Here's How To Thaw And Brine Meat At The Same Time

Freezing meat is a good way to stock up and make sure you always have a backup option for dinner when you need it. The downside is you have to wait for it to thaw before you can start cooking, and that extra step can end up delaying dinner a lot longer than you want. But if you planned on brining your meat before cooking, you can save yourself some time (and get food on the table sooner) by combining a couple of steps.

You can actually thaw and brine your meat at the same time, and it might even end up being quicker than waiting for meat to gradually thaw in the fridge. As The Kitchn notes, a quick shortcut for thawing meat is placing it in a bowl of cool water. But if you replace the plain water with your brine, you can knock out two prep tasks at once by letting the meat thaw in the brine. It's an especially good trick to have in your pocket for times when you forgot to pull the meat out of the freezer until your stomach starts growling. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a pound of meat can thaw in an hour or less using the cold water method, which isn't bad if you're also seasoning it with brine at the same time.

Which meats should you put in brine?

If brining is new to you (some people reserve it just for their Thanksgiving turkey), think of it a little like marinating to give your meat more flavor and moisture. According to Food52, brining works like osmosis – as your meat rests in salty liquid, it soaks it up to balance the salt levels. The result is an extra juicy, flavor-filled meal.

According to The Spruce Eats, you can basically brine any kind of meat. This technique is definitely popular for holiday turkeys, but it works well for pretty much any poultry, plus ribs, roasts, tenderloins, and even some seafood. Typically, you should plan on giving your meat one hour to brine for each pound (so a 10-pound turkey will need 10 hours of brining). If you're thawing it at the same time, according to The Kitchn, smaller portions of meat like individual pork chops will work better because they'll thaw and brine quicker. If you want to thaw and brine something larger, like a roast or whole chicken, the site recommends partially thawing them in cold water first, then finishing with brine so the texture isn't affected.

If you decide to thaw and brine your meat at the same time, it's a win-win. You'll end up with a tender, more flavorful dinner, and you don't have to remember to move your pork chops from the freezer to the fridge the night before. Once you've tasted the results, don't be surprised when brining becomes your go-to!