering about recently, plus they were US ones too, possibly due to Mr President stopping down the road for the NATO conference
Odd planes too, interesting black paintjob

09-17-2014, 08:22 PM
I'll throw my 2 bits into this discussion.
I can't offer up any info on brining, but I have some experience with marinading.
You can do an 8 hour marinade in 30 minutes by pulling a good vacuum on it.

By removing the air, you are also removing about 14 lbs. of pressure from the meat. this allows the meat to expand & also pulls any air out of the meat. This allows the surrounding liquids (marinade/brine) to fill the void.
When you release the vacuum, it traps the liquids inside the meat.

If you want to see the proof in action, put a marshmellow in a clear mason jar & pull a vacuum on it. It'll swell up like a toad.


09-18-2014, 01:38 AM
What made me think of this, is don't they "pressurize" a vat to force the chemicals into pressure treated lumber? Isn't this kind of the same thing/principal?

Well yes, but who would want to eat a drumstick of pressure treated wood??


You are somewhat correct in your statement, but not quite grasping the whole picture. The wood is loaded onto cars that are subsequently rolled into a vacuum/pressure vessel. Then the lot is sealed up and subjected to a vacuum pump. The vacuum is then relieved by the introduction of whatever substance is being used as the preservative which is then readily absorbed into at least the outer pores/cells of the wood.

Hence the term "pressure treated" is a bit misleading, at least as for the process I am familiar with. Maybe someone else would know of a process that does actually use something other than atmospheric pressure to do this?

Good luck, Dave

Mark Rand
09-18-2014, 11:40 AM
Windings for large electric motors and generators are subjected to 'vacuum pressure impregnation'. The air is removed with a good vacuum and then considerable pressure is used to fill the glass or glass and mica tape insulation with varnish. After that, in the same vessel, the varnish is cured with heat. It's important to not have gas/air bubbles within the insulation since the lower permittivity of air compared with the glass and resin causes damaging arcs to form within the insulation (partial discharges).

From another life 35 years ago...

skate creek
09-18-2014, 09:01 PM
mototed is right brisket to corned beef,corned beef with different spice mix is pastromi.

Mister ED
09-19-2014, 06:03 PM
The US meat/pork industry has bastardized hams and other processed meats over the last several decades ... all to meet price point in the supermarket. Hot dogs, bologna and lunchmeat ... made out of chicken, most mechanically deboned. I think you all heard about the pink slime deal from a couple years ago, Hams with the % added ingredients of the finished product at 35% (which means to the original ham they ad roughly 53.5% water, sat, sugar, etc). And to get the "ham" even cheaper ... they will add carrageenan (seaweed), soy proteins, etc which enables them to ad even more water.

That being said, I do not personally like a dry cured ham. Some water is usually desired as a processing aide. 10-15% of the green ham weight is a good number. This can be injected in with a small pump, hose, hand valve and needle. The best needles will have a closed end and several cross holes towards the end inch or so. This needle design will inject the cure to the sides and result in a more uniform cure. Also, you can put a T on the valve and on the T install 4-5 needles and inch or so apart. Not so much for the additional speed, but for more uniform coverage. Let stand, refrigerated, in brine or covered in salt for 2-3 days for the cure, water, salt to evenly distribute and then smoke it.

If I was to go the route of the OP, I would definitely use vacuum. As noted the vacuum will help the brine to penetrate. We used to "tumble" (think small cement mixer) hams under vacuum, to reduce the 2-3 day equalization time to a couple hours. Without the original 'pumping' of the ham, I would place ham into appropriate bag with cure solution and pull vacuum. Let set for maybe a week or more, refrigerated, for cure distribution. Then smoke.