It sounds complicated doesn't it? A brine injector pump. Well it's not.
A brine injector looks pretty similar to a large syringe and to all intents and purposes that's what it is. It's particularly useful for getting brine into large thick pieces of meat like a ham.
If you're going to brine a large piece of meat in a reasonably strong brine you stand the risk that the meat to the outside will be overly salty and the meat closest to the bone won't get any effect from the brine. A brine pump takes care of this.
Depending on how much brine you want to inject there are pumps that have a continuous feed of brine as opposed to a barrel that you fill up. It have to be said though that this type of pump is expensive and probably overkill for home use.
It's also particularly useful for hams where you use nitrates in the brine to give it that pink color. Using a brine injector pump can help you get an overall pink balance and avoid what looks like discoloration close to the bone.
One last point of use. Don't use a brine pump in isolation, you'll still need to fully immerse your meat in a brine bin for the best results.
Just like a doctor with a syringe, insert the needle into the meat and target the area closest to the bone. As you put pressure on the plunger to squirt the brine into the meat, gently allow the “needle” of the brine injector to exit the meat, that way you'll get a steady flow. As the needle exits the meat, give the hole where the needle was a little nip and this will seal the brine in the meat.
Brine is not a disinfectant, it's a great breeding ground for bacteria so always wash it before use and again thoroughly after use. In addition, if you haven't used your brine pump for a couple of months, soak it in water so that the plunger becomes soft and spongy as this will help the injection process.
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